LEBANON, Tenn. — A Lebanon High School student was punished by the school’s principal after a posting an anti-bullying video on YouTube that went viral.
WSMV reports that Emily Gipson, a junior at Lebanon High School, says she was motivated to speak out after her classmate, 15-year-old Allie Johnson committed suicide in October.
Johnson’s friends told News 4 she was bullied before she died.
“I’ve seen problems with bullying, problems with bullying not being dealt with, and I feel like some things are just put aside,” Gipson told News 4.
“It’s not just about Lebanon,” Gipson explained. “It’s about everywhere because everywhere does have these problems. Anywhere I can make a difference I’d love to.”
The 5-minute video was posted to YouTube last week and already has more than 550,000 views.
In it, Gipson calls on her peers to respect each other.
“Welcome to Lebanon High School, where you come to be analyzed from head-to-toe every day by people you don’t even know,” Gipson says in the video.
Gipson told News 4 she’s received hundreds of messages of support from young people around the U.S. One girl even said she was going to commit suicide but changed her mind when she watched the video.
“You have made a difference,” the message read. “You saved my life.”
Gipson recorded the video in an LHS classroom after school, an act she received two days of in-school suspension after it went viral.
Principal Scott Walters tells News 4 the punishment was not related to her message, but rather for being in a classroom after hours without permission.
Gipson said she has no regrets.
“If that’s what it takes to make a difference that’s what I’m going to do,” Gipson said. “Because a difference needs to be made.”