Plot: Mentor, Ohio seems to be a wonderful town, as it is affluent and often makes the list of best places in America to live, but beneath the veneer of community, a dark undercurrent runs deep. This piece sheds light on Mentor’s issues with bullying in the school system, as well as the total lack of action from school officials or anyone else with influence to end the trend. As if bullying alone isn’t enough, a long history of abuse is found in Mentor’s past and a pattern that led to several deaths, as students killed themselves after repeated instances of abuse. In Mentor, you’ll hear from numerous residents and former students, as well as the families of some of the victims of this systemic abuse.

Entertainment Value: This is a sad piece to watch, as not only has the pattern of abuse present in Mentor tormented generations of students, but no one in power has any interest to take charge and change the situation. While no one from the Mentor school side appears in the piece, we are shown documents that prove little reaction was had by school officials, even as students lost their lives. The lack of direct involvement from the Mentor school system is an issue here, as we are presented with one side of the story, but at least the documents and first hand accounts provide some perspective, even if the school refused to participate. No one at the school wants to stand up and help the students, even after repeated abuse reports and even several dead students, as the school just ignores the problems.

The piece has a tragic narrative that is relayed through school documents and first hand accounts from former students, local residents, legal team members, and the friends and families of some of the victims. To listen to the parents of students who took their own lives in the wake of the abuse is beyond tragic, as even minor effort from the school could have prevented these deaths. As the school refused to comment, it is tough to understand why they’re willing to accept abuse and student suicides, but given the well established patterns of abuse, it is clear they weren’t interested in helping those students being abused. I do think the piece loses some perspective without direct involvement from the school, but since the school won’t lift a finger to prevent deaths, it is no shock they’d refuse to grant interviews. Mentor is a sad, but important documentary that shines a light on one school’s systematic patterns of abuse and how it cost the lives of several students.

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