Exile Room raises awareness on bullying

If high school hallways are the equivalent of a horror movie set and the restroom is your own personal nightmare, if the thought of going to school is so unbearable it makes you contemplate suicide, then you’ve obviously fallen victim to bullying.

Within the context of “Docs on Wheels”, a travelling documentary showcase that tours overlooked Athenian neighborhoods, islands and regional areas of Greece – currently on its second year – Exile Room visited the island of Kos for a series of screenings of Lee Hirsch’s seminal documentary “Bully” between March 30th and April 3rd. The screening took place at local high schools in collaboration with local NGO “Hippocrates” and the Kos Film Society “Ki.Le.Ko” with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Athens.


The film negotiates the always current issue of bullying, observed from the victims’ point of view, abused by their classmates on a daily basis in schools all over the US. Hirsch also involves parents, in their desperate attempt to confront the problem and find some kind of solution.

The “Bully” screenings, attended by Exile Room founder Valerie Kontakos, were transformed into interactive workshops; after the film, students formed small groups in order to discuss the topic at hand, as it applies to Greek reality. Once the subject was broached on a group-by-group basis, the participants formed a large circle, enabling kids to be part of a bigger discussion about how the different parties involved – parents, teachers, students and the school itself – can potentially handle bullying. The lively discussion and exchange of ideas that followed, proved that school violence doesn’t just concern the US. It’s an issue that local communities suffers from too, despite the fact it hadn’t been widely discussed  – until now…


Hirsch’s “Bully” ends on an optimistic note, with parents and students collaborating in order to raise awareness and minimize casualties in the future – an example all students exposed to “Docs on Wheels” screenings will hopefully follow in the months to come.

Lee Hirsch’s “Bully” screened at the 1st and 2nd  Junior High Schools of Kos, the local Technical High School and the Zipari and Kefalos Junior High Schools.

Marianna Arfara

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