CBS NEWS PRESENTS A 48 HOURS SPECIAL ON BULLYING IN THE DIGITAL AGE "BULLYING: WORDS CAN KILL," TO BE BROADCAST ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT)
As a new school year begins across the country, more than 160,000 children will stay home every day because they are afraid of being bullied. That is just one of the startling facts in the CBS News/48 HOURS presentation "Bullying: Words Can Kill." Reported by correspondent Tracy Smith, the program airing Friday, Sept. 16 (8:00 PM, ET/PT) reveals how the explosion in technology is only making bullying worse, as victims cannot find relief from their tormentors in a 24/7 digital world. The report, with links to the CBS News website, will have important new information for parents, educators and legislators about how bullying affects children and how to address it. Plus, viewers can join the conversation online on Facebook and Twitter.
For six months, producers and camera crews were allowed in-depth access to the classrooms, cafeteria and gym at a Rhode Island middle school that is one of the few in the United States that has openly acknowledged it has a bullying problem and has taken action to address it. The 48 HOURS special documents the real lives of students at that particular school, and has the powerful stories of other young people and their families from around the country who have felt the impact of bullying firsthand.
One constantly harassed 13-year-old told Smith, "They got inside my head. They did it because they knew it would hurt." His mother said dropping him off at school was like "sending him off to war." Tragically, more than 150 children have taken their own lives in recent years because they were victims of harassment in school and online.
Among those featured in the broadcast:
Dara Genovese, 13, bullying victim: "If you have ever been bullied, harassed, tortured, which I hope you haven't, let me tell you, it is the worst. I mean, worst feeling ever."
"You're laying in bed and you're just thinking, like... what would it be like if you're not here? Like... would it be better? Or, like, would people be happier - or just - just you wonder, you think a lot of questions."
Johnny Cagno, victim of bullying who attempted suicide at age 14: "When you're tortured every single day, it gets to you. I was very, very scared to go to school every day."
Lisa Cagno, Johnny's mother: "He was hurting himself. He was cutting himself, and he would just (say), 'I hate myself, I don't want to live anymore. I hate my life. Nobody likes me, no one cares about me.' And I just - I would just have to constantly just reassure him. I couldn't get those feelings out of his head."
Cynthia Logan, a parent who lost her daughter because of bullying: "We have principals in our schools and superintendents who don't want to acknowledge the problem. They don't want it to be their problem. I did as much as I could do as a parent, knowing as little as I did."
This broadcast is produced by Deborah Grau and Judy Rybak. The senior producers are Kathleen O'Connell and Paul Ryan, and Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.