15 bullies drive teenager to suicide

15 bullies drive teenager to suicide
Published: 2013 September 14 20:07:15 (8005 Views)
For nearly a year, as many as 15 girls ganged up on 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick and picked on her, authorities say, bombarding her with hateful online messages.

Rebecca couldn't take it anymore.

She changed one of her online screen names to "That Dead Girl." She messaged a boy in North Carolina: "I'm jumping."

And then, on Monday, the Lakeland girl went to an abandoned concrete plant, climbed a tower and hurled herself to her death.

Authorities have seized computers and cellphones from some of the girls as they decide whether to bring charges in what appeared to be the nation's latest deadly cyberbullying case.

The bullying started over a "boyfriend issue" last year at Crystal Lake Middle School, Sheriff Grady Judd said. But he gave no details.

Police said Rebecca was suspended at onFlornt for fighting with a girl who used to be her friend.

Rebecca had been "absolutely terrorized" by the other girls, Judd said.

He said detectives found some of her diaries at her home, and she talked of how depressed she was about the situation.

"Her writings would break your heart," he said.

The case has illustrated, once more, the ways in which youngsters are using the Internet to torment others.

"There is a lot of digital drama. Middle-school kids are horrible to each other, especially girls," said Perry Aftab, a New Jersey-based lawyer and expert on cyberbullying.

Last December, Rebecca was hospitalized for three days after cutting her wrists because of what she said was bullying, according to the sheriff.

Later, after Rebecca complained that she had been pushed in the hallway and that another girl wanted to fight her, Rebecca's mother began home-schooling her in Lakeland, a city of about 100,000 midway between Tampa and Orlando, Judd said.

This fall, Rebecca started at a new school, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, and loved it, Judd said. But the bullying continued online.



"She put on a perfect, happy face. She never told me," Rebecca's mother, Tricia Norman, told the Lakeland Ledger. "I never had a clue. I mean, she told me last year when she was being bullied, but not this year, and I have no idea why."

After Rebecca's suicide, police looked at her computer and found search queries such as "what is overweight for a 13-year-old girl," "how to get blades out of razors," and "how many over-the-counter drugs do you take to die." One of her screensavers also showed Rebecca with her head resting on a railroad track.

Police said that she had met the North Carolina boy at an airport and that they had remained friends online.

The 12-year-old boy didn't tell anyone about the "I'm jumping, I can't take it anymore" message he received from her on Monday morning, shortly before her suicide, authorities said.

Detectives said the other girls' parents have been cooperative.

Florida has a bullying law, but it leaves punishment to schools, not police.

Legal experts said it is difficult to bring charges against someone accused of driving a person to suicide.

"We've had so many suicides that are related to digital harassment. But we also have free-speech laws in this country," Aftab said.

In a review of news articles, The Associated Press found about a dozen suicides in the U.S. since October 2010 that were attributed at least in part to cyberbullying. Aftab said she believes the real number is at least twice that.

In 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier hanged herself in Missouri after she was dumped online by a fictitious teenage boy created in part by an adult neighbour, Lori Drew, authorities said.

A jury found Drew guilty of three federal misdemeanours, but a judge threw out the verdicts and acquitted her.

Florida's law, the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, was named after a teenager who killed himself after being harassed by classmates.

The law was amended July 1 to cover cyberbullying.

David Tirella, a Florida attorney who lobbied for the law and has handled dozens of cyberbullying cases, said law enforcement can also seek more traditional charges.

"The truth is, even without these school bullying laws, there's battery, there's stalking," he said.



Source - NYDaily

Tags: bullying, suicide,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

| Comment With Facebook Submit

There are no comments.

News Big Reads

Bird Box finally unveils unknown monsters

by Metro | 2019 January 06 00:20:32 | 4903 Views

Man in critical condition after 'blowing himself up while trying to raid ATM'

by June Mpofu | 2018 December 11 19:39:39 | 14282 Views

Murder suspect pretending to be mute loses voice from underuse

by June Mpofu | 2018 December 11 19:39:46 | 10481 Views

Harrods accidentally sold £1,000 bags for less than £10

by June Mpofu | 2017 December 16 15:42:54 | 10535 Views

Rapper 'whips out' manhood on Instagram

by June Mpofu | 2017 October 31 08:36:03 | 12269 Views

Woman raped in the street as people walk past

by June Mpofu | 2017 October 27 22:04:42 | 12723 Views

Student who inhaled 360 laughing gas canisters in a week may never walk again

by June Mpofu | 2017 October 20 08:05:52 | 12328 Views

Poet tweets that she was raped by SA musician

by Hope Freedom | 2017 October 07 23:02:51 | 13100 Views

Dog bites off chunk of woman's face

by June Mpofu | 2017 September 23 09:04:56 | 11937 Views

Man jailed after tricking children into abusing young relatives

by Prince Cox | 2017 September 06 08:00:14 | 13384 Views

'I gave lift to a ghost' says taxi driver

by June Mpofu | 2017 September 04 18:39:39 | 28473 Views

Son 'stabbed mum to death and ate her heart with a side of chutney'

by June Mpofu | 2017 September 01 20:10:25 | 14011 Views

'Cannibal tired of eating human flesh' hands himself in

by June Mpofu | 2017 August 24 07:59:37 | 12347 Views

Man cut off pregnant girlfriend's nipples with a pair of scissors

by June Mpofu | 2017 August 20 10:24:38 | 13651 Views

Pregnant woman murdered in 'satanic ritual'

by June Mpofu | 2017 August 20 01:27:16 | 14524 Views

No diplomatic immunity for Grace Mugabe after 'splitting open model's head'

by Hope Freedom | 2017 August 15 08:30:38 | 17400 Views

8-year-old dies after cousin dares her to drink boiling water through straw

by June Mpofu | 2017 August 05 10:10:31 | 14246 Views

Girl, 14, was raped twice in one night by different men

by June Mpofu | 2017 July 29 17:06:36 | 13805 Views

Girl, 10, told she can't have abortion after being raped by uncle

by Hope Freedom | 2017 July 22 16:54:59 | 14292 Views

Obsessive woman chases police car helping boyfriend escape her

by June Mpofu | 2017 July 15 21:27:10 | 11365 Views

Man hijacked while peeing

by June Mpofu | 2017 July 08 10:46:55 | 17762 Views

Disabled woman tied to tractor and beaten to death by mob

by Hope Freedom | 2017 July 03 23:10:47 | 18490 Views

Man spends 5 years renovating boat, it sinks as soon as it goes on water

by June Mpofu | 2017 June 30 22:42:43 | 11269 Views

Woman paralysed after having sex

by June Mpofu | 2017 June 26 21:03:25 | 13788 Views

Woman cuts off boyfriend's privates 'after he refused to marry her'

by Prince Cox | 2017 June 24 20:36:31 | 18555 Views

Cancer patient charged with plotting to kill doctors

by June Mpofu | 2017 June 08 09:57:59 | 12229 Views

Former Premier League star dies after collapsing in training

by June Mpofu | 2017 June 05 18:08:44 | 18679 Views

Mugabe 'will decide who goes to heaven' says Zanu-PF youth leader

by June Mpofu | 2017 June 03 09:04:32 | 12504 Views

Daughter had sex with father to stop him from marrying fiancee

by June Mpofu | 2017 June 01 17:52:29 | 13639 Views

Man splits from wife who raped him as boy

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 31 11:53:24 | 15937 Views

Human head trial set to go ahead after delay

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 30 21:23:34 | 12552 Views

American girl, 11, forced to marry rapist

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 29 14:28:03 | 14399 Views

Fed up residents hold Mayor hostage

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 25 08:51:43 | 13251 Views

Homeless hero who pulled nails out of children's faces is given a home

by Prince Cox | 2017 May 24 20:11:55 | 13727 Views

Heartbroken wife dies after husband's mistress sent her indecent pictures

by Prince Cox | 2017 May 22 08:35:57 | 34450 Views

Father jailed after raping daughter for 20 years

by Hope Freedom | 2017 May 20 09:51:11 | 15903 Views

Driver miraculously unharmed after lorry completely crushes his BMW

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 20 09:59:37 | 12247 Views

Saddam Hussain arrested for pretending to be Osama Bin Laden

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 16 23:42:36 | 11750 Views

Student left with painful scars after tattoo removal goes wrong

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 15 20:45:37 | 15344 Views

Three people die of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 12 15:31:35 | 12605 Views

'Shoplifter' bleeds to death after falling on 'stolen' bottles

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 09 21:49:08 | 15642 Views

82 Chibok schoolgirls freed by Boko Haram

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 07 09:19:48 | 33084 Views

Woman arrested after biting love rival's privates

by June Mpofu | 2017 May 06 19:03:59 | 12001 Views