In the first shot, the camera whirs around kids walking and standing in a school hallway. The kids look young, their ages presumably ranging from thirteen to fifteen years old. They could be in eighth or ninth grade. The majority of the kids shown are Caucasian, and they are all dressed well and carry backpacks. They are hastily going about their day; keeping their heads down, walking fast or talking to their peers close by. In the distance of the hallway, there is a commotion between three girls. One of the girls has pushed another girl against a locker.
Seconds later, the three Caucasian girls are shown standing by the lockers. Two of them are taller and are seemingly well put together than the third girl, according to their style of clothes. The third girl could be stereotypically classified as a nerd because of her glasses and sloppy appearance.
The two girls are cornering her against the lockers and seem to be taunting her by pulling at her hair and laughing at her. They are talking to her, too. I can guess that they’re either insulting her or making fun of her. These girls are bullies. The victim swats the bully’s hands away from her hair. Her eyebrows are furrowed and she’s hunched her shoulders up, expressing her insecure and frightened demeanor.
One bully knocks the girl’s backpack off her shoulder and her stuff spills onto the floor. She gets down on her hands and knees to try to gather her things, and the other two continue to pull her hair and make fun of her.
As the bullies continue to taunt the girl, the other students in the hallway walk right on by, not bothering to stop or even look at what is happening. It’s kind of hard to miss what is going on, so I think they are just explicitly ignoring the situation. Maybe these girls are the bullies of the school, and this sort of confrontation happens everyday with the nerdy girl? Or maybe the other students support the bullying of the girl? Either way, she does not ask for help from anyone walking by. We are only able to see the faces of the three girls involved, the other students in the shot walk too fast or don’t look in the direction of the girls.
While the victim is still on the ground, one of the bullies grabs her face in and forces it in the direction of the other students in the hallway and says something to her. Is she telling her that no one likes her? Is she highlighting the fact that no one has come to help her? Either way, the students passing by still do not stop to look or help. The bully exudes physical and mental control in this instance.
The angle of the scene switches and another girl’s head comes into the shot. She is looking at the bullies and the victim through the mirror in her locker with a guilty expression. Was she watching the whole time? Why wouldn’t she step in? Maybe these girls once bullied her, and now she is too scared to help. Or maybe she is friendly with the bullies, but she doesn’t support what they do, and doesn’t do anything to help because she doesn’t want to sacrifice their friendship. Or, the girl is a friend of the victim, but she thought it would be “uncool” for her to come to her aid. In addition, the girl may have once been a bully, but stopped because she knew it was wrong, yet she still didn’t want to interfere with the situation, which may explain why she looked so guilty. Her face is solemn, and her eyes express guiltiness, but she does nothing to help the victim.
The scene fades and the words “Teach your kids to be more than a bystander” appear on the screen with a tan background. This suggests that the girl who was watching the bullies did not know how to stop them, so she remained a bystander. It also suggests that the other students who did nothing need to learn how to step in and stop bullying. In addition, it suggests that kids have to learn how to be a bystander; it’s not something that is innate. Since no one stopped what he or she was doing to help someone in need expressed the point that bystander intervention must be taught. This ad’s goal is to create awareness of the lack of knowledge many people have as bystanders, and to encourage the discussion of what to do and how to interfere in situations of bullying.