Brutally Bullied: Mother returns to Tucson to share her haunting past

CREATED Feb 23, 2013

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Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Bullying can happen anywhere --- and to anyone. And sometimes it leaves emotional scars that could last a lifetime.

But one Tucson boy's anti-bullying crusade is giving hope -- and inspiration -- to a mother and daughter as far away as Las Vegas.

Two mothers -- two 12-year olds -- strangers -- but for this letter that tells of a haunting past that connects them.

"I've never found out how to let go of my past," said 34-year-old Amy Schaus. She had been brutally bullied while growing up in Tucson. That's why when she saw a KGUN 9 report on Congressman Ron Barber's meeting with 12-year-old author Levi Fallavollita -- to talk about his book on bullying -- she was moved to take action -- putting pen to paper -- and sent a letter to Levi and his mom.

"I called Levi in -- Levi, Levi, I got to read this letter to you. Someone in Las Vegas saw your interview," said Levi's mother, Chantel.

In the letter Amy describes her worst bullying experiences. "In 6th grade, some kids brought dog biscuits to school and two girls held my hands down and they tried to force it in my mouth. And in High school - six kids that I went to High School with beat me up while my neighbor stood and watched," said Amy.

Amy says the kids threatened to kill her if she squealed -- she even tried to commit suicide. And -- as Amy reads the letter next to her 12-year-old daughter Calissa -- she thanks Levi for trying to make a difference and encourages him to keep pushing forward.

"What you're doing is helping people of all ages. To this day I'm learning to let go and forgive. Hopefully, I can now, knowing people like you care," Amy read.

Reporter Valerie Cavazos asked Calissa, "Is it hard to see your mom cry?"  "Yes, she answered, "it is. It's very difficult. It's hard to know that that happened to her and she was one of the kids who couldn't stand up for herself. She didn't know what to do and it haunts her to this day. And I don't like that. She didn't do anything wrong. It's not her fault."

Calissa says Levi has inspired her to launch her own anti-bullying campaign in Las Vegas. "Knowing that he wrote a book makes me know that nothing's impossible. I can do it," she said.

"I was just really happy that my projects being an inspiration to others." said Levi.

And now a friendship is forged between two mothers and two 12 year olds brought together by a haunting past -- determined to help give victims a voice in battling bullies.

Levi is working on his second anti-bullying book. This one contains bullying stories from victims in Tucson and Amy's story will be included.

Meantime, Cngressman Barber told Levi that he's planning to reintroduce anti-bullying legislation this year and if that happens,  he's invited levi to testify before Congress.