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Students bullied for making anti-bullying video

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EAST HADDAM, CT (WFSB) -

Girls, who made a personal bullying video that went viral exclusively told Eyewitness News that the bullying has not stopped at their school.

Three Connecticut girls posted a video to Youtube that depicted the extreme effects of bullying on a victim. Since posted on Youtube, the video has more than 6,000 views.

Two of the girls that made the video attend Nathan Hale Ray High School in East Haddam.

Sophomore Taylor Tanguay said she was moved to make the video after being teased and taunted last year. After the video was posted, she said she got support from her classmates.

"People are more mindful, definitely," said Helen Mendenhall, who was one of the other students in the video.

The girls said at first the school got behind the movement.

"They were telling us that everyone has to work together and everyone has to report things," Mendenhall said.

However, the girls said the meeting that initially started with praise and potential collaboration, quickly crumbled.

Tanguay said the bullying got as worse as the incident last year. Vice principal Steven Strand allegedly told Tanguay, "if the abuse wasn't physical, it doesn't matter."

"He repeatedly said I would never say that," Tanguay said.

Tanguay's mother said she was shocked by the reaction to what was supposed to be a positive meeting about a positive video.

I really thought that the school was going to jump on this video and use it as a tool to really standout and set the bar for the state of Connecticut, and they did the complete opposite," Taylor's mother Stacie Tanguay said.

Eyewitness News reached out to East Haddam Superintendent Dr. Mary Beth Iacobelli wanting to get her reaction to these charges.

"At no time did the principal yell at the girls, to the contrary they were praised for a job well done and assured that the administrators agreed with their message," Iacobelli said in a statement to Eyewitness News.

Iacobelli mentioned the principal, but the girls accuse Strand of doing the yelling. Using that meeting as an example, they also accuse the administration of bullying them by dismissing them.

"Who do you go to as children," Taylor Tanguay said. "When the people who are supposed to help you are going against you?"

Iacobelli defends the school's response to how they handle bullying. 

"Every report of mean or bullying behavior is addressed in a serious manner. Identifying "bullying" is a process of a thorough investigation, and the state definition of bullying is used to verify whether the incident was bullying or not," Iacobelli said.

The state defines bullying as a repeated written, verbal, electronic or physical acts that cause harm or fear. These girls, are not seeing it through the state's eyes and wish their school would take the state law to the next level.

"When one person makes another person feel inferior, whether by words or physical actions, one time or twelve times, that's bullying," Taylor Tanguay said.

This is not the first time superintendent Iacobelli has dealt with bullying. She was the vice principal in Meriden and named in the 2002 lawsuit after Daniel Scruggs hanged himself. Scruggs mother cited her as a factor.

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