Cevin Soling Says School Bullies are the Fault of the Schools!

(THE WAR ON KIDS director available to discuss the failing institution of schools.)

Filmmaker Cevin Soling says that the institutional environment of schools, where children are completely powerless, is responsible for creating bullies. After the suicide of South Hadley High School student Phoebe Prince, pundits debated the horrible ramifications of classmates bullying other classmates. Some have blamed students and believe there is a growing wave of cruelty in youth culture. Others have blamed parents for not raising their children to be respectful, and others blame the teachers and administrators for not intervening and disciplining the abusive children. No one has questioned whether the oppressive environment of school is responsible.

Cevin Soling argues "When people are forcibly trapped in an environment where they are subjected to authoritarian power, the try to find spaces where they can exert some kind of power. Bullying is a learned act which mimics the way kids are treated by administrators and teachers and is inevitable as long as students are deprived of any control over their lives."

Cevin is concerned that none of the proposed remedies will have any meaningful impact since no one is addressing the cause. "The exact same pattern of behavior can be observed in a prison environment. No one wants to examine this issue seriously because it would mean having to completely overhaul schooling."

THE WAR ON KIDS is a 95-minute documentary that shows how American public schools continue to become more dangerously authoritarian. In addition to failing in their mission to educate effectively, they erode the country's democratic foundation and often resemble prisons. School children are interviewed as are high school teachers and administrators, as well as prison security guards, plus renowned educators and authors including:
Henry Giroux: Author of Stealing Innocence Corporate Culture's War on Children
Mike A. Males: Sociologist, author of Scapegoat Generation
John Gatto: New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year
Judith Browne: Associate Director of the Advancement Project
Dan Losen: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University
Dr. Peter Breggin: author, Toxic Psychiatry, Talking Back to Prozac

The Huffington Post's Jonathan Kim calls it a "must see documentary." Ronnie Shreib of Variety writes, "A startling wake-up call about appalling conditions prevailing in American schools," Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times notes, "A shocking chronicle of institutional dysfunction, 'The War on Kids' likens our public school system to prison and its disciplinary methods to fascism. At least now you know why little Johnny won't get out of bed in the morning." John Whitehead, who established the human rights organization, The Rutherford Institute, cites THE WAR ON KIDS as an insightful film. He writes: "Ironically, America's public schools were once considered the hope of freedom and democracy, the place where young people were to be instructed in the principles of freedom so that they could someday effectively participate in the democratic process. Sadly, that is no longer the case."

THE WAR ON KIDS is directed by Cevin Soling who won the NYIIFVF award for "best educational film" in 2009. His documentary, THE WAR ON THE WAR ON DRUGS won NYIIFVF's best experimental feature film. Cevin has directed and produced a number of films, including: RELAX IT'S JUST SEX starring Jennifer Tilly, Lori Petty and Cynda Williams; A HOLE IN THE HEAD, which was broadcast on Discovery and The Learning Channel; and URINE: GOOD HEALTH. He also created a number of animated works, including THE BILL JOHNSON SHOW, BORIS THE DOG (which broadcast on both MTV and the BBC), CAPTAIN STICKMAN, as well as the short film, DESTRUCTION.