More than 450 Tygarts Valley Middle and High School students packed Elkins Cinema 8 early Thursday morning.
But, they weren't there just to watch a movie, they were there to learn a lesson. Those students saw Bully, the story of several kids who were victimized in school. For many of the students watching the movie, it hit home.
"During my grade school years, I got bullied, so I know how it feels. I felt alone, and I don't want other kids to feel alone either," said Paige Ball, a junior at TVHS.
"It actually showed that it happens to other people, too, not just to them," said Kennedy Stanley, also a junior at TVHS.
The schools were able to take a field trip to see the movie through a grant from the "Bully Project" and www.donorschoose.org
That funding made it possible to provide transportation to the theater, snacks, and the movie itself.
It also gave the students the chance to see bullying through the victims' eyes.
"We know in today's society, bullying is a big issue in our school system, and we want to make our school a kind and caring place," said TVHS assistant principal, Teena Wallace.
When the movie came out, it caused a lot of controversy, but teachers said the lesson it taught far outweighed any issues it originally may have had.
"I didn't feel there was that much controversy. I still feel, that the kids I've seen so far are very quiet and they're listening," said TVHS guidance counselor, Sharon Gallogly.
Not only do the teachers hope this movie is a positive influence on their schools, so do the students.
"I see a lot of people that don't think they're a bully, but yes, you are. They need to take it in and say, 'hey, this is what I'm doing,' and they need to stop," said Stanley.
"I hope that kids actually realize now that bullying is a big issue, that it overtakes some kids," said Ball.
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