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Longwood HS Teen Back in School After Suspension

Jessica Barba suspended

Jessica Barba on 'Today' show (Photo credit: 'Today')

The Longwood High School student who was suspended for a fictitious anti-bullying video published on YouTube has been allowed back in school.

Jessica Barba, 15, met with school officials early Thursday morning where she learned that her suspension was lifted and that her record would be wiped clean.


Citing student’s right privacy laws, the Longwood Central School District has yet to fully explain why the teen was punished. Barba was reportedly suspended because the video — which she made as part of a class project — caused a disruption at school.

District Superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer released a statement following Barba’s meeting with school officials. “The matter has been thoroughly investigated and dealt with following our normal district procedures,” the statement read. “Our protocols are clearly outlined in our code of conduct, which is communicated annually to students, families and staff.”

The statement neither mentioned the student by name nor specifically addressed the incident.

Barba’s suspension caused an uproar around the community since it came to light, with much of the criticism directed at the school. Gerstenlauer expressed disappointment in the reaction and coverage of the incident.

“I am very disappointed that Longwood has been portrayed in a manner that does not represent what I know of this district, having been part of the Longwood school community for nearly 40 years,” Gerstenlauer said in the statement.

Barba and her parents appeared on the Today show Wednesday morning, explaining that the video, which ends with a 12-year-old girl committing suicide, was made to raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying.

She also created a fake Facebook page to go along with the video. A concerned parent, who didn’t realize the page was fake, according to the family, printed out comments from the site and notified the school.

“I don’t understand why I’m being punished for it,” Barba said.

Her father told Matt Lauer that the suspension was “extensive” and he just wanted his daughter to go back to school and hand in the project.

“I’m very proud of the things she’s done here,” he added.

The superintendent noted in the statement that the district will continue its efforts “with students, parents and the community to provide a comprehensive character education and anti-bullying program that has begun in our pre-school Head Start programs, and continues in every grade through high school.”

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