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Monday, April 16, 2012

Special Education Students a Focus in "Bully"

Two students with Asperger syndrome—an autism spectrum disorder that can make it tough to interact in social sitatuations—are featured heavily in "Bully," the new education shock-you-mentary, opening in wide release Friday. The film opens with the grieving parents of Tyler Long, a 17-year-old with Asperger's syndrome who committed suicide. And it closely follows Alex Libby, another student with Asperger's who was repeatedly harassed by his fellow students at a Sioux City, Iowa, middle school. The movie, which also includes a 16-year-old transgender student, among others, was meant to open the public's eye to the problem of bullying in general. Although the filmmakers give a lot of background information on both Tyler and Alex, including showing home-movies of both of them at young ages, the film itself makes no mention of their disabilities. That was a deliberate choice, said Cynthia Lowen, a writer and producer on the film.

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