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By Felix Vasquez Jr. | May 2, 2007

What can we do to stop school bullying? How can we stop it?

Well, that’s impossible to answer, folks. Everyone has answers, yet no one has solutions. In many ways “Teen Truth” is a waste of time for that simple fact. It sets up more dilemmas than it does answers. Bullies are everywhere, even out of school, and they are just a part of life.

How can we ease the pain? That’s the actual question.

We can ease the pain and prevent horrible events by listening to the victims, noticing signs of distress, and ultimately not punishing them when they’re thinking of murder as a possible answer. Zero tolerance? It’s bullshit. Why should the victims be punished? Why give them a larger sense of anger and resentment and nurture their feelings that the world is against them?

We can prevent another Columbine and Virginia Tech if we actually sat down and listened to people and treated the warning signs with an immediate response, even the joking declarations of murder, and not point fingers. If only life were that easy.

As a person that was bullied day in and day out for three years, “Teen Truth” is a special that was all too familiar. So familiar indeed that it gave me a fair share of goose bumps. Pushed down stairs, stabbed, punched, kicked, shoved, mental abuse, physical abuse, the whole lot, “Teen Truth,” in the end doesn’t provide the real answer, nor does it provide the right questions, but it manages to recollect all too familiar scenarios for me.

Can you prevent bullying and school violence? No, to think you can is to live in a fantasy world. Can you prevent another horrible tragedy involving mass murder, and innocent lives taken under the gun? Yes, by listening. It’s invaluable, folks. Listening to thoughts, listening to complaints, and listening for their hints, it’s an effective tool.

“Teen Truth” is a special that really should be required viewing for all classes in school, but it’s not as simple as what’s presented to us. Some victims don’t have a full grasp on the consequences of striking back at tormentors, and some of them don’t even care about the consequences, only about retribution. Many don’t want to admit that they’re tempted to kill, for fear of the alarmists in our world who feel suspension is prevention.

With stats, video of the Columbine shootings, and interviews with actual victims of school violence, “Teen Truth” really does hope to break those too ashamed to admit their feelings, out of their shell and help them to come forward, and possibly show what carnage can be inflicted when we don’t do what we can to prevent using violence as an answer.

“Teen Truth” is not an easy film to review. It has no answers, it has no easy solutions, but it has the potential to help. The rest of it, however, is all up to us in the end.

Someone out there is crying for help, and we have the chance to listen to what they have to say.

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