November 26, 2014

Elyria
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Young DJ spinning beats to defeat bullies

LAGRANGE — Kids can bully for all kind of reasons — even jealousy.

Alex Angelo, aka DJ Beatboy, performs for sixth-graders Thursday during an anti-bullying program at Keystone Middle School. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Just ask 12-year-old Alex Angelo “DJ Beatboy” Gutierrez, who has opened for the likes of Justin Bieber, Austin Mahone and Sean Kingston.

The sixth-grader from Brecksville Middle School sings, dances and spins the tunes. But he still gets teased by classmates who want to bring him down.

“I think they’re jealous,” Alex said. “When the haters get on me, I say to myself, ‘Not everybody has to like me.’ ”

Alex addressed bullying in a video on his website, alexangelo.com.

That brought him to the attention of guidance counselor Kirsten Lazard at Keystone Middle School.

She convinced the PTA to bring Alex to Keystone on Thursday afternoon to liven up a frank discussion of how bullying affects others.

The program was ultra-cool to 130 sixth-graders at Keystone.

Kids who swore they wouldn’t dance were soon bouncing up and down. And it seemed like everyone had a story to tell about bullying.

Emily Yates, 12, said she remembers comforting a special friend when the girl was called “pepperoni face” because of a few blemishes.

Micaela Jackson, 12, remembers when another girl was mocked because of her weight.

“She was really upset,” Micaela said. “She almost cried.”

Kayden Williams, 12, said he’s been bullied about the clothes he wears.

“It hurts,” Kayden said. “Everyone needs to be respected.”

Isaac Darnell, 12, said the topic of bullying hit home because he’s often teased about being short. Isaac, who likes to play basketball, said he takes it in stride.

“I don’t care what my height is,” he said.

Bailey Zorn, 12, said he learned a lesson about teasing after other kids mocked him for his red hair.

“It hurt,” Bailey said. “I try not to hurt other people’s feelings.”

Another student, Tony Affleck, 12, said “You should always be yourself” no matter what anyone else said.

After his gig at Keystone, Alex, an honor student at Brecksville and a member of the kids’ dance group the Cavalittles, said he really had a good time.

“I had a lot of fun,” he said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.