Monday, June 11, 2012

Jessica Suspended For Anti-Bullying Video

Another incredible story. What should have been a good story, even an inspiring story. A young girl, Jessica Barba, gets an assignment in school to create a persuasive advertisement. She decides she wants to use her project to make a difference in this world. She chooses a problem that she wants to bring awareness to, bullying. She creates a wonderful video about a fictional, 12 year old, named Hailey, who is being bullied at school and on a fake facebook and ends up committing suicide. The video is clearly labeled in the beginning and end as fictional. Jessica puts a lot of work into her project, which she hopes will spread her message to all teens: stand up against bullying. She puts her video on youtube (see below) and, when she returns to school, she is called down to the office. Jessica thinks it is to be commended for her project. But no, it's not. A parent, who watched the video, "thought" it was a true story. She notified the police and the school about Hailey, who doesn't exist. The school must have viewed the video and they decided that Jessica needed to be punished for making it. Yes punished. She was suspended for five days for creating a disturbance in the school. Five days! More than most bullies probably get for their offenses. The story of Jessica's suspension hit the news media. More people watched Jessica's video. The teens at her school made T-Shirts saying, RIP Hailey...Free Jessica, because they felt the school was bullying Jessica. The students were told not to wear the T-Shirts. Jessica was interviewed by several news media and says she thought she was being told to go to the office to be commended for her work and was shocked to learn she was being punished. However, she feels that all this attention has furthered her goal and spread her message even further. She is very proud of her work. Jessica's suspension has been lifted, but not after she missed several days of school just before final exams. Her father insists the school provides tutoring for her for the time she has missed.

I find this disgraceful. A teenager who is trying to do a good thing is punished? What kind of message does that send out? This is really crazy. Considering how out of line the school was, shouldn't that be punished or sanctioned in some way. Shouldn't they offer Jessica a public apology and praise her for her efforts? Clearly her intentions were the best. Yet the principal told her that she could get six months jail time for what she did and a possible suspension for the rest of the year. Imagine that? He scared her to death for trying to help others, following her heart and doing what she was passionate about. If you are interested, I have posted the video below. See what you think and how the school could have even thought about punishing Jessica.

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