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‘Bully’ event comes to Shelburne Falls

SHELBURNE FALLS ­— A film that goes to the heart of bullying will be at Pothole Pictures this weekend with one of its producers for a special program organized by Pothole Pictures, the Mohawk Trail Regional School and Boswell’s Books.

“Bully” is a documentary film that follows the lives of five bullied children and their families for a year.

At the start of the film, two of the students have already died: Tyler Long, of Georgia, hanged himself in 2009, at age 17; and Ty Smalley of Oklahoma City, shot himself at age 11. Both boys had been constantly bullied, and their parents describe the physical intimidation and harassment their boys suffered.

The other children are followed by camera as they go through their school days — including some of the places in which they are most likely to have been bullied ­— in the cafeteria or on the school bus. All parents gave their consent for their children to be in the film.

Cynthia Lowen, an Amherst native, was co-producer of the award-winning documentary, and she will attend Saturday’s showing for an after-film discussion and to sign her books, which will be available in the theater lobby through Boswell’s Books.

Lowen produced “Bully” with Lee Hirsh, a Hampshire College graduate who had been bullied as a child. It started off as a project for the History Channel and it led Lowen to give talks of bullying around the country. She co-edited, “Bully,” a companion book to the film, and has a newer book out called “The Essential Guide to Bullying,” which was co-written by Lowen and social worker Cindy Miller, to give families information on how to recognize the signs of bullying, the different types of bullying, and how to empower your child to stand up to bullies.

According to Mohawk Assistant Principal Joey Kotright-Clark, Pothole Pictures’ Fred DeVecca contacted him last summer, when DeVecca learned that the documentary would be available for showing at Pothole Pictures.

“We had subsequent talks with (DeVecca) on when the movie was coming, because we knew we wanted to have a large kick-off event for (Mohawk’s) anti-bullying program.”

Although Mohawk has had the “Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan” in place since 2010, the district is moving into the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which Kotright-Clark said is an evidence-based program. At Mohawk that involves input from four core groups: the community, parents, students and staff.

“When we knew the movie was coming, (DeVecca) put us into contact with Cynthia Lowen,” said Kotright-Clark.

The film will be showing Friday and Saturday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, live music will be performed at 7 by singer/songwriter Ken Swiatak.

On Saturday, Mohawk students will present the live music at 7 p.m., with Kotright-Clark and Mohawk music director Scott Halligan. After the film showing, there will be a panel discussion with Lowen. Tickets are $4 for students; $6 for adults.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

Thanks for the mention, Diane and Recorder. Boswell's Books is proud to be a part of this important event.

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