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On May 8th, 2013, YouTuber James Smith uploaded a mobile video recording of eighteen-year-old Texas high school student Jeff Bliss being removed from his world history class. In the footage, Bliss is seen openly criticizing his teacher Ms. Julie Phung for taking a passive role in lecturing and resorting to class packets and handouts. That same day, at least six different duplicate copies of the video were uploaded to YouTube, with two of them accumulating more than 1.8 million views and 640,000 views in the first 24 hours respectively. The latter upload has been shared on Facebook more than 54,000 times.
On May 8th, the video was posted to Reddit where it earned more than 19,000 upvotes and nearly 3,000 points over all. By the next day, however, all comments had been removed from the post after the disclosure of Bliss’ personal information. Also on May 9th, the video was submitted to the /r/Conspiracy subreddit, claiming it had been deleted from both YouTube and Reddit on multiple occasions. It earned more than 4,500 upvotes, 2,300 points overall and more than 600 comments. Additionally, a number of YouTubers began uploading video responses, resulting in more than 51,000 search results for “re: Jeff Bliss” on YouTube by May 10th.
News Media Coverage
On the evening of May 8th, the video was re-shared on Viral Viral Videos, Gawker, World Star Hip Hop and men’s culture blog EveryJoe, in addition to the websites of two local Texas news stations WFAA and Fox Dallas-Fort Worth. On May 9th, DBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported teacher Julie Phung had been placed on a paid leave and that Bliss had not been reprimanded for his actions. On May 10th, the video was also featured on a number of news sites and internet culture blogs including Yahoo! News, Geekologie, The Blaze, Fark and The Huffington Post, among many others. The same day, an Indiegogo campaign was created by Californian James Johnson to raise money for Bliss to attend college.
Bliss created a Twitter account to try to interact with lawmakers and start discussions about the American education system. In an interview with WFAA (shown below, left), Bliss said someone needed to share these feelings. He noted that he had gained a greater level of respect for education after previously dropping out of high school and wanted to get the most out of his education.
Viral Viral Videos – Student Rebukes Teacher For Her Apathy After Being Kicked Out Of Class
Yahoo! News – High School Student’s Rant About Teacher Goes Viral