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tv   [untitled]    August 1, 2013 3:30am-4:01am PDT

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caranza said that's it. i had a chance to see your movie yesterday. i want another show of hands because we have some new people here, who has seen bully? oh, okay, the afternoon crowd did much better. good. so lee hirsch is producer, director, he spent an enormous amount of time in the lives of our 5 families. he is going to be our speaker today. our other guest is roslyn wiseman. those of you who are parents have probably read her books. queen bee, queen bee wannabes, she has something else coming out that i'm probably not allowed it talk about yet, something to do with boys coming up. but i want to get started because our time is short. lee, first of all, tell us about bully, please, what was your inspiration for that. >> sure, we kind of met
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before, we definitely wanted to make our session a little more relaxed and so what we'll try and throw it out to questions pretty soon and have a bit of a free style banter amongst ourselves. but bully basically began as a, like most independent film makers, a dream, how can i possibly make this film, be able to capture bullying and give it a home, if you will, in something as durable and impactful as a documentary or a film. it very much grew from my own experiences of having been bullied as a kid and feeling like or taking the memory of how hard it was to communicate what was happening, to find agreement or adults or even to get my parents to advocate on my behalf and feeling that if i
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could tie my own experience to what perhaps happens around the country that there was something very powerful there and that there was also a collective need for this film. so that was really the beginning of it was how do we do this? what would make it meaningful. and in many ways we were really sometimes i think the streepgt of the film has much less to do with me as a film maker but with the intense and deep philosophy that the stories carry and that all the stories really of kids that are being bullied and families that are struggling, they all have that philosophy. so i think by just turning the lens and giving voice it those kids gave the film its heart. >> and its power. he told me he saw me tweeting -- i have to
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tweet for work. he said, i want you to put that down. step away from your phone and be in the moment. live in this movie. and i did and it's haunting to me. i'm glad you told me that. i'm really glad you did what you did. i hope everybody who didn't get to see it, gets to see it. roslyn, your booking are amazing. i know they have been read by hundreds of thousands of people. what was your inspiration. >> my work, i've been working with schools around the country, i've been doing it about 20 years. i started out actually teaching self-defense to girls. what was striking to me was i was not going to the root causes why kids were getting into situations or losing their voice. i created a course called speaking up then decided to write a book because i thought i was working with girls a lot, people didn't
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seem to understand, they wanted to talk about issues of girls but they didn't understand or weren't thinking about the larger consequences of how girls were interacting with each other. i was working with boys in equal numbers to girls, i have always continued to do that, but i wrote queen bees and wanna-be's to show the unwritten rules, what could we do to be more credible and competent in the lives of girls. that is what i do. in fact, when lee came to me about 3 or 4 years ago, we were at a party, a mutual friend's birthday party, i know a lot of people do work pretty similar to ours, people come to you and say i want to do this bullying thing. i probably get an email a day today from 12 to 14-year-old kid saying they are doing a music video about
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bullying, right? >> which is awesome. >> i'm not saying it's not awesome. so lee came up to me at a party and said i'm doing this thing, i'm doing this bullying documentary, i want to get into the schools. i remember him saying, i'm going to get into the school. i remember saying it myself, yeah, right, there is no way. i'll see you when you get it. i'll look at it when you get it. and he actually got it. i got the video to preview, the documentary to preview, and what he was doing was showing the things that i see a little blip of in the schools that i work in, but i know as soon as i walk out the door it's way worse for a lot of kids and a lot of administrators and he was showing how adults are complicity, sometimes realizing it and sometimes not, we are implicit in sometimes our own incompetence of this issue. we
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must, if we are going to be credible to young people coming forward to report these issues, then we'd better know what we're doing and we better be competent and look like to these kids that it is worth the risk, the leap of faith, to come to us. one of the things we have a hard time doing as adults is owning our own questions, our own uncertainties, owning when we don't do it right. as a teacher one of the things i've always thought, because i love, love being a teacher, you are sitting with a classroom of 25 kids and you're not doing it right, you know. and i don't like being the teacher, i'm sure -- i don't like being the teacher in the room with kids looking at me with that look on their face. i hate that look. i don't like that look. i am not going to sit in a room with a group of kids for 48 minutes or an hour and 10 minutes and not be a good teacher. and if i'm not a
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good teacher, what i need to do is ask them why. i don't think that's giving up or sacrificing my authority to do that, i actually think that is a display of my authority, to say i am somebody who is a teacher, an educator, i care enough to want to know am i doing this right for you and if not, why not. i thought what lee was able to do was show some of the things that have been so frustrating to me in the 20 years i've been working on this issue. teachers who say, apologize, when you know the kid is not apologizing sincerely, when a teacher or principal says i know what it feels like because i have children. well, don't tell that to somebody else. that's not a pass, basically, that you know what it's like to be in a parent's shoes who has a kid that's being tortured when they go to school. there are phenomenal teachers
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and administratorors and i thought by showing lee's film we could really show the discomfort that we have. one of the things about this film i think is worth highlighting, i have kids, i have said things to them that as soon as they left my mouth i wished i could take back. you see in lee's film parents sometimes not doing the right thing and being angry and being angry with their kids and saying things that exacerbate the problem. that's why when i thought the film i thought i have to be able to support this whichever way i can. >> roslyn, what do you do when your parents think you are telling them way too much. >> i get the super anxious parent. >> could you give us an example? >> if i understand your question correctly, one of the things i think we as educators
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in whatever way possible, in whatever capacity, that when it's your own children that your initial reaction, when it's happening to you, even if it's your field of expertise, like when it happens to me, i have definitely gotten the phone calls from the principal and it's not been what angels my children are. they have often been bullied. they've been on both sides of it. i think one of the things that's important is two things. one is that when it's your own children your anxiety is going to hijack your higher thinking sometimes for a while and you must have people that are advocates and colleagues of yours to help you think it through. the second thing, to be very specific, i think teachers when a parent comes to them trying to, they are reporting a bullying problem, there's a couple things i believe teachers and administrators should never say. here's top
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three. really? i've never heard of that happening before. now, they honestly could never have seen that happening before or with that child so it comes across obviously in a totally different context. the other is what we have, and you see it in these films, we have a zero tolerance for bullying here which i think is really extraordinary because it makes the administrator look incompetent when they say that. they don't mean to but i don't think you should say that. the other part is, oh, right, i'm sure the child didn't mean it that way. because really what we see, and we saw it in the morning, these things when they come down to it, is about who the child is, their race, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation. it really is against common sense that you would speak for someone else's experiences and assume when you don't know i think what it
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really is in that moment is that we are uncomfortable with racism, we are uncomfortable with homophobia and talking about it. and we don't want to step in and deal with it in the moment because we're uncomfortable. i think we are deeply uncomfortable dealing with racism and homophobia and all those isms and that's what comes out of our mouth. >> the parents who are mad at the kids for not doing something about being victimized, so were some of the administrators, well, i reported this, i interviewed them. what do you say to that? you really focus on that. >> yeah, i think inherent in what -- the movie is all about what happens, like the minutia,
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the nitty-gritty. there's a scene in the movie, we'll show a clip but i would say for those of you that have seen the movie, the most explosive scene in the film is a conversation between two students and the assistant principal in this school where they emerge from recess and there's clearly some conflict that's going on and she says, whoa, whoa, what's going on here? the two start telling their own stories and, you know, she basically says, you go away to the one person that was a witness, then she proceeds to have the two students shake hands. and it becomes a very uncomfortable exchange where the boy who has been the target, the victim of bullying,
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doesn't want to shake the hand of his bully and doesn't want to just let it go. then she basically gets angry and drills into this kid, right? she dismisses the bully and she starts saying if you don't shake his hand you are just like him. and it just carries on but our audiences start screaming at the screen. i mean they are just, like, oh or ugh, it just makes them crazy. and i find that so extraordinary because as a film maker, someone that watches a lot of scenes, there's a lot of, you know, stories will go through big effort to get that kind of response. you will see, like, someone's house blown up and people are like, oh, or someone's sexually assaulted and people are, like, eh. yet this little moment is
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so incredibly stirring to our audience. and it's that thing, that little thing that happens, you know, over and over in little ways that take away the dignity of students that everyone can relate to and it's, in a way i always feel, it's why i feel so bad ultimately for kim lockwood, who is the administrator in the film in this scene because, like, it's not like she's done this like insanely awful thing. she just got it ron and rushed to judge and said shake hands and everything will be okay and didn't take into account the history of those two students and didn't put the pieces together that the boy that didn't want to shake hands was someone that had been victimized and bullied over and over and over again. and then you see that happen. so i would say that in our film these little moments, like what ros said about things that come out of your mouth with
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your kids, you are, like, oh, no. these are the things, this is actually where the rubber meeting the road a little bit and it's the hardest stuff. we screened in sioux city before anyone had seen the movie for all the administrators in the movie. obviously we've been down a long road with this community and i will make a point thanking them for their courage in making this film, which is what you thought nobody would ever do, which is allow a camera to film for a year inside a building and film those interactions and those conversations. but they did it because they wanted to do better. but when we first did the screening, someone that had been an administrator for many many years basically said, listen, if we're going to be honest in unpacking this movie, then we have to recognize and i'll be the first one to say
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it, that i have made those mistakes. i have rushed to judge. i have gotten it wrong in exactly that same way many times in my career. then suddenly the conversation started to flow and not only did people connect to how they missed those moments and that they don't, that they felt they didn't have the training to catch those moments or really do that inner reflection, but then they started sharing their stories of being bullied in their life and why they got into education and suddenly everyone was crying. it's a really amazing moment. so i think those moments are really important. the other thing you asked about with the parent when sunset is referring to alex's dad. >> they are referring to his mom and dad being upset with
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him for not standing up for himself, i just wanted to cringe. >> what's clear is when dad said if you don't make a stop, this could happen to your little sister. then the sister gets in on it and it's, like, just puts the, as sisters will do, but i think as a, as someone who was a boy and had difficult conversations with my dad, i really really remember that sort of punch them, make it go away. a lot of families will give that advice. i'm not even convinced that's the wrong advice, the problem is when they doesn't work, then they shut down and quit coming to you because they are afraid it's a double disappointment. they can't please their peers and find friendship and then they so don't want to lose their fathers as well, this
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boy-father thing is so deep. >> every single person in this room wants to start making a difference. we want to start doing it right now. ros, how do you start giving a child the dignity that was taken away? >> i'm actually going to use an example that might seem a little far-flung for that question. one of the things i wanted to talk about with colleagues is the write up process when they cuss you out in the classroom or the hallway. i was in chicago in may and already the strike talk was coming up and talking to some of the teacher. one of the teachers said i don't know what to do about this bullying thing because the kids are cussing me out in the hallway and all i can do is write them up. i think that's a moment i'd like us to think about in terms
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of empowerment of the teacher. it might be the case that the teacher doesn't feel for a lot of different reasons that she can't depend on his principal to back her up and maybe that principal their best, too. but one of the things i want us it look at in terms of treating children with dignity, which means they are worthy, two things. respect as a word is overused in schools and if i could frankly take down all of the banners of in schools that say you have to respect yourselves, i would. because i think that kids see that and they think that what we do is put up banners that do not sometimes reflect the way we treat each other underneath those banners. they are so conditioned you are just giving mae a slogan. so i think we naed to own the way in which respect is used in our cull taur and to say to young people, this is what it looks like it me when we walk
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down the hall and what it looks like to me as a teacher when i walk down the hall and be respectful, if i hear bad language, what a teacher will say if i had to stop at every f-u in the hallway i wouldn't be able to teach. i would spend my entire day doing that. what i would like to think about is those are the small moments that really speak to the culture of the school and so you can't stop every you are a faggot walking down the hallway, you can't stop every retarded. actually you can and you can do it in a way that really speaks to the dignity of all the children. as a teacher i think sometimes we have forgotten when you are a teacher, kids are going to cuss you out sometimes. you are not going to fall down dead if children say f-u when you
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walk down the hallway. it won't kill you to have an eraser thrown at you behind your back. that doesn't feel good. but you are going to survive. so when you walk down the hallway and you see some kid say something or you discipline them, right, let me back up. you walk down the hallway and you see kids you are not sure if they are playing or fighting or bullying, if thurpb trained as a teacher one of the things you do, just the way lee is talking about with this teacher, you do something that you don't even think about, which is you go up to the target and say, are they bothering you? in that moment you have reinforced the power of the bully because the only thing that child can say is, no, they are just playing. you not only are reinforcing the blame here but you also are being seen by all the other kids in the hallway. so this is an important moment. so instead of doing that, what i believe a teacher should do because you assess themselves,
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sometimes you don't know these kids and they are really big. 11th grade kids are big and you have 30 kids, you have 7 periods a day, you have 5 minutes between classes, if that, you'd like to go to the bathroom at someplace, you have 30 kids coming to your next class, they are bigger than you, you don't know what to do, you know there's a bullying thing in process, you do the same instinctively as fast as you can, which is to say are they bothering you. with all due respect to the wonderful politicians in the room, what do you about putting bullying policy together is easy. what these people do to actually implement it is really hard and if that moment -- (applause) --
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so i really want you to think about like 7 periods a day with teenagers with a 5-minute break. >> so what do you do? >> so you walk down the hallway and you see this happening and you do not address the target. you assess yourself, you are, like, okay, i am the authority figure, okay, deep breath, do i know these children, do i not know these children, who is the person who seems to be doing it, who has the most social power? then you say to all the kids, looking them all in the eye, you tell them where to go, if you say the word, if you hear the word fag or gay or whatever those words are, you say that is unacceptable, unacceptable, not in my school, it is unacceptable. they say, we're just playing. if you use those words to put somebody down, it is unacceptable. then you get the kids on task where to go and you watch them as they go away. you can get a tremendous amount of information -- police people in the room. watching people walk
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away from that kind of moment, you get a tremendous amount of information. the person complaining the most about you probably has the most social power. the kids agreeing with that kid, as the bystander said, become the perpetrators. the kids who don't like it or the target probably aren't going to be saying anything. so you watch the kids walk away and assess them. then if you hear as the kis are walking down the hall, she's such a b, you say, wait 1 second, i just heard you call me a b i'm coming at you with respect, i'm talking to you, i'm not yelling at you, i'm not doing this, i'm not doing that, i'm coming and telling you what i want for you and every kid in this school. are we clear? now go to your class. now, if the kid does that and he does it to you again, sure, write it up. but it has to be with the authority of you talking eye to eye with this kid with respect, with dignity.
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because it's not cool to just give it to the principal because the principal all day would be doing the write up and that frankly does not help the teacher's authority in that hall in that moment. they have to have the power, to have the authority at that moment you just called me a b i know you are 6 foot 4, i know you are mumbling but i still heard it. i respect you enough that i'm talking to you face to face. i'm not going to write this up right now because i expect this problem will be done. are we good? in my experience when you talk to kids like that, they stop because you are coming at them with respect. the last thing i would do is go to the target when nobody is looking, hey, i need some help with something. as you are walking down the hallway, hey, the thing i saw in the hallway yesterday, i don't know if that was playing or what it was, but from my end that doesn't seem right to me. you know you can always come to
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me. i know i'm not your teacher, i know i don't have all the answers but i can find somebody who can. you don't expect a big hallmark moment where the kid tells you everything. but you are planting a seed. we need to have teachers look like i am present, i am seen, i see you, i care about you and i care about you as much as i care about every single kid in this school. defend the rights of every child in the school and i'm going to do that in the 5 minutes of my break. (applause). >> lee, in your movie there was a scene on the bus that i know you want to tell us about. are we going to see it? because it has to do with what she's talking about. >> can i help you guys? >> very upset ?oo ?a i am
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going to be honest, i am upset enough i don't want to talk about --. >> sorry. okay, i just got confused about that clip. so this is the clip we're trying to play, right, whoever is running this. hi, people back there. okay, we were in the scene with the principal that's exactly what we were just talking about. take it back, what's the farthest back on that clip that you've got? >> move. >> what? >> out of your care. >> that's it? oh, okay, well just play it, we'll talk about it afterwards. >> how can i help you guys? >> very upset.
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>> i am so upset i don't want him to ride the bus any more. >> get your ass off the bus. >> move. >> what? >> if they are not in your care, someone else who is just as capable of keeping him safe and i don't feel like that. >> i've ridden it before. i've been on that route. i've been on a couple of them. they are just as good as gold. >> i've actually never seen that edit before. >> but you get the point. >> you get the idea, you know, that -- across the two worlds are really different, how the administrator sees it and what's happening for the
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student. what i will say about that is a lot of people ask about how did you get this footage? and also people say, well, why didn't you stop it, right? i am confronted with this scene and this question and this moment a lot. and so i think what's really extraordinary about the -- at its core is the fact the kids are willing to do this in front of an adult, right? that they did not think that they were doing anything wrong, they did not believe that there would be any consequences to those actions because they have been bullying alex for so long in front of so many adults with no repercussions and so my presence became irrelevant, like, over time having filmed
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throughout a year in the school, you know, a guy with a small camera, kids really forgot about that really quickly. and you saw just normal life behavior go on that they would do on any given day. and so i think what's really intense about that is how normal it can be in a school where the climate is poor where bullying thrives and lives and is tolerated in all sorts of subtle or more obvious ways, just how easy it is for those kids to behave that way. so it's a very telling scene and from my perspective, you know, we broke the rules of documentary film making afterwards and we took that footage to the school an


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