Avalon Elementary School sixth graders Alyssa Pearson, left, and Melanie Reese created a video to show the reality of what teenagers go through with cyber-bullying, the most prevalent form of bullying among students.
Anti-bullying signs at Avalon Elementary School.
By Jill Cueni-Cohen
To create awareness of the problem of cyber bullying, two sixth-graders at Avalon Elementary School have produced a four-minute video that has gone viral since it was released in March on TeacherTube.com.
During one of their frequent sleepovers, Melanie Reese and Alyssa Pearson got the idea to take what they learned from their own experiences with cyber bullying and make a video that would show what their peers go through.
The girls each played fictitious classmates. Alyssa played the role of Emily, the victim, who was bullied with texts and pushed to the ground on the school playground. Melanie played two roles: Mackenzie, the texting and pushing bully, and Elizabeth, a student who was sympathetic to Emily.
Emily did not want to report the bullying texts, but Elizabeth said an adult should be notified and showed the cell phone messages to a teacher. The teacher brought the fictional classmates together in her classroom, discussed the bullying with them and got the girls back together as friends.
The video ended with anti-bullying advice from Alyssa and Melanie and a group of Avalon students in the gymnasium saying in unison, “Stop bullying.”
In an interview, Melanie said she was cyber bullied when she was in the fourth grade.
“Being bullied makes you feel alone — like no one’s on your side,” she said.
Guidance counselor Sharon Trimber was among the administrators in the Northgate School District who were impressed with the girls’ project.
“The fact that their video has nearly 43,000 views speaks to the fact that bullying has become more prevalent in this age group, and social media is the reason,” she said. “These kids use it all the time and it often turns ugly.”
Northgate superintendent Joseph Pasquerilla praised the girls for taking the initiative to get their classmates involved in the video.
“For these students to think, ‘How can I make this place better?’ That’s powerful,” he said, adding that he showcased the video at a recent breakfast for real estate professionals. “We’re extremely proud of them.”
Joe Peacock, principal of Avalon Elementary, noted that eliminating bullying in school is impossible, but there are ways to prevent it from getting out of hand.
“It’s important that students know bullying won’t be accepted, and these students found a great way to put that message out,” he said. The district has been proactive with the issue, too, presenting a program in February about cyber bullying and online dangers.
News stories about teen suicide were a driving force behind the girls’ desire to help other kids learn strategies to cope with cyber bullying.
“I can understand why some kids kill themselves, because it’s a really terrible thing when your friends turn against you,” Alyssa said. “You feel hated. And when the bully keeps telling you to hurt or kill yourself, you might eventually start to believe that would be a good idea.”
The girls’ classmates agreed that the problem gets worse when kids keep it to themselves. “Kids who are being bullied won’t usually talk about it, but you have to tell an adult,” said Elizabeth Grubbs, 11. “The longer we hold it in, the worse it gets.”
Cyber bullying during the middle school years is primarily a girl thing, but Gag Watson, 12, said that boys can be the target of bullying, too.
“Sometimes boys want attention, and they say something to the girls that spark it,” he said, adding that it’s important to stand up for kids who are being bullied. “When I see this, I wonder why people do it, but we hear about it all the time.”
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.