Ellen Show hosts Tyler Long's family for "Bully" documentary
CHATSWORTH, GA (WRCB)- Murray County residents David and Tina Long first appeared on Channel 3 in 2009, after the suicide of their son Tyler, who they say had been excessively bullied at school. Soon they'll appear in a new documentary, and Thursday they took their anti-bully crusade to the "Ellen" show, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres in Los Angeles.
The usually jovial mood of the show took on a more somber note, as the Long family opened up about the death of Tyler. David, Tina, and Tyler's twin siblings Troy and Teryn shared their story of regret, loss, and sadness.
Tina Long told Ellen, "A parent can only do so much. You can love them tremendously at home, but you can't go to school with them. In that building something else happens."
Ellen has often used her show as a platform to encourage acceptance and tolerance. She's become a major voice in the anti-bully movement. She said she appreciates the Longs speaking out on their loss.
The Longs told Ellen about the weeks after Tyler's death in 2009, which included a Town Meeting in Chatsworth hosted by WRCB.
The event was attended by documentary filmmaker Lee Hirsch who has made it a major part of his new film "Bully." The Longs felt their story might help others.
David Long told Ellen, "If we could make a difference in one kids life, how could we not do this, how could we not tell our story?"
Tyler's is one of several bullying stories documented in the movie. Some of the teens lived to tell their story, in unflinching, often uncomfortable tones. An unusually emotional Ellen described the film as an opportunity to remind parents that bullying stops at home.
Choking back tears, she told her audience, "You parents have to take responsibility. We're losing too many kids. Tell your children to love other children...to treat them with respect."
Ellen is urging viewers to see "Bully." Children under 17 will need to be accompanied by an adult due to the film's profanity, but she says the message is too important to ignore.
"It's rated R," Ellen said. "We tried to get that changed to PG-13, but couldn't do it. Still, kids need to see this film, they really do."