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Mentor Schools Administrators React To 'Mentor' Documentary Trailer, Media Coverage

Superintendent, principal say documentary only tells one side of the story

Both Mentor Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes and Principal William Wade posted messages online Wednesday, reacting to the trailer for the documentary "Mentor."

The documentary, which is directed by Alix Lambert, is about bullying and teen suicide at Mentor High School.

For the documentary, Lambert interviewed the parents of Eric Mohat and Sladjana Vidovic. Both sets of parents have filed lawsuits against the school district.

They claim the school did not do enough to prevent the bullying of their respective children and that the bullying ultimately led Eric to shoot himself and Sladjana to hang herself out of her bedroom window.

The . The Vidovics' suit is still ongoing in federal court.

"Mentor" is not finished yet, according to Lambert. However, a trailer for the documentary has been on Vimeo since December. However, it garnered more attention after The Plain Dealer wrote a story about it earlier this week.

Hoynes and Wade responded both to the trailer and the resulting media coverage.

Hoynes wrote on the school district's web site:

Many of you in the Mentor Schools community have probably seen the Cleveland Plain Dealer story covering the documentary being produced about alleged bullying at MHS.

While I have not seen the entire documentary, and the PD article indicates it is not yet completed, the trailer reports only one side of the story.

For legal reasons, we have not been able to respond in the media to the allegations being made. In the past, I have asked for your patience when allegations have been made about bullying incidents at MHS.

I now repeat that request as once again strangers appear to be making inaccurate statements about MHS and our students. I feel confident once the facts are able to come out, we will be exonerated from all of these allegations.

Thank you for your continued support of our students. We have a wonderful student body and they are worthy of that support.

Meanwhile, Wade posted on the high school's site:

I know many of you are feeling frustrated over the way our school is being portrayed in the media in regard to a documentary trailer recently released about alleged bullying at Mentor High.

While there is not a lot we can say in response to the media coverage for legal reasons, what I know is that we have a great school, with great students and staff.

It is unfortunate some people are trying to paint us in a bad light. But one thing I know is we will stick together and show our Cardinal Pride.

I encourage all of you to take the high road and deflect this negativity with positivity and kindness. Demonstrate your Cardinal Pride and show everyone how great our school is by continuing to do all the great things we do.

As I said at the beginning of the year: be a good citizen and stand up and speak out. Remember once a cardinal always a cardinal. Have a great morning and stay strong Mentor High!

Mentor High Student Government President Sarah Perry has also responded to the criticism by .

Annmarie LoCurto March 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I was friends with Eric Mohat. I remember those days, and what happened. That was the year we had 9 fights in one month, we had to have extra security guards in all the locker bays, and someone tried to attack the guard Bill. I was part of organizations, marching band, and still saw my friedns getting bullied every day, in every group, and tried to stand up for it. If you want to say that the Mohats case was thrown out of court, yes it was. But not because the school was protecting him. But because the judge ruled that the school was not responsible for his safety. Don't misrepresent that.
SharEd March 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I don't know the circumstances for the young people or what was troubling them in and out of the school system. When we moved here from Florida, I was thrilled with the way my 2 sons were able to integrate into the huge Mentor school system where we encountered some wonderful music teachers and some really great kids and wonderful music programs for them. In Florida, one of my sons was attacked by a gang in the public school system (after someone stepped on one of the gang member's foot @ a basketball game and they just picked a random "white" kid to beat to a pulp) and he underwent plastic surgery to his face. I think for the size of the Mentor School System, it's safety is exceptional and thousands of kids have a great experience there and those stories should also be heard.
JPops March 30, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Mentor High is a great school. The students were responsible for taking their own lives. With Chardon, people didn't blame the school for what had happend they blamed who was responsible. The bullys need to be held responsible, not Mentor High School. For the rest of the 3,000 students there it was not their fault. No one spoke up about this bullying and that's why they took their own lives. So its very hurtful to the rest of the students because it was not our fault. It was the bullys and the child who took their life. Alix Lambert needs to stop trying to make up a story of how horrible our school is. We are rated excellent and we will remain that way. My heart goes out to the parents that did loose their children, it is such a tradgy. The school in the video wasn't even Mentor High. That is not real footage! Like Mr. Wade had said, "Once a cardnial, always a cardnial"
Diane Faehnrich March 30, 2012 at 02:28 AM
You are correct Annmarie. My son was a student at Shore Jr. High and Mentor High and I lost count of the times that I had to stand up for my son not to the other students but to the teachers that were bulling him.
LS April 16, 2012 at 02:40 AM
How about instead of defending the school system blindly, you look at every situation and circumstance and ask "could they have done more? did they fulfill their duties as administrators and educators?" ITS NOT ABOUT SAVING FACE, ITS ABOUT SAVING LIVES.
dv727 April 26, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Jacqueline Hoynes is a government lifer who makes a significant living spewing scripts prepared by insurance lawyers. To call Hoynes a loser would be an insult to real losers.
CC September 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I live in Mentor and pulled my kids out of Mentor. I don't think it's an "excellent" school system. Every school has their own set of problems, but Mentor has more. It's too crowded.
Gail Gardner October 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM
The facts speak for themselves. Students are dying and the primary goal appears to be maintaining the reputation of the school rather than preventing bullying, ending the torment the victims endure, and especially more unnecessary deaths. JPops is doing what bullies always do: blaming the victim. We condition people to be passive and do what they're told and then are surprised when sensitive children do what aggressive kids tell them to do and kill themselves. What we should be doing is teaching them to think for themselves and stop letting bullies walk all over anyone who is weaker. The solution is to make bullying unacceptable by having the spectators defend those being attacked. Our entire system from education to law enforcement to government to the judiciary protects the aggressors and blames the victims. It is about time we change that.

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