The rating change came in time for the April 13 expansion of director Lee Hirsch's film. The Weinstein Co. chose to release the documentary without a rating when it opened in select theaters last month.
The scene at the core of the controversy -- which shows a boy being mercilessly bullied on a bus -- has been left fully intact and unedited, the filmmakers said. Three uses of the F-word were removed from other parts, however.
The Weinstein Co. called the MPAA reversal "a huge victory for the parents, educators, lawmakers, and most importantly, children, everywhere who have been fighting for months for the appropriate PG-13 rating without cutting some of the most sensitive moments."
The new rating allows schools and organizations to use the film as an educational tool, the producers said.
"I feel completely vindicated with this resolution," Hirsch said in a statement. "While I retain my belief that PG-13 has always been the appropriate rating for this film, as reinforced by Canada's rating of a PG, we have today scored a victory from the MPAA. The support and guidance we have received throughout this process has been incredible, from the more than half a million people who signed Katy Butler's petition, to members of Congress, Gov. Mike Huckabee and the many celebrities and others who raised their voices to express deeply felt support for a film that can inspire millions."