MacHugh, 24, now a social worker herself in her native New Jersey, has written a book, "Ugly: The Story of a Bullied Girl." She believes that children have to be taught empathy -- and it has to begin very young.
"It's a tough thing to try to instill (empathy) at 15 years old," she says. Moreover, she says, she'd like to cut down on Internet anonymity. "It's cowardly and pathetic to go online and pretend to be someone else just to say hurtful things," she says. "If you have a problem with me, call me (directly)."
Adds Tina Meier, "If you're an empathetic person, and you truly do care about what other people go through, you're more likely to step up to have some sort of understanding and sympathy for a person who's struggling. You're not as prone to jump into the mix of something when other people are jumping on that person."
She knows it's hard.
"I think our world is filled with so much stress and so much pressure that sometimes people are on the edge of just exploding, and when they find an opportunity to lash out, and they feel there's justification, they feel I'm standing up for that person," she says.
"At the end of the day I realize we can't save the world," she adds. "The way we make our mark is doing one school, one community, one parent group, one area at a time to truly hope it has that ripple effect."