De Mol: Bullying show judged prematurely

Johnny de Mol, who is co-presenter of the upcoming RTL 5 program Project P: Stop Het Pesten with Dennis Weening, thinks that judgement has been cast over the show too early. "Before it has been seen", he said in RTL Late Night.

In the last few days, the new program that RTL 5 is set to broadcast has come under fire from schools, as it appeared that some of the images for the show were recorded in secret. Several schools have spoken out against the images, and don't want them to be aired.

Johnny de Mol is still adamant that a light needs to be cast on the status of bullying in schools. "When I read the letters from boys and girls who were bullied, tormented, I thought: actually you want to know how it is to be in the someone like that's shoes. Te only way to do that is with those images", Johnny says.

According to him, not a single school enjoyed being confronted with images of their pupils being bullied. But he does say that it helped. "What we especially wanted, was to show the images in class. Modified, so that the culprits weren't recognizable. I have done it three times in a class, that had a big impact. Those classes only realized then that they went too far."

De Mol applauds the children who are taking part in the show. He says they are "brave." "I don't see myself as a sort of therapist, but as a friend who hears the story. We spoke about the risks beforehand. The bullying could have become worse."

One of the reasons that the program is causing tension among schools and parents alike is the worry that it will lead to a worsening of the situation, that children will be bullied even more. That the images were taken in secret is a means that is feared may not have a positive effect.

Cooperative schools for primary and continued education on Rotterdam do not support the format that RTL 5 chose. "It is not the right way. It is too sensitive and complex an issue for this", writes the Fokor, the cooperation bond of school governing boards in a statement.

Secretly taping a student is not a solution, the statement reads. "In the classrooms, there is often more going on that that only one child is being bullied." Schools say that they are tackling the issue with proven methods.



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