tv Beyond the Headlines ABC October 18, 2015 4:30pm-5:01pm PDT
♪ welcome to beyond the headlines. i'm cheryl jennings. our show today looks at a topic a of us encounter. blugying. dealing with a bully can be traumatic for people of any age. we see them in schools and social media. for example, when robin williams died, his daughter zelda was called names. bullying can cause physical harm and severe emotional damage to children for a long time. it can lead to difficulty in forming healthy relationships as well as lead to depression, poor self-image and even suicide. governor brown signed a bill to close loopholes made apparent by the case of audrie pott.
the sayre toe gatt high school student who was sexually assaulted at a party and explicit pictures were later posted on social media. audrie later died by suicide over the humiliation. reporter david louie filed this report earlier this year why her family and others are supporting the change. >> current state law gave prosecutors no choice but to try audrie potts' three classmates in juvenile court where their identities and pub issuement were kept secret. a new bill to be known as audrie's law will specify sexual assault of a defenseless victim must go to open adult court. defenseless is defined as in20678 indicateded unconscious or mentally disabled. >> we believe if the identity sexual offenders and their sentence is exposed it would deal tier future incidents and put the community on alert to monitor the assailants behavior and keep other students safe. >> conviction could lead to years of prison time instead of
the 30 to 45 days in juvenile hall the teens received in the case. the use of social media to disseminate sexual pleksity photos also would be tried in adult court. >> the time has come to pull these predatory predators out of the shadows and make the juvenile justice system live up to its promise to protect their victims. >> district attorney rosen says that's the only way to send a message to minors about the consequences of rape or cyberbullying. >> we're trying to deter some of this conduct and trying to deter the idea that boys will be boys or this is a rite of passage. rape is not a rite of pace and. >> he says california law hasn't kept up with social mediaen and new crimes. at the youth counseling and crisis agency, there is concern the bill could set a precedent for juvenile cases. >> is every crime the same like that? no, i don't think so. i don't -- i wouldn't say that
the result or the penalty for that needs to be the same in every case. >> powerful story. joining me in the studio is sheila pott, audrie's mom and co-founder of the audrie pott foundation. we were chatting before the show started. i'm so sorry for your loss. it's only been a couple years and seems like yesterday. >> yes, absolutely. >> tell us about audrie. who was she? >> she was a 15-year-old with dreams of attending a college of the arts. she was athletic. kind. she referred to herself as the peacemaker in her group. she had an amazing sense of humor and. >> and her younger siblings looked up to her? >> they look up to her and recently asked a question, when was audrie -- when did audrie become funny? >> oh.
>> my goodness. you know, the story was in the news a lot. and what happened to the people who were involved with her just really infuriated you, didn't it? tell me a little bit about that. >> i think you're referring to audrie's attackers. >> yell. >> we were -- we were extremely frustrated that it took so longing to bring some justice in her case. it took eight months for the investigation, which i know part of that was a challenge because they had to obtain the evidence to make the arrests. >> you had to obtain the evidence. >> no, the sheriff's office had to obtain the evidence. so they had to go through literally thousands of pictures to get the evidence to arrest the assailants and bring forth the six charges for sexual assault and possession and distribution of images. >> and a punishment you said was
in your opinion, very light? >> well, being that the -- the felonies were sick and the sentences that were dated and the mercury were 30 to 45 days, yes, we felt that that was really not any type of consequences for this type of behavior. >> and that's why you fought hard for that bill? >> yes. >> so i want to talk about warning signs that audrie was struggling with all of this. what did you see? >> it was difficult for me to really notice any warning signs because she was very private as a lot of teens are. and in hindsight after i did a lot of research on the subject of teens and suicide, she had some reluctance to go to school in that week. there was some instances of behavior, which i thought was --
and sleeping more than normal and retreating to her room, not necessarily wanting to go out for activities like sports and things like that. >> so your foundation tries to address a lot of these issues. so tell us a little bit about that. >> so initially when we were in the hospital, knowing that audrie wasn't going to survive, we wanted to do something to make a difference in her memory. and she was always very passionate about the arts. so we thought we would start a foundation that would raise money and give it back to young artists in the community, both for the art and music. and then of course, when we learned about the sexual assault and the bullying that ensues often with these types of cases we thought we needed to bring awareness on these issues. >> and so what's the website? >> it's audrie pott foundation
and we also have a facebook page where we share several links to articles that are on sexual assault, bullying and which showcase organizations that are trying to make a difference in our schools. >> quick advice for parents, please. >> it's very important to be engaged in your children's lives, have open conversations with them about their responsibility on social media and how they treat their peers. it's important to tell them it's okay to step up and be the hero to prevent these situations from happening. and it's also okay to check their phones to check their computers. it's part of being proactive because you never want to be sitting where i'm sitting where you have to deal with a tragedy and the loss of someone. >> absolutely. >> so dear. >> thank you so much for sharing your story today. i really appreciate it.
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headlines". we're talking about bullying and bullying prevention. joining me in the studio right now are folks from the rainbow community center in contracosta county, kim baranek, inclusive schools coordinator and mayela zuniga who is a youth mentor. thank you bowing for being here today. >> thanks for having us. >> i've been enjoying visiting with you on the break. may yellla, you work with the kids. when you were growing up, you didn't have a lot of role models. tell me about that and how that relate tosses the kids. >> i grew up very first generation mexican-american and grew up very working class and in southern alameda county. and when i started realizing that i wasn't straight, it was very difficult for me because i didn't know anyone especially anyone that looks like me that will identified as gay. so it was very isolating. tan actually wasn't until i
really connected with organizations similar to the rainbow community center in southern alameda county that i really got to see role models and people that were like me. >> how much of a difference did that make for you? >> it made a huge difference. it saved my life. i was very, very depressed teenager, very suicidal. it gave me a lot of hope that i could really do anything and be anything that i wanted to be. not despite of my identity but the even like i could use my identity and celebrate that. >> i love it. >> and use it to go forward. >> how do you apply that now to the other kids you meet? >> right now, i work with the programming that happens at the center and also the programs that happens on the school site. i see a lot of same stories, a lot of youth that feel isolated, a lot of the youth that come to us, come to us after unfortunately, a suicide attempt or after being hospitalized, and
having major anxiety or depression. what i keep hearing over and over and over again is wow. i didn't know the there were other people like me. >> wow let me talk to you, kim. we've got so much to get to here. you've seen things changing in con tran costa county. there's been a lot of folks moving there from san francisco and the east bay. what sort of changes are you seeing? >> we're seeing more lgbtq folks moving into the community as a result, the families are bringing their children to schools. so they really want support to make sure that the schools are accepting and welcoming and ready to support diverse families. and that's really the work of our coalition to help them. >> you've got a great name for your program, inclusive schools coalitionings. >> that's right. and so we're a group of youth service providers, educators and families of lgbtq youth who come together, really to make sure schools are safe and welcoming so that will youth can have better health outcomes that3l
don't face depression and suicide alt. all this work helps improve academic outcomes, as well. >> you also have a component that involves faith. i love. you hear about some churches don't accept homosexuality. you've got a safe place. tell me about that. >> san francisco isn't is the only welcoming and accepting community in the bay area. and in con tran costa county, there are over 40 congregations welcoming and affirming and accept people of all genders and sexual orientation. so we unite with them to provide family support and we're going to be putting on a whole bunch of events including our upcoming summit in november. >> mayela, spanish speaking services available be? >> yes, and the reason why we strive to provide spanish services is the same reason why we collaborate with the faith community. everyone has multiple i'd is. you're more than just gay, ou're latino, you're catholic. you're, et cetera.
we really want to create a culture where you are wholly embraces and you don't have to pick and choose. so we are trying to meet folks where they're at, provide those services, just because you're spanish speaking doesn't mean that you capital get services or have to alienate one community to go to another. >> that's wonderful. kim,ing about ten seconds left. good feedback from the community? >> excellent. teachers feel more prepared to intervene when they see bullying or hear slurs in the classroom. and that means our youth want to go to school because someone cares about them and supports them. >> huge. >> thank you so much for what you're doing. >> thank you. >> we have all your social media up, too. we want to get the message out to everybody. appreciate your being here. we do have to take another break. when we come back, we'll hear tips what to do when we are confronted with a bully. stay with us.
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welcome back to beyond the headlines". we've been talking about the tough issue of bullying. here's a story about a young person doing something positive. 11-year-old rapper maddy b is scoring millions of youtube hits with his new video defending his young sister who has down's syndrome. [ rapping ] they start to zrirks funny ways a group of people through a stereotype, but when it's pointed back at you, hold up, that isn't truth. >> the young rapper and his family came up with the idea as a way to empower 8-year-old sarah. isn't she cute? the video derived from the hit true colors shows a dramatized situation in which sarah is rejected by her peers but eventually wins them over. >> people at school might pick on us or her needs but i don't think anybody should be bullied because of what they have.
>> she loves acting. she loves to be in front of the camera, and this was -- she was very excited about it. >> the video has racked up more than 7 million views on youtube. maddy hopes the video will inspire other kids with special needs and teach them they can doing anything. well, joining me in the studio right now is irene van der zande. i hope i said that right. she is the founder and executive director of kid power, teenpower, fullpower international. that's a mouthful. she is the author of multiple books including two very important resources "bullying what adult need to know and to keep kids safe," and "face bullying with confidence." your organization has been around for a long time. how did you start this? >> the inspiration for starting kid power happened when i took more than 25 years ago, when i took a group of young children, including my own two on a field trip. and ended up protecting them from a man who was threatening
to kidnap them. >> my goodness. >> so now you've pretty much become an expert between your own life and all this. how do we know the difference between bullying versus normal children and their conflict? >> well, experimenting with negative youth as a power is normal. when it becomes bullying is when it's becoming damaging, when there's -- you know, if it's back and forth and kids are working things out with adult support, it's not going to grow into bullying. but if there's more power that one group has or one child has over another for any reason, or even one awful remark can stick with you a really long time. so it's when it's hurtful and it keeps going of the time we want to remember that kids need guidance in order to learn how to be safe with their power rather than unsafe. >> you have some great advice. i want to get to that before we
run out of time. main actions for parents. >> well,ing if you want to to stay calm if you've heard your child being abused or bullied. get the whole story. you want to -- and that's hard to do, easy to say. >> sure. >> you want to be able to really look at what happened and then to get help. to work with them, to change the situation. and to keep your radar on about what's happening with your kids as well as to intervene, to stop unsafe or disrespectful behavior. >> i think we have that list we want to put on the screen. you have something called the child protection promise. >> yes. we want kids to -- we want to make sure that they know we care and that's why for international child protection month, which we launch this had september, we made the child protection promise, which is to have every adult, imagine the impact if
every adult said to every child in their lives, you are very, very important to me. and if you have a safety problem, i want to know. even if i'm too busy, even if you made a mistake, even if it's embarrassing, even if someone we care about will be upset. >> and when you find out that your child is being bullied, what do you do? >> what you do is you listen to them. you say thank you for telling me. and you tell them it was not their fault. and that you're going to work together to figure out what to do. because they have the right to be safe and respected at school as well as the responsibility to act safely and respectfully. >> i love that. that is great advice. we're going to take a break. we have a lot more to talk about. irene is staying with us for another segment so stay with us. we will be right back. you know i think about money kind of a lot. money is freedom. money's always on my mind.
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welcome back to beyond the headlines". imagine your high school science fair on a global scale. recently the google science fair brought kids to mountain view from all over the world to show off their inventions. abc's 7 news reporter jonathan bloom walked the floor to meet some of these young bright minds. >> yes, that little robot just flew away from a kid trying to swat it. >> does it have a name? >> i call it fly bot. >> fly bot. >> yes, it's a pet name. >> but the name isn't a coincidence. this 15-year-old modeled is the robot after a fruitfly.
>> they're able to escape faster than we can blink our eyes. >> that's h they managing to evade the fly swatter. >> yes. >> how a drone could dodge falling objects while searching for survivors earned him a spot in the google science fair, a competition for teenage innovators. >> at their age, they don't realize that thing are impossible so they go ahead and do them. that's part of the greató inspiration what we see here at the fair. >> fearlessly attacking a problem that has had grown-ups stumped, this 14-year-old has an answer to cyberbullying. >> this part of our brain called the prefrontal cortex is not developed till age 25. it controls decision making >> a web browser detects an offensive post before it's put up and asks the teen to think twice about it. a study found 93% effective and she already has a provisional patent. >> i'm going to be seen in london. >> and wow. we were just looking at that. that's great. joining me is irene van der
zande, founder and director of teenpower, fullpower international. i know you have comic books about cyberbullying. we want to show that to folks. that's a huge problem these days. >> it is because it makes it much more efficient to communicate over the internet and texting makes it more efficient to communicate. and having an ap like that that that gets you stop and think before you do communicate something hurtful. >> what do you think is the best way to keep kids safe online? >> the best way is as with all safety is to be involved this their lives, to stay connected with their real life worlds, their virtual worlds which are real to them and to realize and to educate them about the impact that a word can have when you're sitting in your living room is different than when you're just out you know, you're prepared when you're out face to face with somebody in a different way. >> it's really good to have that
language that you're teaching in the comic books because it gives parents and kids, puts them on the same page in terms of how do you talk to your kids and how do i talk to my parents. >> that's right, that's right. >> so i hear this argument in my family all the time. you shouldn't have a facebook page because you're too young. what age do you think is appropriate? >> i think that families have hugely different levels of tolerance about this. what you want is to make decisions based on you know, you want to, of course, use privacy settings but you want to be aware that you can't put something online that you don't want the whole world to see. >> because it follows you forever. >> it does. and that if somebody in your circle of friends, even if you say this is just for friends and family, they could still forward that to their circle of friends and something becomes public that maybe you didn't want it to. >> and it just gets uglier after that. >> that's right. >> what do you do if your child is the bully? that's really tough. >> they like to say bullying.
a child does bullying. >> not label them as a bullying. >> that's right. >> because they're not. we're not going to give up on kids. >> that's good. >> we're going to say you're going to stay calm again. you're going to understand what happened. you're going to practice with some how to do things safely. instead of unsafely. that if they said or did something that was going to hurt somebody, that they're going to now practice how to say i'm going to put my hands down. i'm not going to send that hurtful message or not going to pass it on. >> that's part of the language is putting our hands down. >> right. we say just to step back from the technology for p to stop yourself. and we're going to of really work with them to make amends. >> irene, thank you so much. we've got to the go. we could talk for hours about this. for more information go to abc7.com/community.
we heard a crash. people started screaming. >> a witness describes the moment a car careened into the ocean. one man survived after spending more than 20 minutes submerged in the cold waters of monterey bay. >> we begin with developing news tonight on that wharf crash. i happened along the santa cruz board walk. >> cornell s