In the opening scene, there is a young girl, about 15 years old, walking alone down a high school hallway. She appears to be walking quickly, and her pink backpack is swinging in time with her stride. Her back is towards us and it appears she is going to class or her locker. There are other students crowding the hallways and talking by the lockers. This looks like a typical day in a typical high school.
In this shot we can see that most of the students have dispersed into classrooms. The bell is probably ringing to signal the beginning of class. There are a handful of students left in the hallway. The young girl continues to stride quickly towards a classroom or locker.
Two girls, a blonde and a brunette, approach the young girl in the hallway. From the way the young girl backs up against the wall, you can tell they are not friends. The blonde and brunette proceed to touch and pull on the young girl, and the young girl responds by slapping their hands away. The other girls seem to find this amusing. No one else in the hall seems to be concerned with the confrontation as they continue to casually walk to their next class.
The bullies drop the pink backpack onto the floor, spilling its contents. As the young girl drops to her knees to pick up her books, the brunette bends down to mock the young girl while the blonde girl pulls on the young girl’s hair and laughs. They are obviously harassing the young girl. Still, no one in the hallway seems to pay any attention to the obvious bullying going on right in front of them. Interestingly, the young girl being harassed is dressed plainly and wearing glasses, while the bullies are attractive and fashionably dressed. Not all “popular” girls are “mean girls”, and I have known nerdy people who are truly obnoxious. But for the purposes of this advertisement, the producers went with the stereotypical bullies and victim.
The bullying picks up in intensity. The brunette proceeds to step on the young girl’s backpack while the blonde girl takes the young girl’s glasses and acts as if she is going to break them. The brunette and the blonde continue to touch the young girl and pull at her hair as she tries to pick up her backpack. The young girl is obviously very upset and this seems to fuel the bullies and they continue to harass her. Students continue to ignore this scene, carrying on like nothing was happening. Perhaps they are afraid of the wrath of these “mean girls”, or bullying like this happens so often that it is hardly noticed. Maybe they just don’t know what to do, but it is clear that no one will step in to rescue the young girl.
The bullying escalates even more. The brunette kneels on the ground next to the young girl. The touching turns to aggressive grabbing as the brunette yanks the young girl’s head to turn it in a specific direction. No one is stopping the brunette and blonde, which seems to make them even more bold. They are now grinding their feet on the pink backpack while the young girl looks on helplessly. Again, no one stops to help her. It is not clear why this is happening, but it appears to not be first time, based on the nonchalance of the other students in the hallway.
A new view is established through a locker mirror directly across from the bullying scene. It is the locker of another young girl who is watching the entire situation through the mirror. She looks upset but resigned by the bullying. The look on her face tells me she is disgusted, and she closes her locker. Will she take action against the bullying, or will she walk to her class not really knowing what to do?
This powerful advertisement ends with the words ” Teach Your Kids How To Be More Than A Bystander. Visit StopBullying.gov”. Parents seeing this advertisement will probably be motivated to talk to their child about bullying and whether or not they are being bullied in school. I think people are more comfortable staying out of confrontational situations, however when it is their child that is involved, people are more likely to demand action. Most, if not all, schools now have a no tolerance bullying policy in place, but parents need to become involved to give their children the skills to deal with bullying behaviors.