Cape Girardeau Co. kids take part in anti-bullying video

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - A group of kids from Jackson and Cape Girardeau are taking a stand against bullying.

Members of the group shared their thoughts about bullying and how it's impacted them in a video that's getting a lot of attention online.

The video was part of an anti-bullying campaign designed to help combat bullying.

Three small companies from Jackson and Cape Girardeau, Missouri came together to try to help get the word out that this needs to stop and to get people to think about people's actions.

The video is called Shades of Blue. It was made between Lauren Ashley Photography, Between the Scenes Studios for the Performing & Visual Arts and Cannon Cove Studios.

We talked with Lauren Ashley Photography Owner Ashley Irey about why she decided to share this video.

"I don't remember much from my high schools years but I remember watching a girl get bullied and even pushed down the stairs," Irey said. "I can see exactly the details of that day. So I know it's affected me enough that I can still see it in my mind so many years later."

Irey has children of her own and feels this message is important, not only for her own children but for everyone.

"I wanted to make a difference in their lives," Irey said. "A lot of it stems from my children and I wanted them to see me doing something."

Irey decided to make a video to combat bullying. So she asked for children to volunteer their time. And she got more messages that she could handle.

"I had 50 to 100 people!" Irey exclaimed. "I couldn't even keep up with getting back with people. I did not realize how much it affected people around us, just here in Jackson and Cape."

Irey, along with her help from the other two companies, went out and shot the video and interviewed the children. Interviews which opened everyone's eyes to how the children are getting treated.

"I heard stories, when we did the interviews, made me sick and made me cry," Irey said. "A little idea just grew and grew and went from this might be a good thing to do to a very personal thing."

"People call other people names and be mean to them," Alyssa, a child said on the video.

"Some people might think that it's only verbal and physical," Fiona, a child said in the video. "But if people start rumors then, its verbal, but it's also social."

"An individual mentioned that they were bringing needles on the school bus and stabbing this kid," Cannon Cove Studios Owner Michael Toeniskoetter said. "I've experienced bullying as a child in school but understanding that and knowing that really opened up my eyes."

Toeniskoetter said they even included statistics in the video they got from the main website.

"Reading those statistics were eye opening and hearing the stories from kids were really heartbreaking because some of them had some really sad ones," Toeniskoetter said.

Tamara Holt-Roth, Co-owner of Between the Scenes Studios, said they see many children when they have classes there at the studio. Holt-Roth said some of children's behavior is different after being bullied.

"We see it first hand," Holt-Roth said. "We're here when they come upstairs and they want to talk or they don't want to talk. We see the pain in their eyes and how it actually affects their everyday life."

Hevan Leon, Co-Owner of Between the Scenes Studios, said it is hard to go through. She also added that it's hard for many to find a voice until this video.

"It's crazy," Leon said. "It was very therapeutic for the kids. I see it in a daily basis. They talk about the Shades of Blue. Their a little but different now that they've filmed it."

"This video has given them the opportunity to have a voice. That they wouldn't have in that situation being affected by that," Holt-Roth said. "It gives them a voice and allows that voice to be heard over a wide area."

Irey didn't think her video she posted would generate thousands of views but it has over 6,000 views in just a couple days time.

"The more people who see it I hope will nothing else just put a thought in the back of their mind to be like, 'If I witness this then I have the tools to change someone's day or someone's life," Irey said.

"Just be nice to them. Show them the person that you're striving to be," Layton, a child in the video said. "If you're nice to them and you're having a good effect on them and be nice to them then over time that will start to rub off on them."

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