FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Both the school board the Sheriff’s Office in Broward County are stepping up efforts to stop bullying.

Those efforts include a movie, with a message, that premiered Monday night in Fort Lauderdale.

In a crowded theatre at Cinema Paradiso, dozens watch a film about the first gay student to successfully sue a school district for not doing enough to protect him from bullies.

The film is called, “Bullied.” The Broward Sheriff’s Office is the only law enforcement agency in the country to help fund the film.

Parent Dana Cahn brought her children to watch.

“I just want them to be aware of what’s going on in some schools. Hopefully not their school, but if it was to happen that they would be proactive against it,” said Cahn.

Her kids are now understanding what a bully is.

“Like they call you names and they like hurt you and all that,” said 6-year-old Jackson.

“And does mean stuff to everyone and to you,” said 8-year-old Josie.

That’s exactly why Broward school board member Katie Leach wants to form the first anti-bullying committee at the school board.

“We’ve got one for our facilities, which is an important topic, we’ve got one for diversity, which is an important topic, but I think anti-bullying is something that is probably one of the issues of our generation,” said Leach.

How bad is bullying in South Florida? Just look at Josie Lou Ratley, who last year was severely beaten at her Deerfield Beach school. Then there’s Michael Brewer. Bullies lit 65 percent of his body on fire in 2009.

“The key to anti-bullying is spreading the word that its unacceptable in Broward, said Richard Wierzbicki, who heads up BSO’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

“Cause as we talk about things, it comes out in the open, and that’s the best way to solve a problem,” said Leach.

The school board’s anti-bullying committee is still in its early stages.

What should you do if you don’t know where else to turn to report bullying? Law enforcement officers urge you to contact them directly.

Comments (5)
  1. Me says:

    I grew up in South Jersey and was bullied from 2nd grade, all the way through my senior year of high school. I didn’t go to college because of it. I was just the quiet kid who wasn’t good at sports or very socialable. I was never physically hurt, but close, many times. In a confrontation, I always shut down giving the advantage. Mentally, I am forever devastated. If I could go back in time things would be a lot different, but have to live with it.

  2. Tamarac Talk says:

    Thank you Al Lamberti and BSO for funding this movie. Katie Leach, you have the right idea and I would love to help with this committee.

    1. B McLaughlin says:

      While I think the movie is a waste of time, I do hope that the School Board will aggressively pursue this problem, and begin identifying and dealing with these problem children EARLY and in an appropriate manner.

  3. B McLaughlin says:

    Funding a MOVIE?! This is a joke, right ? The kids that are DOING the bullying are going to be laughing and ridiculing this waste of time and effort project, and the rest of the kids will receive no benefit at all, because it doesn’t apply to them. The kids that we’re talking about here have behavioral problems. They need to be dealt with accordingly. If counselling doesn’t help, and their parents can’t control them, they need to be isolated from the rest of the students in a rehabilitative school environment, and if that doesn’t work, then they can begin their jail experience, where many will eventually wind up anyway. Bad people are GOING to do do bad things. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. This “money down a rat hole” movie isn’t going to change that.

  4. BTU Sucks says:

    The Broward School Board is an ineffective joke when it comes to bullying. They give lip service but little else to prevention. They have a staff at KC Wright who are afraid to leave the building and when they do, will only go to schools out west. They are scared sh-less of the kids at Dillard and Ely.
    BSO are some of the biggest bullies around. They poor-mouth to the school district to pony up more money for the SRD’s while funding stupid movies that students will not even pay attention to. Hey Al Lamberti, how come the SRD’s never seem to be on campus when we need them?

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