A school district in Miami is considering speaking out against a new, secretive computer game called Bully, the Miami Herald reports. It's produced by Rockstar, the makers of the infamous Grand Theft Auto game.
''This game is built entirely around bullies and is staged in a school -- it's the antithesis of everything we're trying to promote,'' said School Board member Frank Bolaños, who introduced a resolution urging Rockstar not to release Bully, asking local merchants not to sell it and asking parents not to buy it.
A board committee unanimously approved his resolution Thursday, and the full board is expected to vote Wednesday. If it's approved, Miami-Dade's would be the first major school system in the country to take sides against Bully, according to Jack Thompson, a Coral Gables attorney.
''The goal is to make it such a negative thing that the retailers won't carry it,'' Thompson said. ``This thing hasn't really reached critical mass as a [public relations] problem yet; that's what I'm trying to do.''
The company had no substantive comment on the action, saying merely, "We all have different opinions about art and entertainment, but everyone agrees that real-life school violence is a serious issue which lacks easy answers."
Local gamers are dismayed at what some might call hysteria on the part of the school board.
'I don't think it's the School Board's business -- it's more the parents' issue,'' said Ali Wallick, 16, a Palmetto Senior High student from Pinecrest who runs the Miami Gamer group on the MySpace social networking website.
McNamara said Bully is being judged unfairly because it comes from Rockstar. ''Rockstar's got a ping-pong game coming out -- are they going to go after that?'' he asked.
So where should the line be drawn betwen schools' protection of kids, parents' responsibility and the rights of companies to release and kids to play the games they want?