The Bully Project


The Bully Project



Serious incidents of school bullying were receiving national attention in 2011. President Barrack Obama held a White House conference on preventing bullying after high profile cases of teenage suicides struck a national nerve.

In Western New York, worried parents of young victims of bullying were concerned that their school districts were not dealing effectively with the issue. A rash of incidents on school buses targeted students as young as six years old.

WIVB-TV Senior Correspondent Rich Newberg reported on young children being tormented and found that school superintendents were reluctant to go on-camera to discuss the issue. Parents said bullies were not being punished, even after repeated incidents were documented.

There was enough pubic interest in the growing problem to warrant a special WIVB-TV presentation. On March 2, 2011, large portions of the 5 and 6 o’clock newscasts were set aside to feature a panel of experts who took calls from concerned viewers. They addressed issues including whether or not a targeted child should fight back.

Parents were also advised to look for signs indicating that their child might be a victim of bullying. It was noted that victims can carry deep emotional scars. There were calls for serious interventions by school districts that had been reluctant to take direct action against known bullies.

The segments ended with high profile celebrities and politicians, including President Obama, offering words of encouragement to those who were being tormented at school. Students were urged not to remain silent and to seek help from those they trust, including parents and teachers.

Legendary Buffalo boxer “Baby Joe” Mesi told a group of public school children that he had been a victim of bullying. The former world heavyweight contender said he built up his self confidence by learning how to box.

“Too often the voice of the victim, the target of the bully, goes unheard,” said WIVB-TV General Manager Chris Musial. He added, “Young people still feel trapped, abused and tormented. We at WIVB-News 4 and CW23-WNLO are committed to digging deeper in our coverage of this important issue. Whether it begins in the schoolyard or school bus, or in cyberspace through online taunting or texting, we will continue our efforts to find solutions that lead to an end of these horrible actions by bullies.”

“The Bully Project” was honored with a national Sigma Delta Chi Public Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.



Date Created



Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (publisher of digital)
WIVB (Television Station : Buffalo, N.Y.)


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