Now Playing: ‘Bully’ opens in Boise

Filmgoers and educators that signed up for tickets were treated to free screenings of Lee Hirsch’s controversial film ‘Bully’ over the weekend.

The film, which follows five teens over the course of a school year, has created controversy for its hard-hitting look at school bullying and its effects on the students, their families and their communities.

‘Bully’ was released nationwide on Friday.  It made its Idaho premiere at the Flicks Theater in Boise with two free screenings sponsored by the Boise Exchange Club and the Idaho Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Following the screening on Saturday, Boise counselor Kelli Sullivan led a discussion about the effects of bullying on teens in Idaho.

Sunday’s showing was targeted at area teachers.

The film’s message is an important one for Idaho.

According to the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho, Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Idahoans age 15-34 and for males age 10-14. Idaho also has the fourth highest suicide rate in the nation.

Studies have shown that those who have been bullied and or harassed at school can be affected by the actions well into their adult years.

According to the 2012 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey, out of 1,702  students in 48 public high schools, 22.8 percent report being bullied or harassed on school property within the last year.

A legislative measure that would have required school districts to develop action plans to deal with the problem failed to advance in the last session after the bill was held up by the chairman of the House Education Committee.

Republican Rep. Bob Nonini refused to give the bill a hearing because he didn’t feel the additional law was necessary.

You can catch the documentary, which was given a PG-13 rating earlier this month, at the Flicks located at 646 Fulton Street in Boise.

Click HERE for show times and other information.

 

 

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Idaho’s Anti-Bullying Measure Dies in House Ed Committee

A bill that would have strengthened Idaho’s anti-bullying law appears to be dead after being held hostage by the House Education Committee.

According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, Republican Rep. Bob Nonini, the chairman of the education committee, refused to give the bill a hearing because he didn’t feel it was necessary.

“There is no need for lawmakers to impose additional anti-bullying policies on schools,” Nonini tells the newspaper.

Rep. Brian Cronin of Boise, a co-sponsor of the bill, tried unsuccessfully to use a parliamentary procedure in order to pull the bill out of committee for consideration by the full House.

“I am dismayed that my Republican colleagues refuse to even let the bill be heard and debated. Today’s action sends the unfortunate message to victims of bullies that they are on their own,” Cronin said in a press release on Tuesday.

According to the release, “the anti-bullying bill, which passed the Senate 25 to 8, would direct Idaho’s 115 school districts to develop clear anti-bullying policies and procedures.”

Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, was a sponsor and strong advocate of the legislation.  As we reported earlier today, Nonini told The Idaho Statesman on Wednesday morning that he was offended by a dvd copy of the film,”Brokeback Mountain,” mailed to him by LeFavour at Christmas. 

Currently, Idaho has the fourth highest suicide rate in the nation. Studies have shown that those who have been bullied and or harassed at school can be affected by the actions well into their adult years.

Among other things, the bill would have clarified, “the definition of bullying in Idaho schools, an infraction; required school districts to have policies and to train staff on the issue, and to report and address cases of bullying.”

Gift of Brokeback Mountain DVD Offends Idaho Lawmaker

When Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour mailed out copies of Ang Lee’s Academy Award winning film, “Brokeback Mountain,” last December, she did so in hopes of helping to educate her fellow lawmakers about the struggles of Idaho’s gay and lesbian community.

One state lawmaker, however, says he was offended.

House Education Committee Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, who is Catholic, tells The Idaho Statesman that he and his wife had just returned from Christmas Eve Mass when they found the DVD in their mailbox.

“Just the timing of receiving it after Christmas Mass was offensive to both my wife and I. We opened it and my wife just immediately resealed it and asked me if I’d just deliver it back to Nicole,” Nanoni tells The Idaho Statesman.

Nonini, who is known for supporting anti-LGBT legislation such as a 2006 bill that would have required a parent’s signature for students to participate in school clubs and activities, rather then allow Gay-Straight Alliance clubs on campus, calls finding the gift, “bad timing.”

“It’s just our religion and our thoughts and our feelings,” he tells the Idaho Statesman.

Nonini might be using his religion as an excuse, however.

In 2006, Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, George Niederauer called the film,”very powerful.”

Associate Editor Michael Swan of The Catholic Register, Canada’s oldest and largest national weekly Catholic newspaper, wrote: “It’s no accident that the first half of Brokeback Mountain is filled with lush Christian imagery which recalls Jesus the good shepherd.”

Swan added: “When they [the film’s main characters] come down off the mountain they return to a world capable of murder, a society that demands lies from those who are different and just about everyone else.”

In a state that continuously refuses to afford its LGBT citizens any sort of rights at all, one can’t help but wonder if Nonini realizes the comparison.

Idaho Senate Passes Anti-Bullying Bill

In a 25-8 vote, Thursday morning, the Senate passed a measure that would bolster Idaho’s current anti-bullying law.

According to Betsy Russell with the Spokesman-Review,”The bill clarifies the definition of bullying in Idaho schools, an infraction; requires school districts to have policies and to train staff on the issue, and to report and address cases of bullying.”

The bill made it out of the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee last week after a somewhat contentious hearing, during which Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls scolded  the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, for what he saw as “quarreling” over the legislation.

Many saw Davis’s attitude last week as punishment for LeFavour’s unwavering support for a separate bill that would add the word’s “sexual orientation and gender identity” to Idaho’s human rights law.

During testimony before the vote on Thursday,”Senator Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, said as a teacher, “I have dealt with bullying at the high school level. … It’s there.” He said what’s missing is a consistent policy to ensure school districts address it,” Russell reports.

Currently, Idaho has the fourth highest suicide rate in the nation. Studies have shown that those who have been bullied and or harassed at school can be affected by the actions well into their adult years.

While the new bill is not specifically aimed at LGBT students, strengthening the law would make it easier to combat non-gender conforming and sexual orientation bullying as well.

Idaho’s LeFavour to take on Mike Simpson in Congressional Race

Idaho’s only openly gay state lawmaker, Nicole LeFavour, has announced she will be running for the seat held by long time Republican Congressman Mike Simpson.

LeFavour made the announcement on Friday via her twitter page,”Because I love Idaho and we can do better.”

“This is a hard time in our nation and sadly I feel Congress is not doing all it could to set our economy right. Idaho families want to feel secure about retirement, about their jobs and the opportunities their children will have. I understand that so well. We have a job to do as a nation and we have no time for partisan struggles,” she wrote in a press release on Friday.

Simpson, a Republican, has served as Idaho’s 2nd district Congressman since 1999. A dentist by trade, he was first elected to the Blackfoot City Council in 1980. In 1984 he was elected to the first of seven terms in the Idaho State House of Representatives.

LeFavour, who served eight years as a state legislator, first as a Representative then as a Senator, cites the economy, education, health care and the environment as just a few of the reasons why she is entering the race.

“She served for four years on the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee while Idaho balanced its budget through some of the worst economic times in the nation’s history. LeFavour was an advocate for Idaho’s schools and reducing prison budgets by increasing funding and access to mental health and substance abuse treatment statewide,” says the press release.

She is also known as a fierce advocate for marginalized communities. When she announced last month that she would not be seeking re-election to the Idaho Senate, LeFavour told KTVB-TV, “I take very seriously the job for speaking for people who don’t have a voice in here, or have few voices in here. It’s a very important one, and it means you do end up on the losing side a lot. But in a democracy some things have to be said, and that job needs all the optimism and passion that a person can bring to it, and I think you can only do it for so long.”

So far, six candidates have filed for the District 2 seat; three Democrats and three Republicans.

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