Ellen: Bully Documentary
Bullying is an epidemic in America, affecting 13 million students in our schools, according to Ellen DeGeneres. She is spotlighting the upcoming documentary Bully, and after sharing a clip from the forthcoming movie, and met the parents of a child who was bullied into suicide.
David and Tina Long shared their story in the upcoming movie Bully. Their son Tyler took his life in 2009 after being harassed and bullied for years.
Ellen: David & Tina Long
This serious subject is a strange tonal shift for Ellen’s show, and it’s clear in their faces how much this tragedy still affects David and Tina, who have become anti-bullying advocates.
Tina explained that their son Tyler had Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism, and couldn’t understand why the bullying wouldn’t stop.
Ellen said found it heartbreaking that David and Tina hoped their love would be enough to get their son through his challenges at school.
Ellen: Bullying In Schools
“I think we downplay what peers think of their kids,” Tina said, “and a parent can only do so much.”
She said you can keep your kids safe at home, but you can’t go to school with them and protect them. “When they walk into that building, something else happens,” Tina said.
Ellen said she believes the family is making a difference by sharing their story. Tina said that a news anchor in their area organized a town hall meeting, and the filmmaker behind Bully asked them to let him include their son’s story.
Read about the Bully MPAA Controversy.
Ellen: David & Tina Long in Bully
“Tyler had just passed. It was very, very hard for us,” Tina said. “But I think what we found is we healed in that process as well.”
David added that the film project gave them hope, and it’s worth sharing their tragedy if it can save just one kid’s life.
It’s been two and a half years since Tyler’s death, and his twin siblings are now the same age he was when he died. They still attend the school where Tyler was bullied, and they say the teachers have been very supportive of them.
Ellen: Bullying & The Long Family
In the wake of Tyler’s suicide, the family had trouble focusing and they were numb. But one thing that Tina and Troy focused on to get through the rough times was watching Ellen’s show.
“It was the only time during the day, for weeks, that we could laugh or smile or escape or let go,” Tina said, and I’m not sure how Ellen kept it together during this.
Ellen said it’s sad that the world is full of hateful bullies, and she thinks we need more compassion. “Every single one of us has value,” she said. “That someone would think someone is less valuable for any reason, I don’t understand it at all.”
Ellen: Tyler Long Suicide
David Long admitted that he had trouble with the grieving process, until one day about six months after his son’s suicide. When he heard a bluegrass gospel song called “On The Other Side.” He recalled the lyric that really struck a chord with him.
“There is a purpose and there is a mission here, that we need to change,” David said.
Ellen said that no one thinks about the drastic, devastating consequences of bullying and suicide. “We’re losing kids, and it’s not OK,” Ellen said, choking up. “We need to learn how to love one another and accept one another, and teach our kids.”
That’s a message worth sharing with the world. You can see the film Bully, opening March 30 2012 in theaters.