Teen in anti-bullying video gains online support
A 13-year old Connecticut girl is bringing the serious issue of bullying to the forefront once again through a stark video she put on the Internet two weeks ago that's quickly gaining attention.
Her name is Alye Pollack. And after alerting the website of her hometown newspaper, the Westport Patch, of what she was about to do, Alye posted a poignant, three-minute video on YouTube. In it, the eighth-grader at Bedford Middle School in Westport, Conn. uses hand-written signs to say she is a victim of bullying.
Without ever speaking, Alye describes her pain and the insults she says she endures every day.
CBS News Correspondent Elaine Quijano reported the video has struck a chord. It has thousands of hits, and an outpouring of sympathetic comments. "Be strong, Alye," reads one message, and, "Always know how special you are."
Sophia Green, 14, is Alye's classmate and says she's witnessed bullies go after Alye many times.
"I think it's horrible what people do," she said. "I was on a bus once and people were like, talking about her headphones, and I was like, 'Guys, come on, that's so stupid. You just need an excuse to make fun of her.'"
Sophia says bullies were so cruel to Alye that, before the video was even posted, she slipped an anonymous note into Alye's locker with a message of support.
Green said, "She was like really brave for getting through this and she should just keep holding on."
But in the video, Alye pleads for help and says she's considering hurting herself. The Westport Public Schools superintendent would not discuss details of Alye's case, but said the video took him by surprise.
Superintendent Elliott Landon said, "This surprises me and I don't know why this was not brought to our attention sooner."
He says the district takes bullying seriously -- with tough penalties, including suspension and even expulsion.
For some kids, fighting back is bringing new-found respect. After being taunted and punched in the face, an Australian boy finally body-slammed his much-smaller alleged bully. Earlier this month, he became a YouTube sensation for the violent act.
Now, Alye Pollack is fighting back, too, urging people to think before they speak, and using the same powerful weapons her bullies use -- words.
On "The Early Show" Wednesday, Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, psychologist and "Early Show" Contributor, brought together teens around Alye's age to see their response to Alye's message. Click on the video to see their reactions and Hartstein's tips to fight bullying.
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