2 Students Charged With A Felony For Bullying

TWO FEMALE STUDENTS  IN FLORIDA, ages 12 and 14, were charged with aggravated stalking (a felony).  The sheriff said they bullied a 12 year old student named Rebecca who committed suicide as a result of the bullying.  On September 9, 2013,Rebecca climbed  a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and jumped to her death.  The accused 14 year old girl is in residential custody until the hearing.  The accused 12 year old girl was released to  her parents but she can’t go back to school until the matter is resolved.  The incident started over a dispute about a boy Rebecca dated for while, but stopped seeing him.   The sheriff said arrests were made after only five weeks because one of the girls arrested made the following Facebook post:  “Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don’t give a (expletive deleted).  The sheriff was concerned that this student still had access to social media after Rebecca’s death.

THE BULLYING TOOK PLACE FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, according to Rebecca’s mother.   It involved both face-to-face and by cyber bullying.  The students urged Rebecca to kill herself and there was one physical fight.  A girl posted an online comment saying Rebecca should “drink bleach and die.” Rebecca’s mother complained to school authorities but the harassment did not stop.  Rebecca changed schools but the harassment continued in the form of cyber bullying.     The sheriff said there are about 15 girls who might be involved in this bullying incident.  He said they ganged up on Rebecca and picked on her through online message boards and texts.  Some of computers and cell phones belonging to these 15 girls were seized as part of the investigation. The sheriff said the two girls charged with a felony were the major culprits.

A SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIAL IN CHARGE OF ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAMS said the school received one formal complaint from Rebecca and her mother about face-to-face bullying not cyber bullying. After law enforcement officers investigated the matter, Rebecca’s schedule was changed.  The official said the school has an extensive anti-bullying campaign and takes reports of bullying seriously.  Rebecca’s mother said school officials should have done more.  They told her Rebecca would  get an escort as she changed classes, but it did not happen.    Florida has a bullying law named after a a teenager who killed himself after being harassed by classmates.  The law was amended in July of 2013 to cover cyber bullying.

 

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