JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - People went online for weeks to sign petitions to make sure the soon-to-be-released movie "Bully" did not get an R rating, an effort to not minimize its potential impact on younger audiences.
Now it's been deemed unrated, which has parents like Jennifer DeGrove thrilled.
"I think it's phenomenal that they're changing the rating, because it needs to be shown in the environments and to the people who need it the most," DeGrove said.
DeGrove said whenever she thinks about the movie, she thinks of her own daughter and what she had to go through.
Her daughter, Breeana, used to be bullied, but she started a "Bully Busters" club at San Mateo Elementary
School to make sure other students could get help.
The club now has 90 kids.
DeGrove believes movies like this will only help her daughter's cause.
The movie tells the stories of American students who have been bullied, and it was originally rated R for some profanity.
"I just really encourage their parents to take their kids to see the movie," DeGrove said. "It's not a comfortable subject, and no one wants to take their child to a movie where there's cuss words in it, but they need to understand that these children are hearing these words."
After online petitions and appeals, the movie producers have decicded to release it as unrated. But there is some concern that without a rating, some theaters could still choose not to show it.
Dr. Betty Bennett, a professor and director of the Educator Preparation Institution at the University of North Florida, said she believes the degree at which students are being bullied is only getting worse.
"A lot of kids, when they're bullied and they don't report it, is that they feel they're the only one, and also that it's their fault that it's happening," Bennett said.
Bennett is hoping that without an R rating, more students who have been bullied would not only see it but also gain the courage to see it's a problem and that they can do something about it.
"Being bullied attacks a kid's self-esteem, and along with that comes the feeling that they are somehow responsible," Bennett said.
"There are parents and children who have chose different paths, and I think they would rather their children hear a couple of bad words than to never hear their children speak again," DeGrove said.
The movie will be released Friday in New York and Los Angeles and is set to be released in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle and Minneapolis on April 13. Jacksonville is not on that list, but DeGrove said she's signed an online petition to try to bring the movie to the River City.
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