O'Reilly Talks with a Victim of Internet Bullying

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Mar. 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O’REILLY, HOST: "Personal story" segment Thursday. I’ve been telling you that the Internet has changed everything for American children. Not only are they subjected to depraved behavior and predators in chatrooms, but their peers can ruin them on the Net by posting defamation (search) and libel.

Joining us now from Flint, Michigan (search) is 14-year-old Heather Simpson, an eighth grader who was viciously attacked on the Net. Her mother, Sue, is also joining us.

All right, Heather, I read about you in People magazine. I’m very sorry you had to go through this. In fact, I’m going to send you my book "The O’Reilly Factor for Kids" (search), because I got a whole chapter on this deal. Why don’t you tell everybody around the world what exactly they were saying about you on the Internet?

HEATHER SIMPSON, VICTIM OF CYBER BULLIES: Like I’d get on the Internet. And people would talk to me on instant messenger and they’d tell me rumors they’ve heard these girls spread, like they would forward an e- mails, really, really nasty, nasty things to people. They’d just make up really gross stuff. And they’d call me really, really horrible names.

O’REILLY: Yes. And a lot of it was sexual. They’d say Heather does this. Heather does that.


O’REILLY: Heather is this. Heather is that. So how long was this going on? And how many girls — it was girls that were doing this to you, correct?

H. SIMPSON: Yes. Since fifth grade.

O’REILLY: How many girls and how long was it going on?

H. SIMPSON: Maybe about seven girls and it’s been going on for about four years since I was in fifth grade.

O’REILLY: Four years. How did that affect you, Heather?

H. SIMPSON: At first I was kind of shocked because I used to be friends with these girls, and I’m the one that actually got these girls to be friends with each other. And they kind of turned on me for some reason and I was really shocked. It made me really upset. I would get physically sick and my grades declined starting this year really bad.

O’REILLY: Obviously you didn’t want to go to school and other kids in the school were asking about the stuff, right?

H. SIMPSON: Right. I definitely did not want to go to school.

O’REILLY: Mrs. Simpson, when you confronted the principal with the problem, what did he say to you?

SUE SIMPSON, MOTHER: Well, when I had approached the school way back in fifth grade, they more or less said that it is taking place outside of school. So they don’t really have any control over it. But this time they did talk about allowing Heather to go get her lunch like ahead of the other kids and eat her lunch like in the drama class or in the principal’s office so she wouldn’t have to be around the kids.

O’REILLY: That doesn’t seem to solve the problem. They didn’t take any action against the seven girls who were torturing Heather. What did they say about that? Why didn’t they take action?

S. SIMPSON: Because I guess they just think that they don’t have control over what doesn’t occur in the school.

O’REILLY: But it was occurring in the school. This kind of stuff was brought into the school and Heather was confronted with it. Do you have an attorney, madam?


O’REILLY: OK. Well, we will get you one. Because you should sue the school and sue these girls, because Heather has to be protected from this kind of stuff. She is an American citizen. This is defamation and libel per se. We will get you a pro bono attorney in Michigan to help you out. Now you took Heather out of the school and put her in a Christian private school. Is that a better situation?

S. SIMPSON: Absolutely.

O’REILLY: Heather, is that a better situation for you?

H. SIMPSON: Oh, yes. Everyone is really, really nice there. It’s very strict. You’re not allowed to do anything like along the lines of bullying. They will do something about it, unlike public schools.

O’REILLY: All right. This is a cautionary tale for all parents and students. You can’t let this stuff go. This is a crime. Heather shouldn’t have to have her childhood interrupted because of this vicious stuff and the school is a disgrace, Cassidy Middle School. So we will get in touch you. We will get you a lawyer. They will help you if you want. It’s up to you, Mrs. Simpson. But man, I would do it.

S. SIMPSON: Bill, actually, Cassidy Middle School is going to do something about the bullying in the school system.

O’REILLY: Too late.


O’REILLY: Too late, Mrs. Simpson. It went on for four years. Heather should be compensated. We appreciate you guys coming on and we’ll follow up on this story.

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