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'Bully' movie may miss intended audience with R-rating

Wednesday - 2/29/2012, 5:15pm  ET

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Grieving parents stand over the grave of their child.

A young boy speaks into a camera " They punch me, they strangle me, take things from me."

These are families that have been affected by bullying.

A movie that spotlights their experiences and the national problem of bullying may never be seen by the kids it's intended to help most.

The documentary "Bully" has been slapped with an R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America for language -- including the F-word. As a result, kids under 17 would be barred from seeing it, unless they're accompanied by an adult.

Watch a trailer for the movie:

There are online petitions aimed at getting the MPAA to reverse its decision.

Supporters of the movie say it's ironic because kids who are bullied are subjected to to beatings and ugly language on a regular basis. But with the R-rating, those same kids would not be allowed to go to a movie that accurately portrays their own real-life experiences.

Robyn Holstein-Glass, executive director of Project Change, a Maryland-based anti-bullying organization, says the R-rating is regrettable.

"If the R-rating sticks because of the strong language, then I truly hope that parents will take their middle and high school students to see it," she says.

Holstein-Glass has worked closely with local schools to address the problem of bullying, which the documentary describes as a crisis.

"I would hope that this documentary would motivate students to address the issue of bullying and take action to either reduce or stop it," she says.

To read more about the documentary, follow this link for the The Bully Project.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)