COPPERAS COVE (April 9, 2012) -- A local high school student created an anti-bullying video inspired by his own experience as a victim of bullies.
Throughout elementary and middle school, Austin Barker, a Copperas Cove High School senior, was a victim of bullying.
"I went through terrible stuff. They would beat me up; they would do terrible things to me. They would shoot me with bb guns. They would just tear me down emotionally," remembered Barker.
His mother, Krista Barker, was also afraid for her son, "It scared me and I was upset and felt helpless. There was nothing I could do. You can't call the cops on a 15 year old for giving your kid a wedgie."
"I really just kinda had to stick through it and just kind of wait for a better day," Austin added.
The bullying subsided when Austin got to high school where he got involved in the theater and broadcast journalism programs, igniting his passion for film making. He gained a reputation for making funny videos for the school television station.
Then a few months ago, a teacher involved with the school anti-bullying program approached Austin with a short film contest limited to a subject he was all-too-familiar with.
"She just said, hey, we have this contest and we need to make a short film on bullying. Do you have any ideas for maybe a movie on bullying, and I was just like, actually, I do," said Barker.
In a few weeks he shot and edited the film and entered it in the "Great American No Bull Challenge," a student video competition designed to help stop bullying.
Barker explained about his video, "What the film says is that you may not realize it but you could be hurting someone right now and not even know it."
He says he hopes his video will win the competition, but that his main goal is to get people thinking about the consequences of their words and actions.
When his project was screened to the students of Copperas Cove High, Barker said the response was enthusiastic, "I broadcasted the full movie to the entire school and the support for it just took off." He continued, "They really loved it and it really affected them in the way I really wanted to affect them."
His mother says she couldn't be more proud, "I'm very proud of him because what he went through was very traumatic and very debilitating emotionally and he rose above it."
The winner of the No Bull Challenge will receive $10,000 and a chance to go to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
To see his film "The Formula" and vote for it in the competition, click on the link below.