NRHS students share their bullying experiences in video

Amy MacKenzie amy.mackenzie@ngnews.ca
Published on June 3, 2013
From left: Ally Forbes, Morgan Atwater, Robyn Sutherland and Shy Polley stand behind their bullying stories which they held up in a video that played for the entire school at NRHS last week and has gained thousands of views on Youtube since. AMY MACKENZIE – THE NEWS

ALMA – Morgan Atwater was so nervous the day a video she made with other students aired throughout the school that she almost didn’t go to class. When she decided that she would sit through it, she pulled her hoodie up over her face as her stomach fluttered with anxiety.

The video was put together by the Respect and Communications committees at the Northumberland Regional High School and features various students holding up pieces of paper that tell their stories of how they were bullied and how it affected them. Atwater was one of them.

Many of the students held their signs over their faces so they were anonymous, but several decided to stand behind their posters and put a face to their story.

“We were worried about backlash and what people might say,” Atwater said. “But, it’s actually been awesome. We’ve had teachers come to us and give us hugs and even people saying it’s the best thing that ever happened to NRHS. We keep checking every day on Youtube and we’re at almost 3,000 views and it’s only been since Friday.”

She said the comments on the video’s page on Youtube are also positive and the students are finding support rather than backlash.

The four students who were the driving force behind the video: Atwater, Ally Forbes, Robyn Sutherland and Shy Polley, said they struggled with deciding to share the details of their bullying experiences.

“I think the hardest part for me was knowing that the people that had done and do that to me, would see it,” Polley said.

Forbes and Sutherland agreed.

“With myself and Robyn, we put it off until the day we finished filming,” Forbes said. “I think it was us just trying to avoid what happened to us. But once you got all the stories in, it felt more OK to be able to do it because there were so many other stories that were either similar or even worse than what happened to us. It helped to realize that we’re not alone in this.”

Forbes said she is glad the video is getting plenty of views and is raising awareness.

“It’s really important to realize that until people make it OK to talk about bullying, we’re going to lose more youth every year to suicide,” she said.

Atwater said she was glad to include the other side of the issue, the bullies, with her sign that said, “The bully, the victim, the bystander,” and said it’s important for bullies to realize that they can move on from that label.

“I think we can all say that we’ve been in all three situations. Whether you want to come clean to that and have a fresh start and move on from it, that’s what’s important,” she said.

The students said they never expected the video to get many views since they only put it on Youtube to be able to access it on the Internet when they present it to middle school students during respect presentations and during orientations for Grade 8 students who are coming to NRHS next year.

“We never thought people would actually watch it, but now that it has 3,000 views it’s absolutely crazy,” Forbes said.

Forbes, Sutherland and Atwater are all Grade 12 students who will leave Northumberland soon, but say they’re glad they’ve made such an impact with this video and know that Polley, who is in Grade 9 and plans to stay on the Respect Committee, will continue to raise awareness and make big moves against bullying like they did this year with the video.

To watch the video, go to:  HYPERLINK "http://youtu.be/YueBwDy5L-o" http://youtu.be/YueBwDy5L-o or search NRHS True Colours Anti-bullying Video on Youtube.com

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