Westport Student Issues YouTube Plea to Bullies

A Bedford Middle School student created a YouTube video in response to the regular bullying she endures.

Editor's note: The embedded video appears to be broken, but the video can be accessed here.

Alye Pollack, a 13-year-old student at Bedford Middle School hears hateful words everyday in Westport schools: ugly, weird, freak, and far worse.

In Australia, one victim's response to bullying has attracted worldwide acclaim after the teen fought back. Pollack, an eighth grader, took a different approach. Her YouTube video, which has already garnered more than 2,000 views, quietly reveals the pain caused by bullying.

Holding up sheets of papers with writing, she reveals the effects bullying has had on her without saying a word.

"Think before you say some of these things. It might save...lives."

"I'm in therapy/guidance more than my classes."

"Will high school get worse????????"

The comments on the video are mostly words of support from strangers and classmates.

"In my video, you will see what I go though everyday, what the result of bullying is or may turn out to be and what is going on in the town of Westport, Connecticut," she told Patch in an email. "No, not just Westport, it is also schools all around the country."

This story was originally published on March 25 at 5:30 a.m.

betty March 26, 2011 at 01:31 PM
I just want to tell you that Jesus loves you and I do too. Even though I don't personally know you, I can feel your pain. I see it in your face and with your unspoken words. Please seek out some good Pastoral counsel from a Bible believing individual....YOU MATTER....sending the love of the Lord Who gave His life for you!!!!!
Joanne March 26, 2011 at 02:14 PM
This video has brought up so many emotions in me as my daughter was also bullied @ Staples High School . You are not alone Alya. I hope Elliott Landon uses this video as a wake up call to all the students and parents in the Westport school system. Such as shame!
Rob Reeves March 26, 2011 at 02:14 PM
Alye, what a strong and beautiful young lady you are. We raised 2 girls and we're as proud of them as your parents are of you. We moved to Westport when my yongest daughter was starting the 2nd semeser of her Junior year at Staples. The first 6 months were hard but she survived and made a few great friends who she cherishs today. Others have said you'll find your niche in HS and they are right. It does get better and I have a college freshman who didn't want to move here and ended up thanking me for the benefts that Staples provided her to prove it. You'll find these benefits. One of these benefits was Ms. Victoria Capozzi in the guidance office. Seek her out now if you don't have that connection at Bedford. I work at the Westport Weston Family Y and we'd love to have you come and spend time with us sharing your love and strength with younger students. You are the type of role model we want to hold up for others to learn from. I will be visiting Mrs. Zadravec's class at Bedford on Monday at 1 PM. Come see me if I can help. When bullying occurs at the Y, and it does everywhere unfortunately, we address it with their parents and make sure it is clear that this can not happen again. We want others to learn from these awful situations. You can help us in that effort. If you are not active in a church or synagoge let someone (or me) help you find a faith community that will welcome you with open arms. Your best defense is that lovely smile. Use it! Rob Reeves
Lorna Rankin March 26, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Alye, you can look in the mirror and see how beautiful you are. When I was in school, I was bullied too. I remember how sad I was. I had a couple of friends -- they were bullied too -- and they turned out to be the best people. When I grew up, I found out that the bullies were even sadder and more messed up than they made me -- and many of them never grew out of it. They were messed up grown-ups as well. Try to rise above it like the angel you are -- the things they are saying about you aren't true and the people who matter know that. Things will get better. Hang in there. Don't let them win by hurting yourself. They are so so so not worth it.
Elinore Carmody March 26, 2011 at 04:55 PM
What a future this young woman has! She has found a creative and heartbreaking method of sharing her voice without uttering a sound. I am rooting for a career in theatrical arts or any form of expression. I do hope she passes through this difficult phase of adolescence without further torture from peers. It's easy to look back as an adult and minimize the emotions of that time. Alye brings it all back quietly, powerfully. Thank you for your courage to stand up and share. It will help not only you but many others.
Eileen March 26, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Amen. You hit the nail on the head, at least as far as Fairfield county! Most residents are nothing but a bunch of spoiled, self absorbed snobs. And...the parents act more like their kids' attorneys than parents. I'll bet if one of the bullies get's hauled in by the principal, the parents will have their attorney there toot sweet. I hate this county and will be out of here as soon as the housing market recovers. Alye...you are beautiful inside and out! You have an amzing smile the illuminates your entire (pretty) face. Try to use it more often. Don't give up!!!
Tom Siebert March 26, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Hello, young Ms. Pollack. I congratulate you. It took guts to make this video and put yourself out there. You've got inner strength, and belief in yourself. It will serve you well throughout your life. I know it might seem lousy right now, but I've got a pretty strong feeling you'll be all right in the long run. I lived 5 years of my life in Connecticut, in a town near Westport, from age 11-15. It was just about the worst years of my life, precisely because I was bullied so badly. For the ten years before and all my high school years after, I lived in New Jersey and had no problem with bullying. I don't know what it is about Connecticut, why there are so many rotten kids there. Maybe their parents' money makes them that way. Any state that would continue to re-elect Joe Lieberman can't be all that swift or compassionate, either, but that's another story. It's looking like your story might be taking off -- I heard about this through Facebook. Maybe soon you'll have enough attention to take your story to the entire country. This is the sort of thing the news channels love. I hope it does, and I hope you make the most of it. As you can tell from all these comments, you've got a ton of people around the country rooting for you. Congratulations on your courage, and good luck in the rest of your life. I salute you.
Betty March 26, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Alye, I went through the exact same thing in that exact same school...all I can say is try to rise above...I went on to have a boatload of friends in high school but Junior High as it was called back then was hell on earth for me. I hope you hang in there because trust me...High Xchool will be very different. Good luck to you...chin up!! :)
Betty March 26, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Wow...the compassion is overwhelming!!!
sixofone March 26, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Dear Alye, You are brave. creative and pretty, honestly! You show a maturity beyond your years. My heart breaks for you. I can assure you things will get better in high school. Older teenagers figure out that it's alright to be yourself, to show differences from everyone else and that life is bigger and more important than doling out hurtful insults. The bullies are insecure, themselves. The only way they feel popular is to put people down. A few words of advice: ~Celebrate those 3 or 4 friends you have. Stick with one another. The bullies will eventually turn on each other.. ~Don't cut. Treat yourself well, with good health and respect . Write in a journal. Exercise. Find laughter in other things. ~Surround yourself with people (of all ages) who are good to you. And be good to them, There is karma in the world, and though you are having to be extremely patient now, that good- friend -karma WILL come back to you. I promise. ~ Be proud of yourself that YOU are not doing the bullying. ~Know that it will get easier in high school, and even easier in college & beyond. In your moments of pain, read these posts. Every one of us who posted on your video CARES about you and wants to see you HAPPY and THRIVING. You have touched each of us, enlightened over 2000 readers, so far & you have created a community here. You are clever and smart and good. Read the posts. And read the posts again. Sending you hugs, A mom in Massachusetts
Tori March 27, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Hang in there Alye-it does get better. I also went to Bedford and I was like you-the kid others picked on. I know it's hard to imagine now, but there is so much more happiness and life out there for you. I wish I could have told my 13 year old self that. You will have friends, fall in love and experience the world in so many ways you can't imagine right now. Making this video shows that you have talent and brains and an ability to think beyond what's immediately happening. Hold on to that.
Rachel Florio-Urso March 27, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Alye, I think you're very strong for posting this video and I hope it lets other kids know they're not alone. I have daughters who attend Staples High School and they can both relate to what you have been put through in one way or the other. I am going to work with our town and with our schools to see to it! I’m starting a “SMILE & PASS IT ON!” movement. I’m sure you will read about it in our local paper soon. Unfortunately, this is not just a Westport problem. It's a national problem and it needs to come to an end! I happen to be a “Celebrity Trend Expert” for T.V. and I would like to invite you to help me with my fun spring segment which goes LIVE on April 16TH for ABC affiliate WTNH (Good Morning Connecticut). Please feel free to contact me (www.rachelfloriopr.com). On air we will be pitching adorable baby and children’s products and a huge tween/teen trend. I would like my teen model to be YOU! I'm launching a new product with the Silly Bandz creator, Robert Croak, and we would love to have you show viewers how cool Silly Bandz bracelets can be on someone as PRETTY as you! “MEAN GIRLS” and “BULLYING BOYS”: The next time you have a nasty comment to say to an innocent person; ask yourself how you would feel if you were the victim! Be bigger and better than your immature friends! Yell, “STOP” if someone is being mean. Be a HERO! There is no greater feeling in the word than being a kind person!
Fairfield Resident March 27, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Bravo for not being afraid to speak out!! Kids who feel the need to bully are not at the "top of the food chain", as they'd like to believe. If they were truly self-confident in their talents, intelligence or looks, they would have no need to spend their time trying to boost their images by bringing someone else's down. Fear not, things will get better and be sure to go to your middle school reunion in ten years or so, when status is measured by successful careers, relationships, family life and contribution to the community and you will be amazed to see who is at the top and who is not!!!
mark March 27, 2011 at 11:51 PM
Dear Alye, You are a brave and a beautiful young lady. Most people would have hid behind a shell. Look at all the love and support you have received. My wife graduated from Bedford Jr.High in 71. It saddens her to hear that the schools she attended in Westport have not changed much over the years.
Vicki Robinson March 28, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Dear Alye: I think you are very brave for speaking out..I think that your video was great..great in a way that parents should take notice and discuss with their child about how hurtful bullying can be. I went to Westport schools and from time to time I had comments because i was a big girl but i was also a tough girl and a tomboy so the comments varied...but i did have many friends too. You will find your group that fits for you..it takes time and I am so sorry that it has taken you awhile to find that group..but enjoy your few frinds that you have..those are the ones that are real. having so many is just can be overwhelming anyway. In High School, there are so many groupd of kids that there will be much more to be introduced from the other middle schools..your not alone. I just hate that kids can be so evil...I am a mom now and I would be very upset if my son was being tormented...there is help out there...I am also a mentor and willing to be of any help if you ever need to reach out to someone who DID grow up in Westport and DID have some irritating classmates...Stay Strong Alye!!
Lisa Tanguay March 28, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Alye, Congratulations on putting this up. Teachers are at fault. They looked away. Dont listen. If they did, they wouldn't let this continue. As I told my daughters, now ages 25 & 27...BE STRONG...As parents, we need to stop this now. Just know that the kids doing this aren't Bullies, their COWARDS. Afraid to look in their own mirror 'cause their lives are in turmoil. Keep up ur continued fight for JUSTICE for ALYE. You are an inspiration to others. God Bless. Lisa from RI.
Laura March 28, 2011 at 01:39 PM
My friend has a daughter who goes to Bedford Middle School and her daughter is being bullied. This was brought to the attention of the PRINCIPAL. His response ? "These girls are mean and it is only going to get worse." It is time to hold these kids responsible for their actions and words.
betty March 28, 2011 at 01:44 PM
I am not supposed to be getting this blog any longer, so why am I?
Susan March 28, 2011 at 02:57 PM
Alye, Cutting is not the answer. It may seem like a relief but ends up being a long spiralling trip into darkness. Never tried but have personal experience nonetheless. You've shown strength of character by posting this video. Stay strong. Talk with your therapist, guidance, trusted friends. The worst is about over. Take your 3 to 4 close friends with you into high school. Really talk with them. Be ready to really listen to them. Find a trusted adult you can go to when things seem too rough. Unfortunately, adults and the school system may say there is a zero tolerance for bullying, but no one seems to know how to deal with it. Take it from someone who has been there, middle school stunk, high school got better. I got even. I didn't care what people thought of me and became friendly with most by senior year. Trust your friends. Trust your parents. Let out your emotions and be yourself. Good luck and be strong.
Carolyn Rotermund March 28, 2011 at 02:58 PM
I don't understand why the Bedford Middle School administrators can't do anything about this???
e katz March 28, 2011 at 11:03 PM
i'd love to see the school hold a bullying assembly. play this video and then address the student body to have any one of them stand up if they have played a role the verbal abuse alye has received. would love to see each punk stand up and take ownership but sadly every single one of them is a coward when it comes right down to it. alye, the one with the strength and courage and ownership is YOU! never give up, never give in. you are so much more than they will ever aspire to be!
Ann Quam March 29, 2011 at 12:22 AM
Alye, I know this is hard. You think it will never get better. Do your parents know what is going on with you at school? Keep going to counseling; it will help you get past the hurt and turn into something beautiful. We live in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and my daughter was horribly bullied in middle school. She was and is a very talented and beautiful girl. Everything was because of jealousy. Every day that she went to school I was so afraid of acid being thrown on her. The mean girls also had mean moms that also openly hated and competed with my daughter. When she transferred to a different high school she came home and said, "Mom, kids like me at my new school." She comes home to visit only at Christmas but she will never get together with her classmates. She will never attend a class reunion. She had to go to counseling too and it has taken her a long time to trust people. She blocked out a lot of her memories from middle school and only remembered the worst parts through couseling. She is very careful about the friends that she picks and she also doesn't let other people walk all over her. She has found the voice she didn't have in middle school and part of high school. She is now 23 years old, a college graduate with a killer resume. She has outpaced her classmates by far. Most of them got pregnant in high school and have kids that are 4-6 years old. The kids in her class have no idea how badly they hurt her.
melody sanchez March 29, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Where are the parents of the bullies?? I believe they must share this responsibility of their kids. I for one take my parent responsibilities seriously and believe it is a direct reflection of bad parents. If you really know your kids you will know how they behave when they leave your home.. I am a strict parent and am proud of it. All children need discipline, how much is up to you after you spend time with your kids. Once you become a parent all the other "fun" takes a back seat to getting your kids thru the toughest part of growing up. To all the parents"MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHO IS DRIVING THE BOAT.....as told to me by Patricia, Headmistress extraodinare
Elizabeth March 29, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Alye- Bullying is everywhere in the schools, workplace and in our government....It is larger than you know!! Many of us have been subject to this cruelty, but remember always- that you have the power to make this end for you and you have taken action.. After my high school daughter viewed your video she responded that the problem today is different. Years ago those of us who experienced bullying could return home to recover, to find love and support but today the bullying continues in our home when we turn on our computers- Perhaps the school's can or should do more to control the behaviors among these students- but ultimately it is all of our responsibility! and Alye you are a testimate to that! You go GIRL!! I sincerely hope that there are bullies reading these comments and have viewed your video- To them I say.."Back off"
Melinda March 29, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Dear Alye, from your video it is plain to see that you are NOT ugly, or fat; and I'm sure you're none of the other nasty names the bullies have called you. You say you only have 3 or 4 friends. As long as they support you that is all you need. No mater what other people say you have to believe in yourself, your own worth, you're own beauty. You matter. I can't imagine the pain you feel. I'm sorry you're going through this. I wish adults and schools could respond better. So many times the bullies fool authorities because they are sneaky about it. Stick with your 3 or 4 friends, don't try to make people like you. You can't change others, only yourself. All you need to change is how you feel about yourself. Feel great and tell yourself every day that you are special and important. Believe the ones who care about you, NOT the ones who want to hurt you. Learn the serenity prayer and say it every time you are scared or stressed: Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Good luck and love...
Nancy March 30, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Ayla, There are few people in this world who have the gift of being able to bring the kind of clarity that you have to this situation.....and you did it all while under duress. Think about that. I believe with all my heart that you are going to pull through this with flying colors in part because of your ability to find a narrow passage through to the other side. On the other side are people who reject nastiness, who embrace love and kindness, and who rejoice in truth and honesty..... I believe you are already almost there.....take heart and keep being that person who puts yourself out there in the name of caring for others. You are loved and you have already immeasurably changed this world to be a better place. Please take care of yourself.....we need people like you in this world.
Darren Seely March 30, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Dear Ayle, First off, I am so sorry you have had to deal with this awful form of abuse from your peers. Secondly, kudos to you for having the courage to make and post this video. My name is Darren and I've been teaching 8th grade English in Massachusetts for the past 9 years. By the way, I grew up in Norwalk and attended private school in New Canaan so I can totally relate to the "Fairfield County" upper class school system and how the "have nots" are treated. I will be showing your video to all of my students tomorrow. I have seen many cases of bullying over my years of teaching and unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse. The fact that cyber-bullying can occur anywhere and at anytime (and difficult to police) has brought the issue to whole new level. This past school year I have seen several cases of kids who have cut themselves, skipped school, lost interest in academics and/or sports & clubs, or just shut down and withdrawn themselves from social interaction unless absolutely necessary. This saddens me. Ayle - be brave and please don't give up. I don't know you, but wish you were one of my students so I could help you through this with more than a comment on this website. From what I can gather from how well you put together this video, and the plethora of supportive comments above, I can tell that you are a good person (probably pretty wicked awesome actually - it's a Massachusetts saying) and are loved by many. Be strong. You are in my thoughts.
Cole Godfrey March 30, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Alye- Keep your head up and know u are fabulous. Kids who bully almost always have something wacky going on in their own lives and they cant always know or stop doing what they do, but you don't have to be part of that. Do your thing girl! Be as cool or wild or smart and lovely as u wanna be & pay NO attention to the freaks that bully. Feel sorry for them, they know not what they do. Make some cool friends and go have fun doing something u are good at & you love. Spend time with good people and just be careful about who you let into your life, only positive folks should surround us :). Always ask your family for help if u need it and never listen to nonsense. Be Fabulous Alye!!! Cole Godfrey
B March 31, 2011 at 04:23 AM
An unbelievable amount of this town's adult residents are so rude, inconsiderate, mean, judgmental (not all, yet a good percentage), and socially its becoming acceptable. Parents need to wake up, and teach their kids that "looks and money" are not everything, they learn by how YOU treat others. Its not OK, in any circumstance to treat anybody the way this girl was treated. Treat others the way, the way you wish to be treated.
casi April 08, 2011 at 10:43 PM
Alye-- I will be your friend!!! Please don't ever hurt yourself over these thoughtless people---You will have the time of your life in high school..


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