17-year-old Katy Butler Petitions to Make “Bully” PG-13
Katy Butler, 17 is now the new voice in a nationwide anti-bullying movement.
The high school student who was bullied in middle school was shocked to learn that a long-awaited documentary about bullying would receive an R rating, preventing kids under 17 from watching the movie without an adult.
Frustrated that the movement may be inadvertently stunted by the MPAA rating, Katy started an online petition to change the rating to PG-13. She also recounts her own experience when she was accosted and cruelly taunted by a few bullies in 7th grade, “When I went to shut my locker, they pushed me against the wall. Then they slammed my locker shut on my hand, breaking my fourth finger. I held back tears while I watched them run away laughing.” As of March 18th, Katy’s petition has received over 409,000 signatures.
This dauntless 17-year-old didn’t stop with just a petition. Katy conducted press interviews, visited lawmaker’s offices in DC, spoke to the documentary producer, and met with members of the Motion Picture Association of America.
“These are real people, telling their real stories,” Katy explained in an interview. “I think it could create a big change, and it could potentially save lives if kids are allowed to see it.”
School authorities are following suit. “For parents who want to opt out, that’s fine,” D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said. “But we will show the movie in our schools.”
Joseph Wright, a leader of the Child Health Advocate Institute in DC also supports this growing movement. “I think Katy represents how this movement is really going to be galvanized by young people,” he said. “The adult community, in my opinion, has a very steep learning curve.”
The Bully Project is the first feature documentary film that showcases how we’ve all been affected by bullying, whether as victims, perpetrators or passive witnesses. The film follows the shocking experiences of five students, including two boys who commited suicide. The film director Lee Hirsch himself was bullied throughout his childhood and was inspired to create this film after hearing about two 11-year-old boys, Carl Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera who took their lives as a result of chronic bullying.