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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Westport YouTube Bullying Girl: ‘It’s So Weird’

UPDATE Alye Pollack, the 13-year-old Westport girl who made a plea for help from bullying in a YouTube video said today she has been overwhelmed by the more than 50,000 views it has received.WestportNow.com Image
Alye Pollack said in her first television interview today since posting her YouTube video that she had expected “like 200 views at most.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo from WTNH-TV

“It’s so weird,” Alye told New Haven’s WTNH-TV in an interview. “I originally thought it would get like 200 views at most. This is just crazy.”

WTNH quoted her as saying the video has helped her cope with bullying and she is glad she did it. So is her mother, Audra Kruk, who also spoke to the television station.

“This is not a type of discussion in most homes,” the mother said, “and I am very excited that today I do believe that at least in our community, it is a topic of discussion.”

Kruk told WestportNow on Monday that she was “very proud” of her daughter, adding: “Some of it was for dramatic effect, but it was valid.” (See WestportNow March 28, 2011)

The WTNH interviews with Alye and her mother followed wide media coverage of her YouTube video on Tuesday and earlier today, even though it was first posted on March 14.

A report on the CBS “The Early Show” broadcast today included an interview with Superintendent Elliott Landon.

He expressed surprise at the video even though Alye’s mother said she had raised the bullying issue with Bedford Middle School administrators earlier.WestportNow.com Image
Audra Kruk, Alye’s mother, told WTNH-TV she was “very excited” that bullying is a topic of discussion in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo from WTNH-TV

“This surprises me and I don’t know why it wasn’t brought to our attention early on,” Landon said.

The CBS report also included an interview with fellow Bedford student Sophia Green who said she had witnessed Alye being subjected to bullying.

“I was on a bus once and people were talking about, like, her headphones and I’m, like, guys, that’s so stupid,” she said. “You just need an excuse to make fun of her.”

Sophia told CBS she slipped an anonymous note into Alye’s locker with a message of support.

“She was really brave for getting through this and like she should just keep holding on,” Sophia said.

But support for Alye was not unanimous among Bedford students.

An email to WestportNow from a Bedford student who asked not to be identified (but whose status as a Bedford student was verified) said many Bedford students resented being portrayed across the nation as bullies.

“Alye’s video has received countless support comments on YouTube, and I would probably do the same if I didn’t personally know Alye,” the email said.

“But, for those who don’t know the truth, Alye is far from the innocent target she is making herself out to be for the media. Alye kind of brought this on herself…She has sometimes made me feel so bad about myself and upset. I feel so uncomfortable being around her.”

The student said Westport was unfairly being dubbed a “Mean Town,” adding: “I just want to throw that portrayal away! Bedford, and Westport overall, is filled with extremely nice people. We are not the bullies Alye calls us.”

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Posted 03/30/11 at 10:21 PM  Permalink



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