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Channel 9 special focuses on bullying solutions

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

A Fort Mill, S.C., teen, distraught over cruel treatment from her peers because she was overweight, tells how she tried to commit suicide four times in a WSOC (Channel 9) special at 7 p.m. Thursday, “9 Investigates: Stand Up to Bullying.”

In the hourlong special, the 16-year-old describes her anguish and ultimate salvation.

“She has done a total 180 with her life,” says Kim Holt, WSOC’s senior executive producer for special projects. Now the young woman is about to compete in a pageant using an anti-bullying theme as her platform.

Holt says the special, produced through a partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, addresses concerns parents have over the bullying issue, a longtime social problem with sometimes catastrophic results. “It’s such an important issue, and we hear about it frequently,” she says.

Largely focusing on solutions, the special will offer resources to parents and students. A phone bank will be staffed by CMS experts during the show, and the station will have a resource guide on wsoctv.com for all 22 counties in its coverage area.

WSOC put big resources into the special, which will be hosted by anchors Erica Bryant and Blair Miller from Walter G. Byers Elementary School in north Charlotte. They will be joined there by Natalie Pasquarella, who will be monitoring social media responses to the show. Scott Wickersham will do cut-ins from the phone bank at the station’s North Tryon studios.

Also featured will be reports on bullying by Allison Latos, Peter Daut, Torie Wells and Tenikka Smith.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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