Skip to main content

tv   Bullying  CNN  October 15, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

5:00 pm
welcome, everyone, to this anderson cooper special. "bullying: it stops here," here at new jersey's rutgers university. we've come here all of us drawn together by the power of absence. the absence of kids. of young adults. of future parents and friends, healers and leaders, none of whom will ever be. all of whom have left us because as young adults or as children they were bullied beyond their capacity to endure. they are the reason we are here. we owe them and we owe them more than talk. in the years since a wave of
5:01 pm
bullying suicides struck the country and got worldwide attention, there's been too much talk and not enough action. a year ago, rutgers freshman tyler clemente, that young men right there, his life was thrown on to the internet. it was more than he could bear. he went to the george washington bridge and took his own life. almost a year to the day from tyler's suicide, jamey rodemeyer lost his battle against bullies. he took part in the it will get better campaign online. he hoped it would get better. them some night he lost that hope. the bullying outlived him. his sisters and friends were taunted the night of his wake at school. we've come to know jamey and tyler this past year just as we came to know so many children. these are the faces of other students. other students who've taken their own lives after being bullied. the bullying happens every day in school and online. sometimes we don't know about it.
5:02 pm
sometimes we just hear stories about it. and sometimes it is even caught on tape. watch. >> get your ass off my book bag. >> okay. >> move! move! >> wow. >> what? i'm going to beat her -- why are you talking to me? >> no. no. no. ow. why are you stabbing me like that. i'm going to knock your face off. stop! >> give it to him hard! >> you heard the other kid say "give it to him hard." that's a boy named alex. some of the abuse he endured every single day. it's from a remarkable documentary called "the bully project."
5:03 pm
we're going to show you more of it tonight on our program. our question tonight, the reason we are gathered here is to make sure that alex's story and all the other kids' stories of bullying don't become a never-ending story handed down through generations of bullies and victims and hurt and loss. tonight we want to say and say out loud, the bullying stops here. we want solutions. and tonight we hope to begin to find them. dr. phil mcgraw is with us. so is bullying expert rosalind wiseman. you're going to meet so many brave students tonight as well. parents, members of the community. my friend kelly ripa is here. and jane lynch raising a young daughter with her wife is also going to be joining us tonight. it's been a year since tyler clemente's death. the issue came to a lot of the country's attention. i want to bring in phil mcgraw and rosalind wiseman. phil, what kind of a grade would you give in terms of progress that's been made this year on the issue? >> well, i would give a real
5:04 pm
high grade as far as intention to both legislators and administrators and teachers. teachers are heroes. come on, these are people that work for very little money. they're very dedicated. but i would give us a very low grade for execution. i'm going to give us a low grade for what we've accomplished. i'll tell you, anderson, it's because we're going at this from the wrong point of view. we're dealing with this with -- with bullies as criminals. and they're -- and then their victims. we can't see them in that way. there's got to be intervention with both. it's not just continues kwat consequating it, they both need help. they both need social skills training. they both need things they can only get if we put it into the curriculum. it can't get into curriculum if we don't put money behind it and we don't make it just as much a part of the students' day as we do history and math and science. >> rosalind, what kind of grade would you give to educators, to schools? >> i would give to legislators and educators about a c minus for many of the reasons dr. phil spoke of. it's so punitive. it doesn't understand the complexities of the issue. we've got good people intending
5:05 pm
to do well who are reacting to anxiety and are not thinking through how this impacts the school. but what i do give an -- who i do give an "a" to are to the kids and the young people making videos and songs and music videos and all these different kinds of things that they're trying to express that's really authentic to their life experience, and they're sharing it with other people. >> i don't give the kids an "a." >> why not? are you disagreeing with me? >> i give the kids that do what you're saying, that get on youtube, those reaching out for their own experience. what i don't give an "a" to are the kids on that bus that sat there and watched that happen and they're just as guilty as the kid that was doing it. >> one of the amazing things, we conducted a study. we'll show you the results of the study throughout the hour. in more than 75% of the cases, i think it was, kids don't intervene. nobody intervenes. we're going to look today at the importance of intervention and how that can make a difference. when i first started trying to understand the bullying issue i saw it very simply. there were bullies and there
5:06 pm
were victims after really researching this and talking with dr. phil and rosalind and other experts, it's far from complex. we teamed up with a doctor doing we decided to team one a sociologist who's doing ground-breaking research on bullying. we want to truly look at how this problem plays out in one school. what's really interesting, in doing this study, the sociologist believes we've uncovered larger truths about schools and about bullying nationwide. take a look. >> they call me like gay, faggot, dumb ass. >> i would get comments like you're fat, you're a slut, a whore, disgusting. >> reporter: like in schools in america, the weekly school has a problem. >> they physically abuse me, mentally abuse me, emotionally abuse me. i'll admit, i had thoughts of suicide in ninth grade. >> more than 700 students at wheatley were asked specific questions about aggression at
5:07 pm
their school. did a student in your school pick on you or do something mean to you? did you pick on or do something mean to another student at your school? the results were eye opening. a key finding, bullies, what researchers called aggressors, are often also victims. do you think somebody is an aggressor and somebody is a victim or do you think it crosses over? >> everyone is a bully and everyone's a victim. >> everyone's a bully? >> you've bullied. i've bullied. whether you know it or not, you've bullied someone. >> reporter: the study also shows why kids bully. sociologist robert faris calls it social combat, using aggressive bullying behavior to climb the social ladder. >> it's pretty much a race to the top. by getting to the top, that's by getting to the top, you're one of the important people of your school. that's the reason why bullying occurs. >> reporter: the study found the higher they get, the more aggressive and victimized they
5:08 pm
become. 56% of wheatley students surveyed said they were involved in either aggression, victimization or both. over 80% of incidents were never reported to adults. joining us now are two teens from wheatley. bridget, a junior, was rated by the research in being in the top 5% of victims and in the top 20% of the aggressors. you were kind of surprised to hear that. josh, a senior, top 5% of victims and also top 5% of aggressors. we're also joined by the study's author, robert faris. kelly ripa is also in the audience with us, mom of three. bridget, you say everybody is a bully at one time or another and everybody is a victim. what to you mean? >> either you -- there's the obvious bully that picks on someone else and is like what that video showed. there can be a physical bully. there can be a emotional bully that attacks whether it's behind a computer or if it's just you two. it doesn't always have to be i'm
5:09 pm
going to punch you in the face. but threatening is bullying. or you can bully yourself. it's not going to go away. it stays with you. >> it's interesting, bob. to me the study that you did was eye opening. we picked wheatley because it's an excellent school that takes the problem seriously. the idea of social combat i just find fascinating. just explain that a little more. >> one of the things i think we found at both wheatley and the other schools i've studied, there's really kind of two types of -- of patterns going on. one is where, you know, maybe a
5:10 pm
vulnerable kid who's a little bit different in some way, kind of violated some of the unwritten codes of social life in a school is getting piled on and picked on relentlessly. sort of a chronic fashion. then there's this whole other sort of hidden actually more common form of aggression where kids are using it a little more tactically to climb these social hierarchies. that's much more prevalent in all the schools we've seen. it seems to peak in the middle to upper ranges of the status hierarchy. >> josh, this rings true to you. you had two friends who turned on you to try to advance themselves. what happened? >> as their life went on, they felt like, oh, we can make better -- we can make new friends, be cooler, go to parties every friday, saturday night. but this kid, oh, he's a nerd. we've got to hold him back. i don't know. one day you're, like, close buddies hanging out. the second day they're treating you like trash. >> do you think you're both a victim and an aggressor? you scored about the same on both. >> i can definitely see the victim part. i went through a lot with that. the aggressor part i don't see. i'm pretty quiet in school. >> a lot of kids didn't actually see themselves as aggressors. >> they may not realize they've done something, you know, that was interpreted as mean to a peer.
5:11 pm
so they're not -- kids may not always be aware of it. that's certainly the case. >> kelly, you've got three kids. does the idea of social combat -- to me it was an eye opening phrase. >> i think it makes a lot of sense. nobody wants to be the kid that is suddenly turned on, i think. you know, if you're -- if you are sort of swept up in the group and you see a good friend who is at the top of the social food chain, say, and suddenly the tables have turned and suddenly this sort of popular kid has become the victim in an attempt to take over the social hierarchy, i don't think there's going to be a lot of interference. nobody wants to be the person that is suddenly turned on. >> does the idea of social combat ring true? >> it's what i've been writing about and teaching about for 20 years. teachers, administrators, parents will look at this and say that's the way it is. that's the way human beings are. the thing we have to consistently say to people is degrading people is never right. and it always comes down to what you're being degraded by race, you're being degraded by socioeconomic status, class, not having as much money as someone else, where you come from.
5:12 pm
sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. it always comes down to that. >> the other thing, it is so different than it used to be for -- adults say this has always been around. yeah, that's true. online bullying, you know, bullying is now -- you talk about this a lot on your program. it's not just in schools anymore. it's 24 hours a day. >> the problem with this, you were talking so much about the impact of bullying after the fact. what happens is the victim takes over for the bully when the bully leaves. the bully leaves, but the victim repeats it in their head over and over and over, this internal dialogue where they repeat and even enhance and embellish what the bully said. therefore embrace it from the inside out. >> you had a forum spring account. time and time again, i hear kids talking about forum spring. it's not as popular as it once was. people can anonymously say things to you. people would say horrible things to you. you kept it just because -- why did you keep the account? >> because they weren't all negative.
5:13 pm
i did get a few nice ones. >> that was enough to make you want to keep it? >> well, no. i also liked to respond to the bad ones. i did respond. because if you are just like, all right, i see what you're spending your time doing -- >> plus you want to take the temperature. see if they're still on you or not. you want to check and see. there were 100 tonight. 80 tonight. it's getting better. >> you could get seven an hour. i could get seven in one hour. seven in a week. i could get one. >> didn't it feel like if you didn't respond that it was weak. >> right. >> you couldn't let it pass. >> sometimes they would write back and say, oh, look at you not writing back. >> we got to take a quick break. up next, more startling research from the study on bullying including actually some good news on bullying. we'll talk to the principal at wheatley. plus, in minnesota, teachers barred from talking about homosexuality. coming up, we'll talk to some students in that school and in that district who say the policy creates a dangerous, even toxic environment where they are harassed routinely.
5:14 pm
>> you get shoved. and you feel like -- just that you're a piece of garbage that they can just throw away. >> a piece of garbage they can throw away. "bullying: it stops here." we'll be back in a minute. can i help you? yeah, can i get a full-sized car? forfor convertibles, please stepress star menu. i didn't catch that. to speak to a representative, please say representative now. representative. goodbye! you don't like automated customer service, and neither do we. that's why, unlike other cards, no matter when you call chase sapphire preferred, you immediately get a person not a prompt. chase sapphire preferred. a card of a different color. (phone ringing) chase sapphire preferred, this is julie in springfield.
5:15 pm
woman: saving for our child's college fund was getting man: yes it was. so to save some money, we taught our 5 year old how to dunk. woman: scholarship! woman: honey go get him. anncr: there's an easier way to save. get online. go to get a quote. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
5:16 pm
with advanced power, the verizon 4g lte network makes your business run faster: smartphones, laptops, tablets, mobile hotspots. but not all 4g is created equal. among the major carriers, only verizon's 4g network is 100% lte, the gold standard of wireless technology. and while other carriers may have limited lte coverage, verizon is the largest lte network in america and ever-growing. with verizon 4g lte, you can invent new ways to upgrade your business using real-time group meetings from remote locations, video conferencing, mobile credit-card payments, lightning-fast downloads, and access to thousands of business apps. plus, verizon has the largest selection of 4g lte devices and the most 4g lte coverage for your business. all on america's fastest, most reliable 4g network. no wonder more businesses choose verizon wireless than any other wireless carrier. verizon.
5:17 pm
welcome back to "bullying: it stops here." before the break we were talking ability the results of a pioneering study. we discovered that high schools are sort of social battlefields with students fighting for supremacy. to rise on the social ladder students use aggression or bullying to improve their position. the good news, our study often shows that more often than not it just doesn't work to really improve your social standing long term. the other key is that we're learning about the importance of kids intervening to help other kids. dr. phil talked about this earlier. right now in 77% of aggressive incidents, no bystanders intervene. 77%. that has got to change. joining our conversation is jacob, another wheatley student. he caught our eye because the study ranked him as one of the students who most often tries to stop bullying in his high school.
5:18 pm
also here is sean feeney, wheatley's principal. the co-author of our study, robert faris, phil mcgraw and rosalind wiseman. principal, it's fairly brave of you to allow us to do this study in your school. i want to stress your school takes this problem very seriously and is one of the top ranked schools in the country. were you surprised by some of the results? >> i was surprised somewhat. i have worked in a number of different schools, in a number of different social and cultural contexts overseas, in the city. what i found in my experience with kids, kids are kids are kids. and unfortunately these sort of dynamics occur in all places. now, that's not to excuse it. that's not to tolerate it. but you can't be a high school principal and not acknowledge and recognize problems such as drugs, alcohol, sex and bullying. these are all issues, many of which are tied into the issue of
5:19 pm
self-esteem and sense of self. which is something that's developing in high school kids. >> bob, you talk about the power of bystanders to actually stop this. >> bystanders form the majority of the school. they're the ones that actually allocate status. collectively they decide who's cool and who's not. they have the sort of power to step in and change the culture of the school and intervene in specific situations. >> that's a hopeful thing. because if you can get the norm being kids intervening, that can change that dynamic of bullying. >> absolutely. but they have to have the faith and the trust that their teachers and administrators will do right by them. >> absolutely. >> what i want to applaud is you saying this is a problem that happens. and the more information that i can get about this problem like doing this evaluation helps me do right by my kids. that's the kind of principal we have to have. >> jacob, you're one of the top intervenors in the school. why do you think that is?
5:20 pm
what is it about bullying that you've seen that makes you want to intervene? >> well, i believe that no one deserves to feel bad about themselves or have other people view bad of them. so if you have the opportunity to make someone feel better about themselves or prevent this from happening to them, i believe you should take it. >> did you know you were one of the top intervenors? >> i -- i didn't -- no, i didn't. >> you must have been incredibly relieved. you open up the study. oh, whew! i'm the intervenor. that's good. how do you -- principal feeney, how do you get more intervenors. how do you build that number of intervenors? >> the power of the intervenor was very exciting to me. because this study and dr. faris's research clearly showed that if you are friends with someone who is an intervenor, you're more likely to intervene the next time. so this sense of cultural norms which i think you -- you spoke of earlier, renormalizing the culture, you can change. and the key is from students.
5:21 pm
>> i was also interested in your study to see that bullying doesn't actually work. i mean, as a strategy long term to get to the top of the social hierarchy, it's nonsustainable. it doesn't really work. is that correct? >> on average it doesn't. >> it works in the moment. it doesn't work long term. the immediate gratification is there. that's the most powerful reward a kid can have is immediate gratification. it doesn't work long term, correct? >> there were some exceptions to that. it depends on who they're picking on. you know, i don't want to get into details of how bullies can be successful. but there were some exceptions to it. by and large it's true. that's kind of the great irony. it's not working. it actually -- it even sort of more surprising is that it increases the anxiety and depression of the bullies themselves experience. it increases their anxiety levels, increases their depression levels. i think they end up hating themselves on some level. >> why do you think it doesn't -- for the by and large
5:22 pm
does not work as a strategy for gaining -- becoming the top of the heap. >> if your goal is to climb the top of the hierarchy, excel in something. there's a lot better ways that are respected and admired. if you play the flute, you know -- >> yeah, that'll do it. the old play the flute. >> i would say score touchdowns. >> you were in the band, weren't you? >> there's a lot better ways to do it. kids aren't really fooled by the aggressive behavior. they're not overly impressed. >> they don't trust a bully. they don't trust a bully so they stay away from them. >> do you think that's true? >> yeah, absolutely. the thing that's so amazing as you watch kids go through this process, they realize they are paranoid about constantly having to reaffirm their power position. so they're never sure who their friends are so they never back them up. if they back them up it's because they fear them. the loyalty becomes you're backing them up because they're doing something unethical.
5:23 pm
but loyalty is not speaking truth to power. friendship really is speaking truth to power. >> kids are getting caught up in status games. what they really should be doing is coming out of high school with a handful of really good friends. having good friendships is really protective. it may not prevent all the bullying from occurring but it helps kids heal. >> we got to take a break. coming up next, one school system where at least seven kids have taken their own lives. is the school's policy of not discussing sexuality part of the problem? they're facing a lawsuit, federal investigation right now. we'll talk with students from the school district ahead. >> they would call me like fag and gross and say i'm going to hell and stuff. it makes you feel like you're the grossest person in the world. treat you like a policy, not a person. instead of getting to know you they simply assign you a number. aviva is here to change all that. we're bringing humanity back to insurance and putting people before policies.
5:24 pm
aviva life insurance and annuities. we are building insurance around you. for fastidious librarian emily skinner, each day was fueled by thorough preparation for events to come. well somewhere along the way, emily went right on living. but you see, with the help of her raymond james financial advisor, she had planned for every eventuality. ...which meant she continued to have the means to live on... ...even at the ripe old age of 187.
5:25 pm
life well planned. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you. i tell you what i can spend. i do my best to make it work. i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing.
5:26 pm
the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is. we've got to be smart about this. it's a smart way to go. ♪
5:27 pm
people would be like, faggot fag. i felt like i could never escape it. i promise you it will get better. i have so much support from people i don't even know online. i know that sounds creepy. but they're so nice and caring. and they don't ever want me to die. >> they don't want me to die. that was jamey rodemeyer. he lived in new york where an anti-bullying law was passed last year. laws differ from state to state and bullying policies differ from district to district. in one district, seven students have taken their lives in less than two years. the school district is facing a federal investigation and a lawsuit an advocacy group. the school's students say different pollices of barring teachers from talking about
5:28 pm
homosexuality jeopardizes their safety at school. they want the policy changed. the school district in a heavily conservative district declined to speak to us citing the ongoing litigation. they did defend the policy to cnn in april. watch. >> all the students come with parents in this community. and the parents have a wide range of beliefs. we serve them all. >> that was the superintendent. with us now, four students who are fighting back. kyle, damien, brittany and dylan. also with us jane lynch and sunny hostin. kyle, we -- i met you yesterday. you told me about an incident that happened to you in a bathroom. what happened? >> i had to use the bathroom. and i walk in the door, and these people were just watching me. they were just staring at me. i go into the stall. and then i hear laughing.
5:29 pm
i hear laughter. and i look up, and i have something dripping down my head. and someone was peeing on me. >> how often do you get bullied, do you get pushed around? >> almost every day. >> almost every day? >> yes. >> damien, how about you? you're straight. your two dads are gay. you're on a gymnastics team which people make fun of you for. what do people say to you? >> they would call me gay, faggot, fag boy, gamien, gay boy. >> brittany, what do people call you? >> they call me dike, [ bleep ], faggot. i've been called words i'm ashamed to say to this day. >> if you go to a counselor, brittany, in your school, what do they tell you? what do they say to you? >> they tell me not to use that language, that's not appropriate. and -- >> as if -- but you're not the one using that language.
5:30 pm
>> yeah. i'd explain to them what they'd say and how they said it. they'd tell me not to talk that way, not to use that language. just forget about it. ignore them. walk away like it didn't bother you. if you don't act like it bothers you, they're going to stop. it never did. >> dylan, you've recently been taken out of the school. you're being home schooled. did you just not feel safe in school. >> kids made me feel like i was the grossest person in the world. they would just go against the walls and say here comes the he/she or here comes the trash. they just made me feel gross. i didn't feel safe at school. so i just left. >> damien, if -- i know you had an incident where someone called you the "n" word. did teachers do something about that? >> yeah. they were more -- they would take care of it faster than they would if someone called me gay or faggot or fag. >> so if someone uses a racial slur against you teachers respond? >> yeah, right away.
5:31 pm
>> if someone calls you the "f" word what happens? >> they would shrug it off and tell me not to use that word like brittany said. >> anderson, can i jump in? i have to tell you as a parent i'm sitting here and i'm stewing with rage. and i just feel so angry and so upset for the four of you and your class experience. and it seems to me that this is all backwards. instead of taking it up with the kids that are tormenting daily and using abusive language and being abusive to their students, this young man can't even go to school anymore. he shouldn't be the one having to stay home. the bullies and the aggressors should have to be made to stay home or expelled from school. and i just want you to know that people do care about you. i care about you. and i really feel touched for your experience. really. >> jane, you and your wife are raising a daughter. when you hear these kids, what goes through your mind?
5:32 pm
>> well, you know, these kids do need to know that they are loved. and it's really, really sad that they don't have an advocate. and i think this neutrality policy is abdicating their responsibility, the adults' responsibility of protecting these kids. it's really very sad. it makes me very sad. >> sunny, the school district is facing not only a lawsuit but also a federal investigation. what could happen? is this a criminal federal investigation? >> certainly. because a lot of this behavior is protected by federal law, right? these are civil rights violations. i think that's what the problem is here. these children aren't allowed to be their authentic selves and our laws have to protect that. don't we want our children to grow and be their authentic selves, not try to be someone that they are not? and act in this sort of shame-based way? i think the law should be here to protect the most vulnerable in our society. >> rosalind, you know, the idea being neutral policy, a policy where you do not use specific words, does that work as an
5:33 pm
i anti-bullying policy? >> no. it plays right into the bullies' hands. because it stops well meaning people from being able to speak out. it makes these children feel they have no recourse. i really want to go back to what the superintendent said when he said we have a variety of beliefs here and we need to address all those beliefs. the single belief that a superintendent of a school should be focused on is the health and dignity of the children. that is it. [ applause ] >> to you think it would make a difference if you could talk to teachers and talk to counselors? do you think it would make a difference in your lives. >> yeah, i do. >> how so? >> i think if people understood what we are going through, that maybe, just maybe they'd understand. and if they would just listen to us speak and actually meet us before they jump to conclusions,
5:34 pm
maybe this wouldn't happen. you know, i -- i prayed every day that i didn't have to go back to school. >> you pray every day that you don't have to go back to school? >> yeah. i'd hide under the seats of the bus. >> you'd hide under the seats? >> i would. >> i understand at one point how many kids did you know who were bullying you? >> 40. >> 40 kids? >> yes. >> you could identify 40 kids? >> yeah. >> i want to thank you kids for your courage and your strength. i think you're so impressive and so brave. i think -- i think you have tremendous courage. thank you. i appreciate it. [ applause ] coming up, we're going to show you what happened to this little boy, alex, after the bullying that happened to him was caught on camera. but before we go, i met kyle yesterday. and all the kids yesterday. and kyle loves lady gaga. >> she's amazing. >> she's amazing.
5:35 pm
but yesterday when i was -- i interviewed kyle, i was talking to him. i said, is there anything else you'd like to do or like to say. he said i would like to sing a song. he said that to me today when he came and sat down. he said, can i sing? so kyle is going to sing his favorite song. [ applause ] ♪ so hold your head up girl and you'll go far listen to me when i say ♪ ♪ how beautiful you are because god makes no mistakes ♪ ♪ on the right track baby i was worn this way ♪ ♪ don't let yourself regret just love yourself and you're set ♪ ♪ i'm on the right track baby i was born this way ♪ [ applause ] ♪ there's a place i dream about ♪
5:36 pm
♪ where the sun never goes out ♪ ♪ and the sky is deep and blue ♪ ♪ won't you take me american flight 280 to miami is now ready for boarding. ♪ there with you fly without putting your life on pause. be yourself. nonstop. american airlines.
5:37 pm
5:38 pm
5:39 pm
welcome back to the special report. "bullying: it stops here." from the campus of rutgers university, so much bullying today occurs online as we talked about as well as in school. it's rare it's actually caught on camera. there's an extraordinary documentary called "the bully project." it's been called to the department of education. it really gives you a look at
5:40 pm
some of the horrors some kids face in school. this is what 13-year-old alex faced on a school bus in sioux city, iowa. >> get your ass off may bookbag. >> okay. >> move! move! >> wow. >> what? >> do not hit me. >> why are you punching me? >> no, no, no. ow. why are you stabbing me with it? >> going to knock your face off. stop. >> give it to him, hard! >> joining me now is the film maker lee hirsch. with us kelly ripa watched it
5:41 pm
last night. we've all seen it. just incredible. you spent a year in this school. did it surprise you what you saw and what you were actually able to capture? >> it didn't surprise me. the goal was to get out there and to show what kids go through. to show what kyle goes through. to give it something really real so that we could stop denying it, so that we could stop sort of saying this is just a rite of passage. it didn't surprise me. and i think that's -- the scary part is it didn't surprise a lot of people. >> you were so concerned about alex, the little boy on that bus, you actually showed the footage to his mom. >> i did. >> i want to show another clip from the film. >> do you understand that at some point you've gotten used to this? and i'm not. i'm not used to it. because i didn't know. and i'm not about to get used to it.
5:42 pm
does it make you feel good when they punch you or kick you or stab you? do these things make you feel good? >> no. well, i don't know. i'm starting to think i don't feel anything anymore. >> you watched this last night with your kids. >> that's what -- that was the moment that i think scared me the most. when i said i don't -- i don't feel anything anymore. and you see a boy who has been failed on every level. my children were afraid of his experience on the bus. they watched it, and it terrified them. it's far -- it's very far away from what their experience has been at school. and when he said, "i don't feel anything anymore," kids will go to great lengths to feel something. i feel like somebody needs to intervene on his behalf in the right way. >> well, that's -- that's what bothers me about this. look, these bullies have parents. where are the parents? look, if your child's a bully, it's your job to know your child
5:43 pm
is a bully. it's your job to know that. it's your job to intervene at that level as a parent. it's your job to talk to the school. it's your job -- >> i talk to a lot of parents who have tried to intervene with the parents of bullies, and the parents don't recognize it as a problem. >> that's what i'm saying. they don't see it because a lot of times it's modeled in the home. there's aggressive behavior in the home either verbally or physically and that becomes the norm. these kids aren't born this way, anderson. they learn this -- it's a social skill deficit that they learn. and their parents need to know that and -- and intervene. >> the place where we stop it is the public forum of the school. because we can't control these homes. but we can control what happens to kids at school. and we can have -- we can push for more empathy, we can push for understanding. that's where we have a chance to make an impact. >> what bothers me is i don't think you can put a fence around the school.
5:44 pm
i hear administrators say, it happened off campus. it wasn't actually on school. it was in a chatroom. it was this. it was that. you've got to take down the fences and the boundary. we are responsible adults. if we know this is going on, we need to caucus. we need to talk to the parents. we need to have a discussion about this and not to come in and put the bully under the jail. you're not going to punish this out of the bully. that young man that was doing that on the book -- on the bus, that bully, to me that is a tormented child. the bully. there's something going on. >> but when he went home that night for dinner and his mom said how was your day, what did you do today, he didn't say, you know what i did? i tormented this little boy alex. and i punched him, and i strangled him, and i told him i was going to stab him. >> he said, i was fine. >> jane, do you agree with lee, jane, that the school -- i mean, yes, it would be great if -- if people could fix families. but the school is the place to address this? at least it's the most obvious place to or -- not that it's easy, but easiest place to address it?
5:45 pm
>> yeah. i think changing the hearts and minds of people is almost a fruitless enterprise. i think you have to institute it in the schools. and there has to be real -- there has to be real consequences for the kids who bully. i don't -- you know, these kids are not shot out of a vacuum. they come from a home that instills certain values and certain behaviors and there's really nothing we can do about it. but at our schools and at the legislative level we can do something about protecting these kids. >> if i could comment on what you're saying and what jane -- jane, you were saying it does have to happen at the school. here's the point. if that's going to happen, then we have to teach the teachers what to do. these teachers don't know what to do. they haven't got -- nobody has sat down and given them courses in life skills and intervention with these kids and teaching empathy. we can't ask them to do it if we don't teach them what to do and we don't fund it so it can be part of the curriculum. >> i think that's an excellent point is that, you know, we do need to help with -- with
5:46 pm
professional development. not just teachers, but administrators, cafeteria folks, bus drivers, all the support personnel. you hear this when -- when administrators, teachers watch our film. they will say, like, i don't have the tools. >> we've got to take a break. we'll be right back with our panel. fore! no matter what small business you are in, managing expenses seems to... get in the way. not anymore. ink, the small business card from chase introduces jot an on-the-go expense app made exclusively for ink customers. custom categorize your expenses anywhere. save time and get back to what you love. the latest innovation. only for ink customers. learn more at
5:47 pm
5:48 pm
5:49 pm
5:50 pm
welcome back. we're back with our panel. >> you captured a moment in the film that will stay with me forever. and it sort of crystallized everything perfectly. these two boys are coming in from recess and the principal is there to greet them and one is distraught and the other one is chasing him. she slows them down and says, what's going on. >> let's actually show this moment. >> he is offering his hand and let this drop. you may go. cole, i expected more. >> he criticizes me every single day. >> then why are you around him? >> i don't. he comes to me. i try and get away from him. he follows me. and he criticized me, calling me a p-u [ bleep ]. >> honey, that's not right and he shouldn't do that. you know what? he was trying to say he was sorry.
5:51 pm
>> yeah, he did and he didn't mean it. >> you know -- >> -- because it continued on. >> you didn't mean it when you stuck your hand out either. so that means you're just like him. >> i mean, i was screaming at the screen. i was screaming at the screen. >> you see this all the time. where you work in schools. >> i do. i work in schools and i see it. what is so infuriating is that we often say to kids that they should trust us. they should believe in adults. and when they have adults in their life who fail them in this way or fail the way that the anoka-hennepin kids have been failed, then why should children believe that we can do differently? why should they take this enormous leap of faith and reveal this vulnerability and all of this fear? there are two things that i talk to teachers all the time about. one is that they are the bridge. that they -- if they're good teachers, if they're in chem or math or french or spanish the kids are going to talk to them. the second thing teachers need
5:52 pm
to do regardless of what they teach, if kids use the word fag or retarded or any of that stuff, they say to the kids who said it, mark, whatever your name is, if you say that word and you are saying this word to put somebody down, it's not acceptable in my classroom. are we good? we're good. it takes ten seconds. it sends a message to every single kid in that classroom what the teacher really stands for. >> they don't say it in front of the teachers as often as they say it away from the teachers. that involves the parents. everybody keeps says the parents just know what the kids tell them. if you're a parent, it's your job to observe your child and know what they're doing. show up when they don't know you're going to be there. observe them when they don't think they're being observed. find out how they treat other people. i've had parents on the show that said my 5-year-old would never be aggressive with anyone else. i put them behind a mirror and let them watch and the kids in there stabbing another kid with a barbie doll like psycho. they go, wow, i never saw that before. it's your job to see it. you hear that in the school shootings, with columbine.
5:53 pm
they've got an armament under their bed. if your kid is building up a stockpile of arms in their bedroom, it's your job to know. i'm sorry. parents cannot just check out and say they didn't tell me. they didn't tell me. it's your job to find out. >> one of the things that i'm hopeful for with our film and the conversation -- conversations that we're having is that parents will feel more empowered to have those conversations. not just if they're afraid their kid's a bully. but if their child is being bullied, they're able to -- >> but it's more than conversation. they need to see what you saw. >> yeah. >> hopefully, you know, the empathy to have the third conversation, to have the fourth conversation. >> can't just be one conversation. >> the sixth conversation. you know, for -- for fathers and sons, you know, it maybe is great advice to say go on and deck that bully and it'll stop. but when it doesn't, and it's the second and the third and the fourth conversation, you know, how are you going to be able to talk to your son? >> i want to bring in dr.
5:54 pm
maurice elias from rutgers university. it's been a year since tyler clemente's suicide. what has the school done in the wake of that? >> rutgers has always valued the diversity of our student body. so what happened with tyler was just an incredible tragedy and a shock to us. but what we did since then is institute a few different things that are important not only for our -- our lgbq community, but more generally how do we bring our students together so that they're doing things for a higher purpose? you know, the issue of bullying and harassment has a lot to do with kids who have lost their way, frankly. and so we've tried to find a program called civic engagement where our students are able to come together, working together, for communities that really have a lot less than they do. and when we find we're bringing diverse students together to do that, it just changes the way they relate to each other.
5:55 pm
they come to different kinds of understandings of each other. that's been one of the most important things we've done. >> i want to introduce bruce snyder from the cartoon network. cnn has teamed up with the cartoon network to create a facebook app. explain what the app is. >> the app is a stop bullying, speak up app available through facebook. and what it is, it's a great platform where young adults, kids and adults can get together, take a pledge to speak up to stop bullying. also create a community where everyone can share resources so that we all can make a difference. today 40,000 people have taken the pledge to speak up against bullying. and i'm really requesting that if anyone hasn't taken that pledge, to please do so and hopefully by taking the pledge, we all are able to speak up and stop bullying. >> stuart, thanks very much. if you or anyone you know is having trouble thinking about
5:56 pm
suicide, having thoughts like that, we have resources to help on the page. i want to thank everyone here. especially the kids here today who've had the bravery to speak out about what they are facing every single day. this is not just a problem for the kids who are here and for their parents. it's a problem for all of us. that all of us have to solve together. so much is at stake. let's not let our kids down. bullying, it can stop here. thanks for watching. -- captions by vitac -- montgomery and abigail higgins had... ...a tree that bore the most rare and magical fruit. which provided for their every financial need. and then, in one blinding blink of an eye, their tree had given its last. but with their raymond james financial advisor, they had prepared for even the unthinkable. and they danced.
5:57 pm
see what a raymond james advisor can do for you. ♪ [ female announcer ] the road is not exactly a place of intelligence. highway maintenance is underfunded, costing drivers $67 billion a year, and countless tires. which drivers never actually check because they're busy, checking email. this is why we engineered a car that makes 2,000 decisions every second. the new audi a6 is here. the road is now an intelligent place. ♪
5:58 pm
an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement available only with liberty mutual auto insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer. to learn more, visit us today.
5:59 pm
responsibility. what's your policy?


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on