Locust Grove teen stands up to cyberbullies, responds to cruel picture spread on social media

LOCUST GROVE -- A young girl from Locust Grove is crushed after finding out a picture of her with a humiliating caption was passed around the school. 

The photo makes fun of the 14-year-old’s appearance. 

Mary Thompson is a freshman at Locust Grove High School. She found herself at the center of a cruel joke spread on the popular app, Snapchat. 

“I cried myself to sleep the night I found out,” Thompson said.

The young girl felt victimized by the tactless photo, taken without her knowledge while riding the bus home from school. 

“I was shocked because I’ve never done anything to the person that posted it,” Thompson said.

In fact, she said the two have never spoke. Thompson’s only interaction with the person who made fun of her was an incident where he left his wallet on the bus. She kindly returned it.

The photo at the center of the controversy has been making the rounds since early January. The caption reads “I didn't know water buffalo were allowed to ride the bus.”

“I was like, oh my gosh people are going to give me a new nickname... the water buffalo,” Thompson said.

She was not even aware of the photo’s existence until last week. 

“Somebody I don’t really talk to stood up and said, hey Mary this has been going around,” Thompson recalled.

Faced with the picture, Thompson said her heart shattered.

“It made me like kind of lose hope in humanity,” she said.

Thompson reported the photo to the school and took to social media. She wrote “Cyber bullying... its not right... it doesn't make you look better as a person to put others down.”

The response to her post, shared with the photo in question, was overwhelming. Messages flooded her inbox from friends and strangers across the country.

“I got multiple messages saying that I’m beautiful,” Thompson said.

The person responsible for the ill-intended photo began to receive threats for his cruelty, something Thompson disagrees with. 

“Just stop it,” she said. “That’s not what I meant to send out at all.”

Her message is for those also falling victim to cyberbullies. 

“Even if you are getting bullied, it always gets better… you don’t ever need to lose hope.”

Thompson suggests speaking up and holding your head high.

“My heart went from being sad to being, like, overflowing with joy,” she said.

She adds to be strong, because it will get better. 

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