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Teen Suspended for Fake Suicide in Anti-Bully Video

Class project gets stunned teen bounced

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted May 24, 2012 12:30 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A Long Island teenager was stunned when school officials suspended her for creating an anti-bullying video that featured a fictional character who commits suicide. Jessica Barba, 15, wrote, filmed, and acted in the six-minute video for a class project. In the video, she plays a character who's bullied by classmates. The film ends with a caption that the character has committed suicide. When she was called into the principal's office, she expected to be praised for her work; instead she was suspended for five days, reports the New York Daily News. "I started hysterically crying. I couldn’t believe I was getting in trouble for something I had worked so hard on. And the only intent of it was good," Jessica told WNBC-TV. Her film is clearly marked as "fiction."

Jessica also created a Facebook page featuring her character, which was also labeled as fictional. But an alarmed parent contacted the school, which took down the page (after Jessica said she was pressured to turn over her password) and suspended Jessica. The superintendent of the Longwood school district said the video "created a substantial disruption to the school." Jessica's dad, Michael Barba, said he's proud of his daughter and is fighting the suspension at a hearing today, reports Newsday.

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