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Local teens make anti-bullying video message, win awards

Updated: Friday, August 16 2013, 06:15 PM CDT
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

It’s back-to-school season for many young students in Central Pennsylvania, and at the forefront of minds of educators and kids alike, is bullying.

As defined by stopbullying.org, bullying is repeated acts of  "unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance."

It’s a growing problem schools are facing and recently, it's been catching the attention of legislators, goading them to do something about it. 

But two teenagers in Hummelstown are taking the matter into their own hands by using a video camera.

Emma Irving, 17, and her boyfriend, Bryce Detweiler, 18, recently returned from an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles where they attended the Great American No Bull Challenge conference, focusing on anti-bullying. The two produced a video together for a high school class project, but then entered it into the national contest and became finalists.

They won for Best Message in a video.

Throughout the video, the main message the budding filmmakers conveyed to their audience is how powerful words can be. Too many times, they say, bullies say certain words with a hidden undertone. 

“The thing most people don’t understand is words have meaning,” said Irving, the star of the video. 

She added that while bullying may not be an experience everybody deals with, there are bullies all around. Not just physically, but online, too.

Online, Irving said she’s heard of many stories of people receiving messages from bullies privately on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. 

“In this day and age, it’s become more of an underground thing,” said Detweiler, who edited the two-and-a-half minute video. "Kids don’t talk about it often, even if they’re victims."

Irving, who begins her senior year at Lower Dauphin High School and Detweiler, who graduated this summer, worked on the video after an assignment in a communication class. 

“You can take in the words, you can feel them for a little bit, but at the end of the day you realize they mean nothing,” said Irving.

Their principal – Todd Neuhard – is proud of the students for creating the video receiving the national attention. Both Irving and Detweiler said they haven’t heard of much bullying at their school and their principal agrees.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a widespread problem, but even if you have one (bully), it’s something you want to try to address,” he said. Neuhard added that the school district has implemented plans into handling bullying situations.

"If we can empower kids in schools everywhere to stand up to bullying, even if there are consequences in their realm, they can be strong enough to ignore it,"said Irving. 

Included in their winnings were a scholarship, trophies, awards, but what their most of all happy about is a Text-To-Tip program. The organization sponsoring the conference plans to add a service to the school district where students can anonymously text tips of bullying – from witnesses to victims – with action being taken. 

To watch their entire video, visit: http://nobullgreatamerican.votigo.com/contests/showentry/1433799Local teens make anti-bullying video message, win awards


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