Nightly News   |  March 29, 2012

Eighth graders react to ‘Bully’ documentary

The film, which opens nationwide on Friday, originally earned an R rating. When producers lost their appeal to rate the film PG-13, they decided to release it without any rating. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> there's a new film debuting that you may have heard a lot about, but it won't prepare you for the experience of seeing it. it's called "bully" and it depicts children being bullied. some of the problem has to deal with the graphic and offensive language that is part of the story.

>> everyone was laughing. and they knew it was hurting me, and they kept going.

>> what make s bully so riveting, so disturbing is the access the filmmaker has. unsanitized moments in the lives of real kids .

>> he called me a faggot.

>> how does it make you feel?

>> it breaks my heart.

>> alex libby was 12 when cameras spent a year at his school in iowa, getting to know kids who faced physical and verbal abuse.

>> they punched me in the jaw, strangle me, and knock things out of my head.

>> the film opens with a father who lost his son to suicide.

>> some kids had told him to go hang himself, that he's worthless. i think he got to the point where enough was enough.

>> two people to a seat. [ bleep ].

>> harsh language, including six f-words earned the film an r-rating. prul producers took the unusual step of releasing the film with no rating. we watched the trailer with these 13-year-olds at a middle school in bedford, new york.

>> do you want to see the film?

>> yes.

>> there are some people who think this movie is way too tough for kids.

>> is school too tough for kids? we see all that and more every day. that's just how kids act.

>> the film shined a spotlight on the impact of bullying, but school psychologists say kids will need help finding solutions.

>> teachers, administrators, school board , parents, those are the ones i would love to see see the film first and then begin the conversations and begin the hard work that schools and communities have to do around bullying.

>> he said some younger kids may be disturbed by the plotlines, like seeing 11-year-old tray wallace become a paul pairer.

>> alex told us he agreed to be filmed because he thought maybe it would make the bullies stop. instead, his family moved him out of state. look at him now.

>> now, i'm having the greatest time of my life , living it up.

>> alex and his parents were at the l.a. premier this week.

>> the whole process has kind of brought him out of the darkness and broke him out of his shell and gave us our son back.

>> i'm glad i'm actually making a difference. amazing.

>> bully, the movie, opens this weekend in new york and l.a. with plans to be in more cities by the end of april, but because the film is being released without a rating, it's up to individual theaters to desite, lester, whether or not to let kids in the door to see it.

>> incredibly sad. it sounds worth seeing. kate, thank you.

>> we have several resources on our website tonight, including hotlines for teebs who may be targets of bullies. and kate snow continues her reporting on dateline on sunday with a new examination of a bullying case you may remember. dateline at sunday at 7:00, 6:00 central.