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NORTHWOOD, Iowa – We hear a lot about bullying in the news. From confrontations inside schools to cyberbullying.
Unfortunately this issue is coming to the forefront as a result of children as young as 12 taking their own lives.
That’s why the Northwood-Kensett schools are sponsoring the screening of the movie called “Bully.”
Northwood-Kenset senior, Taryn VanRyswk knows that a smile can go a long way.
“Little things can affect someone’s world. Saying “hi” to someone in the hallway who doesn’t have a lot of friends or something so little as a hug.”
She learned that after watching the movie “Bully” not too long ago. It’s a movie that follow five students from all oer the country and documents their personal experiences with bullying.
VanRyswk said, “I cried while watching it because I was so sad. I couldn’t imagine what these kids were going through. I know myself, people have had trouble that I’m close to with bullying.”
And now the entire North Iowa community has the chance to feel those same emotions.
After a screening of the movie at NIACC, the audience will be able to talk with some very special guests.
Intervention Center Teacher, Brian Campbell said “People on the panel include Dave and Tina Long who are featured in this movie, they’re from Georgia and their child, Tyler, was affected with bullying to the extent where he took his own life.”
Campbell says he hopes the screening will create a dialogue between students and parents.
Especially in the age of social media.
Campbell said, “With new technologies that are out, it just makes it so easy for someone to throw something out there on the web or Facebook that is hurtful.”
Taryn says her parents actually do check her text messages and social media accounts from time to time, but she knows it’s done with the best intentions.
She said, “Like at the time, I may get mad maybe that she saw something maybe I didn’t want her to see, but in the long run, it really does help.”
Even with all the exposure, Brain says the anti-bullying message still hasn’t quite stuck for many communities.
“We just need to keep addressing it as parents as educators and concerned students together. I think we can take big steps in improving it.”
And while she knows she’s far from perfect, Taryn just hopes she can play a small role in that movement.
“I do have those mean little moments, but just smiling, that’s what I try to do to brighten someone’s day let them know that yes, I do notice them, they’re not just someone walking down the hallway with their head down, they are someone and will be someone later on in life.”