Chicago students` film sheds light on bullying epidemic - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Chicago students` film sheds light on bullying epidemic

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some Chicago high school students have put together a documentary that's creating a lot of buzz.

One in seven school age children have been bullied or have admitted to being a bully, so the seniors at Percy Julian wanted to bring attention to this epidemic. The documentary features one of their former classmates, Olivia Moody.

It was a Sunday afternoon in 2011 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas when Olivia Moody from Chicago, made a life-changing decision. Moody was fed up with being bullied and ready to put a halt to the harassment.

"She would make all kinds of negative comments, like calling me out my name and stuff and basically saying she wanted to fight me and whatever," Moody says of the bullying.

It was seconds after a fight with a group of girls that Olivia Moody ran to her apartment, grabbed a gun and fired a single shot that hit one of the eight girls attacking her.

"I see she got a hole in her chest and I'm like dang, I just shot her and so now I'm looking around and ain't nobody around," Moody describes. "And I'm looking like, dang, what do I need to do? Cuz it's like…it clicked, it just got real."

The senseless altercation was over a young man, Moody's ex-boyfriend. She told police that she had been bullied for months and just couldn't take it.

The 21-year-old mother of two that Moody shot later died.

After Moody later said she reacted to the bullying by keeping all her feelings in, two seniors at Percy Julian High School created a documentary on the very topic titled: "What Happened to Olivia Moody: Bullied Not Broken."

The documentary focuses on a girl who claims she'd been suffering in silence, bullied by a number of girls since grammar school through her high school years.

During a jail house interview with senior Bieanna Davis, Moody says she had a mad moment and didn't even know the girl she fought and killed.

"I didn't come to Arkansas to be going to jail," Moody says. "I came down here to make a life for myself and it's like it all got messed up."

Olivia Moody was charged with second degree murder during her senior year of college at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. She was found guilty and her 30-year sentence was handed down less than a week after she graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice.

Instead of sending out resumes, Moody will be part of Arkansas "Field Squared"--inmates who spend the day picking okra, beans and squash.

While Moody says she was bullied, Arkansas police told reporters that a police report was never filed. During the trial, the judge told the honor student because of her major, she should have known better.

"If people actually look into it and understand the facts of the case and understand both sides of the story, I think I would go home," she says.

Moody is from Chicago's Roseland neighborhood. Her mother was addicted to drugs, so her grandmother raised her and her siblings. She thought living in the south was an escape from the bullets in her neighborhood and the bullying she had been secretly dealing with.

"I was doing good," Moody explains. "I had just started working at the circuit courthouse, so I thought I was on the road to a good life."

Moody graduated with honors from Percy Julian High School in 2008.

When journalism students Mary Gentry and Bieanna Davis heard Moody's story, they wanted to do something to stop bullying and show their classmates why it's important to report being bullied.

"Bullying is never okay," Gentry says of creating the documentary. "They think it's something minor. We want people to realize that putting someone down doesn't make you a bigger person and that's a really big issue. People are just so bold and want to be the bigger person but it really makes them small."

It took the students five months to put the story together. They conducted the interviews with Moody and her family and spent hours doing research and editing. Now, because of the class project, they're sharing the bullying facts with their friends.

"I believe she just got fed up and didn't know what to do and this just happened all at one time," Davis says.

Kim Saunders is the TV/radio teacher at Julian. She's proud of the documentary and just this week, CPS recognized Olivia Moody's story. The students also received an award.

"We really as adults, as teenagers, agencies, schools systems, we really need to do something about it because kids are killing themselves and are scared to go to school because they're being bullied," Saunders says. "And that's just not the way this country was intended to treat our children."

Olivia Moody is appealing the verdict.

The victim's family told reporters in Pine Bluff, Arkansas that their loved one was not a bully and never even met Olivia Moody. They say she was only there the day of the shooting to help her friend.

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