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Monday, March 28, 2011

Mother of Bullied Girl Speaks

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By James Lomuscio

Through her mother, Alye Pollack, 13, today extended thanks to the Westport community for the support she has received since posting a YouTube video about being bullied at Bedford Middle School.WestportNow.com Image
Alye Pollack: Mother is “very proud of her.” YouTube video

“She says, ‘Thank you for all your support,’” said Audra Kruk, noting that the video, which today had more than 10,000 views and almost 300 comments, has received notice as far away as Texas, Italy and Australia.

“I’m very proud of her,” the mother told WestportNow about Alye, who is in the eighth grade. “Some of it was for dramatic effect, but it was valid. The biggest statement we can make as a family is that when God is in the midst of things, they explode.”

Alye’s two-minute, 58-second video titled “Words are worse than Sticks and Stones” and posted March 14 has no audio other than haunting music.

Alye, who identifies herself, holds up a series of hand-lettered signs stating she has been a victim of bullying.

“I am bullied,” she writes on the signs. “Not a day has gone by without one of these words Bitch, Whore, Fat, Lesbo, Slut, Freak, Ugly, Weird, Fag.” She adds: “I am in therapy more than my class.”

“She did it 100 percent on her own,” Kruk said, adding that she did not learn about the video until it was posted.

“She’s definitely complained about being bullied, but it was more in the sense of how to deal with it, not, ‘Mom, let’s do something about it.”

She said Alye began being bullied verbally by girls while in the seventh grade. It was then that the mother contacted Bedford’s principal and assistant principals. She said they were receptive and eager to help.

On Friday, Bedford Principal Melissa Kay sent an email to parents which said the school was investigating a recent case of cyber-bullying.

“Today, the school counseling staff and I met with the 8th graders in their teams to remind them of internet safety and consequences of cyber-bullying,” she said. “We encourage parents to have similar discussions at home with your children.”

Kruk added: “There’s definitely been an open dialogue with the schools. People like to blame the schools, but the parents of the kids doing the bullying have to get involved. The one thing I would like to convey is that the schools try a multi-faceted approach.”

Schools, however, can only do so much, she added, since a lot of bullying, particularly cyber-bullying, takes place after school.

“Hopefully, a piece of it can be controlled when it comes to cyber-bullying,”  the mother said.

She noted that since the video surfaced, Alye has faced cyber-bullying.

“The same parents who keep saying. ‘It’s not my kid,’ should watch what’s being posted,” she said.

“We’re still trying to figure out what’s the next step,” Kruk added.

She said that her family moved to Westport from Greenwich three years ago because of its top rated school system.

“We didn’t have any issues when we were there,” she said of the Greenwich school system. “We moved to Westport for the schools. How ironic.”

This story has been updated to use Audra Kruk instead of Audra Pollack as Alye’s mother’s name.

Posted 03/28 at 10:42 PM

Comments:     Comment Policy

Wow, Susan

Posted by Jean Marie Wiesen on March 29, 2011 at 01:59 PM | #

In response to the first comment (Editor’s note: removed at request of poster): as senior girls at Staples High School we understand better than most, the effect that our classmates’ words can have on us. So, thats why 12 other senior girls and myself came up with our own list:

1) As a mother, you should be ashamed that you are attacking a middle
school girl. If you think this is so “tragic” then you shouldn’t be
publicly pointing fingers and worrying about who is at fault for all
this.

2) Does it even matter who bullied who? All that matters is that
someone got hurt. It is actually sad that you care this much to insult
a child…virtually. Get a hobby

3) Why has no one addressed the fact that although this enitre article
seems to be about cyber bullying and its dangers, you are now hiding
behind your computer insulting a 13 year old girl

4) . To the girl who got bullied, in high school it gets better. Everyone hates middle school.

We are aware that bullying takes place everyday in many different
ways, but if it is affecting a student’s life at school, then it
should be addressed at school, not on WestportNow.

xoxo Senior Girls 2011

Posted by Katie Cioe on March 30, 2011 at 07:54 PM | #

I’m proud of the Staples Senior Girls who posted the message above.  It’s a testament of their social graces. 

I will further their point that in older grades that it gets better… it improves even more once you get to college.  As you grow and mature, you find your people - those who are kindred spirits who share in your interests.  One can argue these years will be your most formative.

Posted by Elizabeth Thibault on April 01, 2011 at 12:57 AM | #

I agree, Elizabeth.  These young women showed they’ve tremendous understanding/compassion for the situation that Alye is dealing w/.  Instead of remaining silent, they stepped forward to bolster her courage, all of which I admire greatly.  It gives me comfort to know there’s women out there of this fortitude in the generations to follow us.

To echo Elizabeth, you will find your kindred spirits as you journey through the various stages of life.  And each stage only gets better than the last.

Keep it up, Senior Ladies 2011

Posted by Jean Marie Wiesen on April 01, 2011 at 02:55 PM | #

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