Teen suspended for fake suicide video

15-year-old Jessica Barba got the idea to use social media to create awareness around bullying and teen suicide and got suspended for it. She created a six minute video and a fake Facebook page of a fictional girl named Hailey Bennet, a 12-year-old girl whose mother died when she was 3 years old, grew up being abused by her father and bullied on her Facebook page. Eventually she commits suicide.

When one of the parents of the school saw the profile with messages like "I wanna be dead" she contacted the police and Jessica was hauled before the principal and confronted with printouts of the pages. However, they did not include the disclaimers that she had included on her original page stating that it was fictional.

But despite Jessica's mother trying to show school officials the disclaimers, it did not help the case and Jessica got suspended.

That's a bit much isn't it? Bullying, peer pressure and teen suicide are becoming more common and raising awareness and talking about these issues instead of sweeping them under the carpet is commendable. I don't think she was being irresponsible, she never pretended it was real (YouTube is littered with fake bully/suicide videos).

Should she have been suspended?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24