A Longwood High School student who was suspended for publishing an anti-bullying video on YouTube will face a school hearing that is scheduled for Wednesday.
Jessica Barba, 15, and her parents appeared on the Today show Wednesday morning, explaining to a national audience that the teen never thought a video promoting bullying awareness would cause such an uproar, despite the heartbreaking conclusion.
“I don’t understand why I’m being punished for it,” Barba told Matt Lauer.
The video was part of a class project, according to the family. It ended with a fictitious character committing suicide as a result of persistent bullying.
Her father said he felt that the suspension was “extensive,” adding that he believes his daughter should be allowed to go back to school and hand in the project.
“All I expect is her to be able to go back to school,” her father said. “Erase the suspension because it was a mistake and be able to turn in the project. This is a great project. Thousands of people love it.”
The school reportedly suspended Barba because it caused a disruption at school.
Longwood Central School District released a statement saying it is unable to comment on any matter that involves students.
A Suffolk County police spokeswoman said there’s nothing criminal about the video and the phony Facebook page Barba created as part of the video.
The school stepped in after a concerned parent printed out comments on the fictitious Facebook page and turned it over to the school.
According to the teen’s family, the parent missed a note near the bottom of the page that explains it is a fake.
When Barba’s mom printed out the disclaimer and brought it to Longwood High School, she said the school “didn’t care too much about that.”
“I’m very proud of the things she’s done here,” her father added.