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Mom Fights Bullycide

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There’s a sad new word in the American lexicon: bullycide. After her daughter attempted suicide, one mom made it her life’s work to help other kids avoid the consequences of 24/7 bullying. Reed Galin reports.

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SCRIPT:

(Locator: San Jose, Calif.)

Ann Brownell speaks to students: “I’m not going to get her graduation picture, not be able to go to prom. She never got to get her driver’s license.”

Ann Brownell talks to students about her daughter’s suicide attempt.

Ann Brownell: “She’s still here, but she does have brain damage. And she’s not able to give me hugs anymore.”

Ann with Amanda: “Tell mama something. Come on, I know you’re trying, keep trying…”

In December 2008, Amanda hanged herself in a school restroom after receiving thousands of harassing text messages from girls who once were friends.

Teen singing: “Actions speak louder than words…”

At an anti-bullying program at San Jose’s Andrew Hill High School…

Ann Brownell: “ …she loved to sing…”

…Ann tells somber students she didn’t know Amanda was hurting. She does not hide her pain.

Ann Brownell: “It wasn’t that I decided. It was that my church family helped me decide that that was the better way to go.”

Cambrian Park United Methodist Church started the Amanda Network with Ann to help schools and policy-makers address bullying.

Church group meeting: “One thing we’ve already won in this situation is more awareness.”

Through cell phones and social networking, students can be bullied 24-7.

Velia Barahona: “People don’t realize the damage that they do to other people, and they may say, ‘Oh it was just a joke.’”

Ann Brownell: “Nothing happened to the girls that did the bullying. The school never did anything. The parents never talked to us.”

Amanda’s suicide note said no one would remember her name. She was wrong.

Teen hugs Ann: “Your daughter is very proud of you.”

After every talk, young people tell Ann…

Student to Ann: “ Hey, I think that took a lot of courage for you.”

… that she is making a difference.

Ann Brownell: “At least I need to believe that I am. And I know that other kids, from sharing Amanda’s story or another story that they know, will help prevent somebody else from doing what she did.”

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For more information on the Amanda Network, contact Cambrian Park United Methodist Church at 408-377-8155.

SafeYouth.org estimates almost 30% of youth in the United States (or over 5.7 million) are involved in bullying as either a bully, a target of bullying, or both.

Posted: May 7, 2010