- Freezing rain
ROSS, Ohio - Courtneylyn likes taking pictures and shooting videos.
"Everyone thinks I'm a happy person because I'm always helping people and and I'm always making people smile," she says.
But for this Ross High School senior, that image was a facade.
"People find it so cool to make fun of me and to put me down and make me feel like I'm not worthy of anything," she said in a video she posted Tuesday. In the video she bares a bullied and tortured existence.
"I tried killing myself, but it didn't work," she tells viewers in the video.
Earlier that day, Courtneylyn says she received a text from a classmate, which read, in part, "Why don't you do the world a favor and take a 9mm to your head and pull the trigger...you are a worthless ugly whore and no one wants you."
"I fell to the floor and started crying," she says. "I didn't know why they would tell me that.. but I took it to heart and wanted to kill myself because of it."
The taunts were nothing new.
"People don't care about people's feelings anymore," she said.
She's endured the bullying for five years, coping with the pain by cutting and burning herself and trying repeatedly to end her life.
"I tried hanging myself, I tried overdosing, I cut down a vein," she said.
Each time she was found in time and hospitalized by her parents.
The bullying was invisible, because no one, including Courtneylyn would speak up.
"The name of 'principal' is intimidating to people," she said. "For them to go and spill their guts out on what's happening because they don't think anything's gonna happen."
That's an image Principal Brian Martin wants to change.
He feels everyone needs to be more proactive, including the parents.
"The kids aren't going to like me for saying this, but [parents should] check your kids' cell phones. What kind of text messages are they sending and receiving?"
"Bullying is not tolerated," he said.
Martin says until he saw the video he was unaware of any specific acts of bullying.
He says the school acts whenever they see a problem, but they aren't clairvoyant.
"Parents and teachers just aren't aware," he said.
Courtneylyn's video may change that. Several other bullying victims in her school have rallied to her support. Kids hugged her in the library Wednesday.
"When I posted that, I didn't think anyone was going to see [it]," Courtneylyn said. "I didn't think anyone was going to say anything. And now my Facebook wall is blown up with beautiful, beautiful messages."
The best responses for Courtneylyn came from very unexpected sources.
"I've even had a couple people who have bullied me apologize," she said. "It meant the world to me."
And while Martin was very uncomfortable about Courtneylyn posting just a personal video for the world to see, saying it could actually take a "situation that's already bad and make it much worse," he doesn't argue that this time it took a negative and made it a positive.
"They've really rallied around this cause," Martin said. "I've already been approached by a number of students who want to know what they can do to help."
Martin has asked her to put together an anti-bullying video with the student body, and Courtneylyn feels empowered to stand up to bullies.
"I just decided to make a more positive thing from what I've been through," she said. "I should never give up because I'm not alone and I have many people there for me," she says. "I know that now, and I didn't before."
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