Viral bullying video sparks conversation, rallies

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Many people in the community are still talking about a viral video that allegedly shows one student bullying another in Sherwood Park in Grand Junction.

On Tuesday morning, kids and adults showed up early in frigid temperatures along 5th Street near Grand Junction High School to show their support for the bullied student and to denounce bullying.

"It really hurt me because that's one of my long-term friends," said Christian Simon, who organized the morning rally. "I've known him for years and to hear him say what he said in the video, kind of hurt me and I want to put a stop to it because I know a lot of kids here feel like that and they shouldn't have to."

The video, which will not be aired because of the subject matter and the age of those in the recording shows two teens in Sherwood Park in an apparent bullying situation. One teenager begins to punch the other. The teen allegedly being bullied walks off and says he wishes to harm himself.

Melissa Arias said she posted the video on Facebook, and it went viral.

"I didn't expect it to go viral," said Arias. "I didn't expect people to make mean comments to the bullied, as well to me, that was something I wasn't really thinking about or expecting because that's not something I condone in nor want."

Thousands of views and hundreds of comments and shares made their rounds through Facebook.

"The fact that he said he was just trying to make friends and he was bullied prior is something that I wanted to make known," said Arias. "People can see real life, raw footage of how somebody feels and how it and affects them."

Arias says bullying is an issue a huge problem at GJHS and around the state, and said she used social media to get the word out and start a conversation.

"I think the reaction of this video is showing that people are fed up with bullying and it needs to stop, and it's going to take all of us to stop it," said Emily Shockely, a spokesperson for Mesa County School District 51.

"It's the way to get anything out there nowadays," said Arias. "Police department, yes they would take it into their own hands, but at the same time does it really get out there to people to actually really see what's happening to these kids and these teenagers."

She wanted that conversation between parents, students and District 51 to help stop bullying.

"I'm hoping that the school itself and the parents will educate their kids, help them understand that bullying is not okay, that it is a problem, and to stick up for kids, to spread the love, not the hate," said Arias.

GJPD said the investigation is still ongoing, but one party has been ticketed. District 51 said they got 13 reports to Safe2Tell, an anonymous app that allows students and parents to report tips about others in crisis.
That was the largest amount of tips officials said they've received for one incident through Safe2Tell in Mesa County. They encourage students to report any suspicious or concerning behavior through the Safe2Tell app.

For more on Safe2Tell, follow the link on the side of the article.

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