Look out world, here comes Katy Butler. Again.
Last November, I wrote about an amazing teenager from Ann Arbor named Katy Butler (HERE and HERE.) She and her friend Carson Borbely put a petition on Change.org to try to force legislative change on what became known as the “License to Bully Bill”.
Well, Katy is back at it. Because she has been such an activist on the issue of bullying, starting at the tender age of 16 and continuing now that she’s 17, she is very well-informed about the issue. She recently found out about a new documentary film called “BULLY” that follows several teens who are dealing with bullies and reveals the impact this has on them and their family and friends.
I spoke to Katy this evening, fresh off an interview with CNN. She told me that her experience with Carson and their Change.org petition made her realize how important it is for personal stories of bullying to get out, how it touches people and helps them to understand how important it is to fight bullying.
“I get a lot of emails having to do with bullying,” Katy said. “I found out about this movie “Bully” and I thought it was really exciting that there was a documentary about real kids telling their stories. Carson and I told our personal stories and that made a big difference. Then I found out that they had put an “R” rating on this movie just because of “language”. For me it was like rating the lives of people being bullied rated ‘R’.”
So, like any good activist, Katy went to work. Since her first petition effort was so effective, she decided to do it again. On Sunday, she put up a petition at Change.org asking the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to change the rating to “PG-13” so that people like her 13-year old sister would be able to see it.
That was four days ago. The petition now has over 173,000 signatures and is going viral.
Here’s the petition letter that you can sign:
Give ‘Bully’ a PG-13 instead of an R rating
Your decision, by one vote, to issue an “R” rating for the film “Bully” is wrong. It will prevent millions of teenagers from seeing a film that documents the epidemic of bullying in American schools.
This film has the potential to change the world and change the culture of violence in many schools. But your decision to give this movie an R means that the people who need to see this movie the most — teenagers who are either bullying their peers or suffering from violence and torment at the hands of bullies — won’t get to see this film. Nor will this film be allowed to be shown at middle schools and high schools in this country.
Please reconsider your decision to give Bully an R and give it a PG-13 instead.
I’m proud to say Katy, a Greenhills high school student, is from my town. She’s an inspiration. Fortunately, she wants to get into a political activism as a career. The world will be a better place because of it.
Here’s a trailer for the film. It has its Michigan debut on March 10th at the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham.
[Image credit: Katy Butler, used with permission.]