The latest version of a high-school based video game went on sale Tuesday as a coalition of groups called for retailers not to sell it.
"Bully: Scholarship Edition" is the latest version of a game released in 2006. This new version is for Xbox 360 and Wii.
In the game, a player is in control of 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, a rebellious kid dumped at Bullworth Academy by his mother and new stepfather after being expelled from seven other schools.
Through Jimmy, the player tries to navigate the treacherous shoals of high school life.
"All the mayhem, pranks, nerds, jocks, crushes, clueless professors and despotic administration that made the original release great -- now with added education!" says the video's website.
Rockstar Games of Vancouver, producers of notorious titles such as "Grand Theft Auto" and "Manhunt," also created "Bully."
"We're concerned. It's the re-release of 'Bully' ... that glorifies, from our perspective, violence and bullying. And that the way to deal with when you're angry and upset is to bully other people," Emily Noble, president of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, told CTV.ca on Tuesday.
"Enough is enough. It's time teachers spoke out and up."
The CTF has joined with counterparts in the U.S., Britain, South Korea and the Caribbean.
The excerpts Rockstar released on the game's website don't look much more violent than a classic "Bugs Bunny" or "Simpsons" episode.
There are knees to the groin, exploding firecrackers, itching powder, stink bombs and people slipping on marbles.
At the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, "Bully" is rated for teens 13 and over: "Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence."
University of British Columbia education professor Don Krug is surprised the game rating allows kids as young as 13 to buy it, but said he doesn't think a ban is the solution.
"If we end up banning it, it's probably not going to go away," he told CTV British Columbia.
"It's probably going to become something kids are going to want even more and we put it into a format where we can't address it (openly)."
Krug believes students are smart enough to differentiate between fantasy and reality.
"Does this video heighten the sense more bullying will take place? I don't necessarily think that's the case," he said. "I think actually what could happen is... it could be used as a mechanism or... a teaching strategy to deal with various forms of media literacy around how bullying happens."
One observer suspects the teachers' call for a boycott may actually play into the marketing of Rockstar.
"I think what is happening specifically with 'Bully' is that parents and the teachers who are upset about this game are reacting more to the marketing strategy of the game itself ... than the actual content of the game," CTV technology columnist Kris Abel told CTV.ca.
In the game, the player goes to school and takes classes -- and has to make choices between being a good student or a mischievous student, he said.
If one were to market "Bully" that way, "I don't think it would sell very well," Abel said.
"But if you're marketing to kids, and you specifically create a campaign that's going to incite a reaction from parents and teachers -- any time you upset authority figures, you're going to get good sales from kids."
Abel thought "Bully" was an inaccurate title. "A more appropriate title might be 'School Life' or 'Surviving High School'," he said.
The game seems to already be attracting plenty of attention among video gamers. One Ottawa video game retailer says he can't keep enough copies of "Bully" in stock.
"We are stuck with three copies on the shelf right now and they are probably going to be sold out by the end of the day," said Game Shack's Luigi Vaccaro. "Tomorrow we will get more and they will sell out tomorrow."
In many teen-rated games, the weapons can involve chainsaws and guns. Bully's worst weapon is a slingshot, he said.
But Noble said "Bully" gives the impression that the bullying of disabled students, overweight girls and teachers is okay. "Our members have said, 'look, enough is enough,'" she said.
Noble said parents must educate themselves as to what's on their children's video games.
"Whether it's satire or not, we need to help kids distinguish those fine lines," she said.
A spokesperson for Take 2 Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar, wasn't available for comment.