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Dr. Phil’s bullying series includes local girl’s ordeal

Published: Thu, October 7, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Kristine Gill



A township student and her mother will appear on today’s episode of “Dr. Phil” to address teen bullying.

Toni Genovese said her daughter Dara, 12, has been the subject of relentless bullying while attending Glenwood Middle School.

Phil McGraw is a clinical psychologist whose NBC-TV show has addressed a range of issues since its start in 2002. Such topics have included unhappy marriages, weight loss, raising unruly children and dysfunctional families.

Genovese said the episode was taped in August and will air this week as part of a series on bullying.

Genovese said her daughter has experienced name-calling and death threats from classmates for six years. When things became too intense in parochial school, which Dara attended through fourth grade, she sent her daughter to Glenwood Middle for a fresh start.

“At first, I was thinking things like, ‘Maybe my child is too sensitive; maybe she doesn’t know they’re kidding,’” Genovese said.

When Dara said the same things happened at her new school, Genovese contacted police and school officials.

“I went to the principal, the president of the school board, the superintendent and the police. Then I went to Dr. Phil,” Genovese said. “You can tell by me having to go through all those channels that I never got any help.”

Genovese said the trouble has since spread to the Internet, where Dara has received threatening messages through MySpace, Facebook and instant messaging.

“After I discovered all of this, I took her phone away, I shut the computer down, but that started their [the bullies’] rage,” Genovese said.

Boardman Schools Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said he could not comment on specifics of the Genoveses’ situation.

“It’s inappropriate to discuss any particular one incident,” Lazzeri said. “It’s a violation of students’ rights to comment at all.”

Lazzeri said Boardman schools do address bullying.

“We have a school resource officer here who talks to classes. The topic has been covered with guidance counselors, we have grade-level meetings with the teachers each year, and we have what we refer to as a parent-community engagement committee which looks at nonacademic reasons,” Lazzeri said, adding that the school is developing a bullying program that would address cyber-bullying.

“There’s a number of things we’re doing in the district,” Lazzeri said. “It’s not as if we’re turning a blind eye to it.”

Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols said cases of bullying are sometimes nebulous.

“Ultimately, we have to deal with what’s a crime and what isn’t,” Nichols said. “There’s an awful lot of unpleasantness out there that doesn’t involve criminal activity.”

This summer, McGraw testified at a hearing about students and the Internet conducted by the government’s Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities. During his testimony, McGraw said he receives tens of thousands of letters from students asking for help dealing with cyber bullies, and he cited several instances in which students committed suicide after being bullied online.


Today’s episode of “Dr. Phil” will air at 4 p.m. on NBC, WFMJ TV 21.

Hourlong episodes run Monday through Friday.

For more episodes or a preview of tonight’s show, visit www.drphil.com


1MLC(52 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The school system is suppose to protect children,while in the district's buildings.It is up to the school system to stop the bullying.Trying to stop bullying on your own,will start more trouble.

I think Boardman was 100% wrong and I'm glad it was brought out for the world to see.

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2Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Exactly, the people involved. Including the adult that hears it when it goes on. Too many teachers ignore it and that is when is needs to be addressed. Part of school is teaching kids how to treat people right. And unfortunately, sometimes the teachers are just as bad as the bullies thenselves. Especially at Boardman schools.

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3tang364(1 comment)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Just always remember there are 2 sides to every story.

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4Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The school needs to stop it when it goes on . Stop ignoring it. When a student is under their care they are responsible for the welfare of that child. Anyone who is pro bully is an idiot.

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5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

HEY it is Boardman

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6DOLE2(594 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Six years?? i don't believe this story....anything to get on TV

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7buckeyebear(1 comment)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Seriously?!? The mom gives the kid a computer, allows her to have an IM account at the age of 10, and then she goes on national tv and accuses the school system and the local police for the fact that her child is being harrassed through an adult social network that the mom allows her to use from home. The schools DO NOT allow the students to visit these sites - they are blocked from school computers. Maybe the parents should take the same hint and block these websites from the home computer this child uses.

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8TeresaB(82 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Just noticed the type on Principal... oops


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9seminole(476 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Lazzeri is a puppet, no one in the Boardman school district has any balls to do what is right. They will look the other way until this blows up in their faces. Reasons why: 1) they are collecting paychecks and will not do anything above and beyond what their union contract says they have to (sound familiar, sorta like the police dept?), 2) they allow students to not only bring cell phones to class, but allow then to use them during school hours, 3) the TEACHERS use cell phones during school hours, answer calls DURING CLASS, 4) the district is afraid of the moronic parents that allow their kids to be on Facebook, the same parents that want to whine about events like this even though their kid is not supposed to be allowed to have a Facebook account since she is under the age per Facebook "guidelines". The entire issue goes to two core issues: these jackass parents that have no clue as to what their kids are doing, and a school district that's afraid to step up and make some fricking rules about how things occur in their schools. It's typical Boardman: it's how it looks, not how it is. The relationship between these kids is based at school, that is how they know this girl. Not that she is a neighbor, it's from the school. Based on that the school district has liability and a responsibility to step in. As her parents I would be documenting that fact for the future civil lawsuit that is sure to take place. But, the district will look the other way until this goes bad, then try to cover their a--es. Reap what you sow, fools of the school district. This will come back to haunt you.

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10Courtyaknow(1 comment)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Dara was NOT bullied !! i Attended Glenwood Middle school last year , Dara left St.Charles school last year because she WAS the bully , she spit in peoples faces, Glenwood kids are very nice , i've known them my whole life , & im sure none of them ever bullied her .

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11seminole(476 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Courtyaknow: please, all the Glenwood kids are nice? Typical born-and-bred Boardmanite: we're perfect, our little "nice place to call home" is wonderful, our kids are angels. Look around, take off the blinders, step out of your backyard. Notice anything different today than maybe two years ago? Ten years ago? Even if this kid did get bounced from St. Charles does that make it alright for the Glenwood punks to roll-up on her? Oh right, if they are from a Boardman school then they must be right...

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12scott418(1 comment)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

My wife and I agree with Buckeyebear. How can the school control what goes on with the students at home on thier own time. 11 million in damage then when I was in school in the 80's my damage should of been 110 million. I had red hair hair and was bullied everyday. It made me a better person. Hard to believe bullying helped me in a positive way.

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13beenbullied(1 comment)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

My son is 11 and has never had an IM account and dont have a cell phone. He's still bullied everyday in school. I believe more parents should be involved. I check my 14yr old's and my 17yr olds facebook accounts. I know there log in and passwords on the hot-mails. And I check my 17yr olds phone. I'm not sure that's the point. We as parents can do alot for our children ... IF our children communicate. My daughter was continually harassed by a boy her age this summer. She never once kept the msg the boy was sending her and I could do nothing without it. I really feel for those people who's children take there life for such crap. If only we could somehow get it thru there head how much there life changes after they become adults and how much that bully dont matter anymore. I to was bullied most of my school years. No one took the time to even get to know me for them to even know if I was a bad person. They just took the word of those "popular" kids who said bad things about me. I do believe if we are gonna stop bullies....our children have to not be afraid of retaliation. There needs to be a no retaliation law. Where if someone turns someone in they should not be able to retaliate... and if they do they suffer the consequences.

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