Students are encouraged to attend a special showing of the documentary "Bully" at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 12 at the Grand, 1101 "O" Street. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion led by Dr. Susan Swearer, a UNL psychology professor who is co-director of the Bullying Research Network.
The discussion will be taped and aired on the government cable access channels 5 (5 CITY-TV) and 10 (10 Health) as well as 21 Educational Access. The channels are part of the Citizen Information Center (CIC), a division of the Mayor's Office.
A limited number of free tickets will be available at the Grand, and doors will open at 8:15 a.m. The Lincoln Community Foundation and Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital have helped to fund the free tickets, and additional sponsors are needed. Interested individuals, organizations and businesses can contact Diane Gonzolas, CIC, at 402-441-7831, or Bill Luxford, 5 CITY-TV, at 402-441-6688. The regular ticket price is $6.
According to the American Justice Department, one out of every four children is a victim of bullying, and at least two children are bullied every seven minutes. The 98-minute movie tells the stories of five families dealing with bullying, including two who lost children due to suicide. It is rated PG-13 for its intense themes, disturbing content and strong language.
5 CITY-TV and 10 Health have been airing programming related to bullying over the last month, including presentations from a March bullying workshop. Presenters included Swearer and Kirk Smalley of Oklahoma, whose son Ty committed suicide about a year ago when he was suspended from school for standing up to a boy who had bullied him. Oklahoma students who heard his story created the "Stand for the Silent" movement. Smalley has recorded a message, which will be shown at 8:55 a.m. May 12, and materials from the Stand for the Silent initiative will be distributed at the event.
On April 20, students across Lincoln participated in Stand for the Silent Day with seven seconds of silence, a balloon release and the recitation of an anti-bullying pledge. The access channels are airing video from several of those gatherings, including one featuring Mayor Chris Beutler at the Lighthouse after-school program.
Program schedules for the access channels are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: tv). Programming also can be viewed through video-on-demand and the YouTube sites for 10 Health and 5 CITY-TV, available at the same website.