The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a government entity that studies patterns of violence, reported earlier this year that suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth and victims of bullying are two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to a Yale University study.
With that in mind, the Park City Film Series Board decided to screen Lee Hirsch's 2011 documentary "Bully" during the 2012-13 season.
"We wanted to bring this film as part of our regular calendar, but saw an opportunity to partner with the Park City School District's Anti-Bullying Coalition and the Park City Education Foundation to do a free screening as part of our Reel Community Series," said Irene Cho, the film series board chairwoman. "The timing was just perfect."
"Bully" will be shown on Thursday, Sept.13, at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library and Education Center, at 7 p.m.
The screening is fully underwritten by Kumon Math and Reading Center, an education organization headed by Randy Carr, so that admission will be free.
Randy Carr, owner and director of Park City's Kumon, which opened June 18, said he wanted to sponsor the film because one of the key aspects his organization instills in children is a sense of confidence, which is known to prevent bullying.
"Confident children will be able to stand up to a bullies or report them to teachers or other people in authority," he said. "And if the children have some aggressive tendencies in themselves, they will learn to master them and stop themselves from bullying."
Carr also got involved because he cares about kids.
"I have two children myself and know that bullying is insidious and if there is anything I can do to stop its presence in the community, I want to do that," he said.
After the screening, the Park City Film Series will present a panel discussion, moderated by Leslie Thatcher, that will include one of the children featured in the film, as well as Carr, licensed professional counselor Katherine Hoggan, Summit County Courts investigator Christina Sally, Valley Mental Health prevention coordinator Pamella Bello and Park City Chief of Police Wade Carpenter.
Carpenter is part of an anti-bullying coalition that includes the Park City School District, members of the Health Department and various community members.
He also established an anti-bullying campaign known as Leaders 4 Life three years ago with detective Mike Bleak, after a Park City teen attempted suicide because he was constantly bullied.
Leaders 4 Life emerged from another project called Stand Me that targeted the issues of bullying.
Carpenter created Stand By Me with military combat instructor Peter Iacavazzi, Carpenter said.
"We took Stand By Me to the schools last year, but Mike and I felt we needed to get deeper into the concepts that would allow young people to learn the skills and knowledge they need to stay away from drugs, alcohol and bullying," Carpenter told The Park Record. "It's also focused on celebrating differences and embrace love and friendship."
Leaders 4 Life teamed with the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, Utah Sheriffs Association, and local State Legislators in order to establish a legislative house bill that prevents bullying and hazing in elementary and secondary schools, Carpenter said.
"The bill was actually passed in 2011, and it gives us the ability in the event when bullying is going on and interrupts the school environment, to have the perpetrator removed from the school."
Even if the bullying is done outside the school, such as with cyber bullying, the law gives authorities the go-ahead to take action.
"Irene was aware that I was involved in that and asked if I would participate in the panel discussion," Carpenter said.
Many times bullying happens at home with older siblings bullying a younger brother or sister and those younger kids go to school and start to pick on their classmates.
"Also, some kids become bullies because they don't know how to express themselves otherwise," Carpenter said. "It's a vicious cycle."
Leaders 4 Life tries to break that cycle by creating asset building.
"The assets are external and internal," Carpenter explained. "Some external assets include support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations and constructive use of time."
Internal assets include commitment to learning, positive values and then personal power and self esteem.
"Hopefully those are taught to the children by their parents," Carpenter said. "If not, they we try to instill them ourselves."
Carpenter hasn't seen "Bully," yet, but has heard a lot about it.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "And I'm looking forward to the discussion."
The Park City Film Series will present a free screening of Lee Hirsch's documentary "Bully" on Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave., at 7 p.m. A panel discussion will follow the film. For more information, visit www.parkcityfilmseries.com.