A Tennessee high school student’s anti-bullying video has resulted in nearly 600,000 views on YouTube and a suspension for its creator.
Lebanon High School student Emily Gipson said school administrators accused her of “trying to incite violence” and gave her a two-day in-school suspension for the video titled “Welcome to Lebanon High School,” posted Jan. 22.
In the video, prompted by a classmate’s October suicide, she asks students to treat each other better. It’s a broad indictment of campus culture, but contains neither profanity nor calls for direct action. Among her comments: “We’re expected to come to this emotional prison every day, and we’re expected to forgive the bullies because the authorities are sure they didn’t mean it. Sometimes I wonder how many kids it takes dying to make a difference.”
Principal Scott Walters said he took issue with the fact that the free-verse speech was recorded in a classroom without permission, but Gipson disputed that. Walters also said the video hurt his feelings and those of teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2018 edition of Education Week as Viral Anti-Bullying Video Nets Student Two-Day Suspension