ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A young woman from Newfoundland and Labrador is getting flowers, support and thousands of positive messages for turning a case of online bullying into what her mother calls “something beautiful.”
Lynelle Cantwell, a grade 12 student at Holy Trinity High School outside St. John’s, was named in a poll posted on the website ask.fm called ‘Ugliest Girls in Grade 12.’
Cantwell said she learned about the poll on Tuesday during a math class. She said she, along other girls named in the poll, were initially upset and angry.
“It tore me apart on the inside a little bit,” she said in an interview from her home in Torbay.
Later that day, Cantwell took to social media with a message on Facebook directed at the anonymous bullies.
“I’m sorry that your life is so miserable that you have to try to bring others down,” she wrote.
“I’m funny, nice, kind, down to earth, not judgemental, accepting, helpful and I’m super easy to talk to,” she added. “That’s the same for every other girl on that list that you all put down.
“Just because we don’t look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly.”
The post went viral and has been shared more than 2,500 times as of Thursday afternoon.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” said Lynelle’s mother, Brenda Cantwell. “She’s taken an ugly situation and turned it into something beautiful.”
Cantwell said she’s been overwhelmed by the response, which has included messages from as far away as Alberta. She even had flowers sent to her door.
“It’s all been so positive,” she said. “It’s been amazing…There’s people messaging me telling me I’m beautiful, telling me that I’m an inspiration.”
Cantwell said she feels badly for not only the poll’s creators, but also for the handful of people who voted on it.
“I know that sometimes when you do stuff like this to people it’s because you are either not confident in yourself or you have a bad home life,” she said.
“I’d probably tell them if they need help with anything, with any confidence, that I’m there for them.”
Cantwell said there have been other incidents at her school involving disparaging online polls, and said school officials are trying to address the issue.
She said she’d recommend taking the high road to anyone being bullied online.
“Don’t keep it bundled inside, but be mature about it,” she said. “Always keep the high route and don’t sink to the bully’s standards.”