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CNN Student News Transcript: November 19, 2007

  • Story Highlights
  • Survey an area of Bangladesh that was devastated by a deadly cyclone
  • Hear what Democratic candidates said at last week's presidential debate
  • Learn about the tragic story of a teenage victim of cyber-harassment
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(CNN Student News) -- November 19, 2007

Quick Guide

Cyclone Sidr - Survey an area of Bangladesh that was devastated by a deadly cyclone.

Democratic Debate - Hear what Democratic candidates said at last week's presidential debate.

MySpace Tragedy - Learn about the tragic story of a teenage victim of cyber-harassment.



Teachers: Please preview today's show, as the third segment deals with the circumstances surrounding a teen suicide.

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It's Monday, and we're happy you're with us as we start off this new week of CNN Student News. Hi, everyone. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Cyclone Sidr

AZUZ: First up, the Asian nation of Bangladesh is trying to recover from a deadly natural disaster. At least 2,000 people have been killed by Cyclone Sidr. The powerful storm slammed into the country's coast late last week, and several days later, officials are still working to determine just how much damage it caused. Dan Rivers has more on the conditions in Bangladesh.


DAN RIVERS, CNN REPORTER: This graphically illustrates the problems facing the international aid organizations and the government: This bridge has been swept away by the force of Cyclone Sidr, and that means getting aid into this devastated area is going to be very difficult indeed. You can see all around me is the rubble of this village that has been very badly destroyed. As you can see over here, people are cooking outside. They are surviving with what they can, with temporary shelters here from the remains of their homes. We talked to one man here who says he's lost his home and his three children who were swept away when those storm surge waters came in. His story is repeated all the way down here; there are hundreds of families on this one riverbank alone who have been forced to camp out. The president of Bangladesh has been here handing out a few bags of rice and some aid for the cameras mostly, but any large scale aid operation has yet to reach this place. Dan Rivers, CNN, Kola Para, southern Bangladesh.


Democratic Debate

AZUZ: Back in the U.S. now, Nevada is holding its Democratic caucuses in just two months. Last Thursday, the Silver State played host to a debate between Democratic presidential candidates. The seven White House hopefuls took to the stage to take on questions on topics like immigration, education and the war in Iraq. Candy Crowley has more on the event.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN REPORTER: No laid back, above-the-fray frontrunner stuff this time.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am happy to be here tonight. And this pantsuit, it's asbestos tonight.

CROWLEY: This time she wasn't gonna get burnt.

CLINTON: I don't mind taking hits on my record on issues. But when somebody starts throwing mud, at least we can hope that it's both accurate and not right out of the Republican playbook.

CROWLEY: If he did not back off, John Edwards at least felt the need to explain.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do believe however that the people are entitled to know that they have choices. There's nothing personal about this.

CROWLEY: They pretty much began where they left off: the bickertons. But then there was a slapdown.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's get to it, folks. The American people don't give a darn about any of this stuff that's going on up here.

CROWLEY: And the noticeably pro-Clinton audience was prone to hiss at some of the tough stuff.

BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, this is the kind of thing that I would expect from Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani, where we start playing with numbers. We start playing with numbers in order to try to make a point.

EDWARDS: Senator Clinton defends the system, takes money from lobbyists, does all those things (audience boos).

CROWLEY: And for the most part, things settled down. They discussed energy, Iran, trade agreements, and regarding Pakistan, whether U.S. national security always trumps human rights concerns.

BILL RICHARDSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We forgot our principles. We said to Musharaff, you know, Musharaff, security is more important than human rights. If I'm president, it's the other way around.

CROWLEY: The big issues were mostly discussed without major disagreement; exception: Dennis Kucinich, who took everybody to task task for switching positions on the war, the Patriot Act and trade with China.

DENNIS KUCINICH (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just imagine what it will be like to have a president of the United States who is right the first time.

CROWLEY: As the frontrunner, Clinton got most of the attention, whether from her critics or the audience.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?

CROWLEY: For the record, Hillary Clinton prefers both. I'm Candy Crowley, CNN, Las Vegas.



AZUZ: Every day, we put together Discussion Questions that are designed to help your students talk about the stories on our show. You can always find them on our Web site, And we especially want to encourage you to use today's questions. They'll help guide the discussion around our next story, which deals with several sensitive topics.

MySpace Tragedy

AZUZ: And teachers, that's why we urge you to preview this segment, which discusses a teenager's suicide. Now, bullying has been around for a long time, and we've probably all seen some form of it: kids getting picked on for what they wear, something they say, sometimes for no reason at all. With social networking sites, bullying has moved online. Gary Tuchman tells us the tragic story of one teen who became the object of this kind of cyber-harassment.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER: What happened here is horrifying. Why it might have happened will leave you incredulous.

TINA MEIER, MOTHER: She was just a good girl.

TUCHMAN: Tina Meier of suburban St. Louis is the mother of Megan Meier, who had lived a challenging childhood.

MEIER: She got bullied in school, and she had big self esteem issues, and she had struggled with depression since she was in the 3rd grade.

TUCHMAN: Megan's mother and father allowed her to set up a MySpace account under their supervision, and said their 13-year-old swooned when she got her first affectionate note ever from a boy named Josh Evans.

MEIER: He thought she was really pretty. Posted on her comments on her pictures. This is beautiful, your eyes are beautiful.

TUCHMAN: For about a month, Josh sent her instant messages saying things like, "Lucky me and lucky u...cause you're my number one." But Megan's mother and father started getting suspicious because, although the notes were not explicit, their parental instinct told them something wasn't right.

MEIER: I did contact the police department. I asked to be transferred to the cybercrimes division to see how I could check to see if this MySpace account is real. Nothing you can do.

TUCHMAN: And then one day....

MEIER: It was a whirlwind. It was Josh saying horrible things to Megan; Megan saying things back to him.

TUCHMAN: Nasty messages from a boy who just a day before meant everything to this lonely girl. One in particular cut deep.

RON MEIER, MEGAN'S FATHER: The world would be better off place without you, and have a EXPLETIVE rest of your life.

TUCHMAN: Megan was distraught beyond words.

MEIER: This is the part I'll never forgive myself for, because she was looking for me to help calm her down like I always did and be there for her. And I was upset with her because I didn't like the language she was using, and I was upset that she didn't listen to me sign off when I told her to. I was aggravated with her and that and told her she knew better. She just said to me, "You're supposed to be my mom, you're supposed to be on my side," and she took off running upstairs.

TUCHMAN: It was too quiet for too long in that upstairs bedroom. Megan was pronounced dead the next day. When Ron Meier came home from the hospital, he wanted to find Josh Evans, let him know what he had done to his little girl. The first place he tried to look was Josh's MySpace page.

RON: He was deleted. The whole Josh Evans no longer existed.

TUCHMAN: A month passed as the Meiers struggled with their grief, seaching for answers why their daughter went to such extremes and who was the boy that drove her there. Then a neighbor told them something stunning: Josh Evans was actually the creation of a mother who lived on the same block as the Meiers, a mother who actually went to Megan's funeral. According to an official police report, that mother acknowledged it, the report saying, "In the months leading up to Meier's daughter's suicide, she instigated and monitored a MySpace account which was created for the sole purpose of communicating with Meier's daughter." The Meiers were told that the other family wanted to find out from Megan why she was having a dispute with their own 13-year-old daughter.

RON: It's as if my daughter killed herself with a gun, and it's as if they loaded the gun for her.

TUCHMAN: We are not reporting the name of the other family to protect the identity of their daughter, but did go to their home to try and get their side of the story.

TUCHMAN: Is anybody home?

TUCHMAN: The woman's father answered the door. In a soft voice, the grandfather said it was sad, but then would not say if he thought the police report was wrong.

TUCHMAN: Have you talked to these people since then?

MEIER: Yes, I have.

TUCHMAN: What have you said to them?

MEIER: Probably things that I can't say on camera.

TUCHMAN: And what did they say back to you?

RON/TINA: Give it a rest. Give it a rest.

TUCHMAN: Now at this point, if you're waiting to hear what law enforcement is doing in an effort to get Megan and her family some justice, you may be waiting forever. The county prosecutors, the county sheriff's office and the FBI say there is no indication whatsoever a crime has been committed. So, there are no plans to do anything legally. After initially telling us they weren't even investigating the case any more, the prosecutor is now telling CNN his office will review the situation. But more than a year has gone by since Megan hanged herself. Tina and Ron Meiers, who have separated partly because of the stress, were told by lawyers it was best to stay quiet. But they no longer are. They are angry and feel they owe it to Megan to speak out.

TUCHMAN: Maybe your story could help the welfare of another child?

RON/TINA: Absolutely. That's what we hope.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, O'Fallon, Missouri.


Your Opinion

AZUZ: Very rough story to hear there. But we want to know what you have to say. What are your thoughts on Megan's story? What do you think about people misrepresenting themselves online, and what are the best ways to respond if you find yourself in that kind of situation? Go to our blog at and leave us a comment with your opinions.



AZUZ: That's where we close things out today. We'll see you tomorrow for more CNN Student News. Thanks for watching, everyone. I'm Carl Azuz. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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