Bully debate: Teachers are ignorant edition

The debate over Bully: Scholarship Edition continues to rage as concerned teachers, still yet to actually play the game, continue to talk about it based merely off the title, while stating that we in the media and the games industry don’t “get it” — a most ironic statement coming from people who believe Bully is entirely about bullying people.

Mary-Lou Donnelly, head of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union wrote a little editorial in which she claimed that Bully “contributes nothing positive to youth culture,” and “contradicts everything that educators are trying to accomplish.” She also reminded us that bullying is never fun … although maybe she needs to aim that at the dirty little unwashed cretinous children who seem to think otherwise (and don’t need a game to encourage their nasty behavior).

Game developer Clint Hocking, however, approached the argument from a different and very admirable perspective, when he wrote:

“Since I haven’t even played Bully – and probably neither [have the teachers who are protesting it], I wonder if we even can contribute anything? Ought we enter into debate about public access to media that we have not even engaged ourselves? That seems unethical to me…

Instead, I am going to invite [the teachers] to examine it with me, and to enter into a critical discussion of its merits and the difficulties it may or may not pose to students and to teachers… I extend an open invitation to play Bully with me, and once we have all finished we can collectively engage in an informed dialogue about the merits or failings of the game.”

Executive director of the International Game Developers Association, Jason Della Rocca also subscribes to Hocking’s idea, claiming that “The teachers are missing a prime opportunity to make progress… I’d argue that teachers could have leveraged Bully to both better understand the social politics of high school (by embodying a troubled teen) and open a much needed dialog with students about bullying.”

You’d think that teachers, of all people, would take the time to educate themselves before mouthing off. While I don’t intend to own any kids, I’m not sure I’d want a hypothetical child of mine taught by these “educated” men and women.

Jim Sterling