Raising Up Against Bullying

Actress Jenni Pulos is the voice of Charlotte  in "Koala Kid."
Actress Jenni Pulos is the voice of Charlotte in “Koala Kid.”

LOS ANGELES-It’s good to be a bear. More specifically, it’s good to be a Koala Bear. A Koala Bear is cool. That’s what the good folks over at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are hoping for.

They hope children will catch that mantra and run with it once they see their newly released animated DVD “Koala Kid,” now on sale at your local Wal-Mart. Once young people watch the DVD they’ll understand why it’s okay to identify with the “Koala Kid.”

This isn’t just any animated movie. This film has a message that all young people can identify with. Fight back the big bad bully is the message. Bullying is definitely not cool. Most youth can relate to that. In conjunction with the Los Angeles Zoo, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, Anti-Defamation League, Operation Respect-Defeat the Label, an anti-bullying organization-will be part of a movement on May 3 to celebrate Stand4Change Day, bringing more awareness to bullying.

Every seven minutes a child is bullied. And the purpose of the 86 minutes, PG-rated Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD and the nationwide participation of nonprofit organizations and educators is to bring attention to that very issue.

“The response to participate in Stand4Change Day this year has been amazing,” said Jeff Sakwa, president of Defeat the Label. “Kids are at the core of what we care about. Now is the time to raise national visibility of this issue and direct more resources where they are needed most. I hope every school considers bringing Stand4Change Day to their student-body.”

Many instances of bullying can lead to depression, self-deprivation, and low self-esteem. Bullying can cause children to withdraw, become fearful and lack confidence around their peers at school. Bullying comes in different forms. It can come in the form of intimidation.

It can take place in the form of taunting because of one’s skin color. Bullying can happen because one child is perceived to be different than everyone else.

Bullying can happen from ugly name-calling and physical assault. All of it is painful to endure, whether it happens to a third-grade student or a young man or woman trying to find their identity in high school.

The worst type of bullying can sometimes lead to deadly results, whether in the form of retaliation or the taking of one’s life, a nightmarish pain no parent should have to deal with as we have seen play out recently on a national scale.

“Koala Kid” gives a great illustration of how being different and trying to fit in can be difficult for young people of all ages. The opening number of the film tells the audience all that it needs to know about bullying as Johnny, a rare white Koala Bear, tries to make friend with other bears but his quickly shunned because of his looks.

Rejected, Johnny runs off to try to be accepted elsewhere. In the grand scheme of things, Johnny is embraced by other creatures, but has a hard time liking himself before he comes to the realization that he is okay with just the way he is. This may be an animated film, but “Koala Kid” turns up volume in its message on bullying.

Hopefully, parents and kids will see it and take note.


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