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'Bully' Director Lee Hirsch Kicking Off Glenbard Parent Series

In its first program of the 2012-13 school year the Glenbard Parent Series will welcome Lee Hirsch whose documentary film "Bully" has raised attention nationally, creating dialog and promoting change around the age-old problem of bullying.

Bullying, its devastating effects on students and what can be done to end it will be the topic of discussion as the Glenbard Parent Series: Navigating Healthy Families kicks off its first program of the school year. 

Lee Hirsch, author and director of Bully, a documentary garnering national recognition and publicity, will be in attendance on Aug. 22 as he shares the knowledge he gained while exploring bullying in U.S. schools. During the program Hirsch will share his ideas behind the movie, explain what the process was like filming the documentary, what he hopes to achieve and solutions to the bullying problem. 

“We want parents to be educated, and we try to bring experts who have evidenced-based research to share with parents.” Glenbard Student and Community Project’s Coordinator Gilda Ross said. “We want to bring someone to our families who has some insight. Having filmed this incredible documentary and having had incredible access to schools as Lee Hirsch did, we knew after viewing the film, we knew this was someone who had valuable information to offer.”

The documentary Bully follows the lives of five students who face bullying on a daily basis and the film tackles the issue of how bullying affects students, their families, schools and society at large.

The program is open for anyone in the community to attend, whether they have a student in or not. Parents are also encouraged to bring their children with them to the program, Ross said. There is no cost to attend and she emphasized parents with children in the district or with children in private schools or attending other area schools may attend.

Officials with the award-winning parent series to continue with its programming.

Hirsch is excited to present the program to parents, she said.

“He is thrilled. He too is on a mission and his goal is to stop the most common form of violence among youth,” Ross said. “He will talk about what drove him to film the movie and the things that happened. He will also talk about some solutions to address the systemic change needed, but also change on a one on one basis. 

“This is a very disturbing film and it is a very powerful film. These clips will infuriate you and hopefully drive you to action and have conversations that are difficult but really, really critical. … It’s not funny and it is not a normal part of adolescence.”

Parents are strongly encouraged to bring their children to the program and Ross said she hopes that since it is the first day of classes students will not have much homework to complete.

Through the programs that are offered, Ross said the goal is that parents walk away with something that will change the way they parent for the better. And, that they leaved having learned one skill that will make the difference.

“What I love to hear is that was a really great program, but what was really great was the conversation afterward,” Ross said. “We don’t have park benches anymore where people used to sit and talk about child rearing. We like to think of the Glenbard Parent Series as the new park bench.”

The program will be held at 7 p.m., Aug. 22 at Glenbard East High School, 1014 S. Main St. in Lombard. Parents are invited to a reception at 6:30 p.m. to introduce the new Glenbard District 87 superintendent, David Larson. The program starts at 7 p.m. and will include 40 minutes of clips from the documentary Bully. The viewing will be followed by discussion. The program is expected to conclude at 9 p.m.

For more information, contact Gilda Ross, Glenbard District 87 student and community projects coordinator, at 630-942-7573 or by email at gilda_ross@glenbard.org.

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