Irish Boy in Chicago Directs Anti-Bullying Video
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
October / November 2016
Dublin-born Chicago middle schooler Jonah Maxwell has tackled the issue of bullying in his school by writing and directing a video on the subject. The Bully, which dramatizes seventh-grader Maxwell’s own experiences, was posted to YouTube in August and brought in over 350,000 views in its first week online.
Maxwell, who moved from Ireland to Chicago with his family at the age of seven, was mocked for his Irish accent by other children at his new school. He also frequently witnessed the bullying of other students. Even after classes ended for the day, the verbal and emotional abuse extended to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
“My dad told me that when he was a kid, the bullying would stop at 3:30pm every day,” the first-time director told WGN Morning News when speaking about the prominence of cyberbullying among classmates. “I told him it’s not like that any more. They can get you 24/7.”
He also stressed that those who allow others to be harassed are scarcely better than the bullies themselves. He asserted, “If you are not part of the solution, you can still be part of the problem.”
The video, which features faceless bullies to represent the anonymity the internet can provide, will be shown in classrooms in Ireland, the U.S. and Australia over the coming months as part of an anti-bullying lesson series. ♦