(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

The documentary “Bully” opens in select theaters across the country this weekend, with the aim of shedding light on just how real the bullying situation is in our nation today.

The film’s website starkly notes that more than 13 million American kids will be bullied this year and that 3 million students are absent from school each month because they feel unsafe. The movie follows three students who suffer verbal and physical harassment from their peers, as well as the parents of two other targets who completed suicide as a result of bullying.

“One of the things this film raises is, families are struggling and looking at how do we talk to our kids about this?” Director Lee Hirsch told NPR in an interview. “How do we help our kids on this?”

The Motion Picture Association of America originally tagged the documentary with an NC-17 rating due to some of the unsavory language used by the bullies, but it is entering theaters with no rating. Children under 17 can be admitted to theaters as long as they have a note from from their parents.

The documentary also marks the launch of The Bully Project, an organization that, according to its website, will be a “collaborative effort that brings together partner organizations that share a commitment to ending bullying and ultimately transforming society.”

Check your local listings for “Bully” in your area, and visit its website for more information.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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