The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 16, 2013

Today's Rave: Teens arrested for online bullying


The Daily Item

— WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Two Florida girls who were primarily responsible for bullying a 12-year-old girl who killed herself were arrested after one of them acknowledged the harassment online.

Police in central Florida have been investigating the death of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant Sept. 9 and hurled herself to her death. Authorities said as many as 15 girls may have bullied Rebecca and the investigation was continuing.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the arrests of the girls, ages 14 and 12, were hastened when the older girl posted Saturday on Facebook, saying she bullied Rebecca but she didn't care.

"We decided that we can't leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?" Judd said.

The 14-year-old girl was accused of threatening to beat up Rebecca while they were sixth-graders at Crystal Lake Middle School, telling her "to drink bleach and die" and saying she should kill herself, the sheriff said. The older girl convinced the younger girl to bully Rebecca, and they both repeatedly intimidated her, called her names and once the younger girl even beat Rebecca up, police said.

Both girls were charged as juveniles with third-degree felony aggravated stalking. If convicted, it's not clear how much time, if any at all, the girls would spend in juvenile detention because they did not have any previous criminal history, the sheriff said.

Here are some comments on the story:

“It’s so sad that those two girls thought they were better then her. We can’t allow anyone else to die like this little girl did. These parents should also be charged for not "knowing" what their children were doing.” – Freda Stahl, comment from dailyitem.com

“Shame on these parents too! Teach your children to be kind to others!” – Ashley Strouse Marino, comment from Daily Item Facebook page

“Because it is so public, it makes everyone feel like it’s happening all the time. The thing that makes the victims feel desperately miserable is the feeling the entire community is ganging up on them and nobody is coming to their side.” – Rosalind Wiseman, a Washington, D.C., author of two books on teen bullying from USA Today story