March 1st, 2013
12:52 PM ET

Filmmaker's personal battle with bullying

Programming note: "The Bully Effect" is a new AC360 documentary that follows the lives of three families since they were featured in "Bully." It airs Sunday, March 3 and Saturday, March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.

For AC360's "The Bully Effect," Lee Hirsch, the director of the film "Bully," returns, for the first time in 27 years, to the middle school where he was victimized as a child.

Hirsch's movie is an eye-opening look at the psychological damage caused by bullying. He's used "Bully" to launch a movement to make schools safer and teach kids and parents how to combat the problem. Every student in his former middle school went to see the film as part of his initiative for 1 million children to watch it.

As he walked the hallways and spoke with students and administrators, Hirsch saw that the place that reminded him of pain and sadness, is now a very positive environment. His film helped create that change. "The work that I've really thrown myself, I think, into, has really been a response to the things that I went through when I was a kid. And it feels healing," he said.

Filed under: Bullying • The Bully Effect
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. BAMcClure

    Hello! I think you should consider bullying in the work place as well as bullying of children.I work for a Hospice agency, we recently got a new Director who manages by bullying, calling employees names, making false accusations, not allowing staff to express their views, ignoring people as individuals. All of this bullying has made our staff edgy, intimidated, afraid of retaliation and impacted some of our staff's health. It truly is abuse, both mental, emotional and physical. It would be interesting for you to pursue the existance of abuse in the workplace also. thanks

    March 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  2. Walter Scharf jr

    I am not a bully nor was I bullied as a child, I was the cameleon who blended in so as to avoid being bullied. both shy and an introvert resulted in conforming to the cool crowd, the partiers, whomever, to avoid confrontation or being bullied. I will turn 50 years old this year (2013) and as a result of conforming to peer pressure, to fit in, have become a 35 year smoker that will eventually kill me, a recovering alcoholic (12 yrs sober) and diagnosed with an anxiety neurosis. watching anderson coopers special on bullying, was emotionally moving, I literally wept watching the show. Ive come to the realization that Ive never been myself. Ive become what fits in rather than whats the right thing to be. I own my addictions, I blame no one for them, however the example of strength, courage and individualism (being yourself and taking a stand) displayed by alex libby, his mom jackie, the alexander family, and the other individuals in hirsch's film, have been life altering. the positive message of I matter, and I will stand up for the silent ,adults or children as well as myself . I will no longer be a witness to the unfair treatment of my fellow man, woman or child.
    Alex Libby is my hero. I admire his courage, strength and determination to end bullying. I am a (soon to be 50 year old man) who has experienced a life altering change through watching and hearing the message by all the individuals on the ac360 documentary. Its never to late to take a stand towards the unfair treatment of others. be yourself, treat others as you would want yourself or your family to be treated. and never be a bystander. I choose to be an upstander! thank you.

    March 2, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  3. Tammy Jones-Rickard

    I would truly like Anderson Cooper to look at how special needs children are bullied when they have various forms of Autism, ADHD, and so many other documented problems, but when parents and even the child asks for help and after a year of non-stop torture from students, when teacher's know about it. My son tried to protect himself, and has been put into a psychiatric hospital. Too often children with disabilities are treated as second class citizens, and schools and other officials are not culpable although they know there is a problem, and in this case they knew it for almost a year, but the teacher felt since he was a boy, although the smallest out of his class and had learning problems, they could ignore it until he finally broke. I would love for you to investigate this phenomenon that is going across the country, because until someone with your clout takes a stand, there will be no justice. Thank you for your time and I hope to get a response.

    March 2, 2013 at 12:14 am |