Anti-bullying summit kicks off at Playhouse Square

An anti-bully summit kicked off this morning at Playhouse Square.

"Not on Our Watch," a program co-hosted by nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, started with five to 10 student representatives from each middle and high school viewing the film "Bully" at the State Theatre.

They also met with filmmaker Lee Hirsch for a conversation about the film.

The 700 students also will participate in a week-long summit at the Barbara Byrd-Bennett Professional Development Center in Bratenahl to create action plans that foster safer and stronger communities on school campuses.

"Bully" offers an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched the lives of five kids and their families.

"Schools have the opportunity and the responsibility to look at and envision what kind of school climate they want to have and work towards that," Hirsch said in a recent interview with Facing History. "When you have good leadership and that leadership says, 'What we value is empathy and the success of all people in this building,' it allows students to come up with a certain sense of what's OK and what's not OK."