Florida bullying case of Rebecca Sedwick: After two girls, 12-year-old Katelyn Roman and 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw, were charged with 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide following months of bullying, “authorities are trying to decide whether they can also charge one of the suspect's parents.” A Florida sheriff is saying that “one suspect's parents are in ‘total denial’ of their daughter's online activity,” and that the parents might be held responsible for the bullying death of Rebecca Sedwick, reported USA Today on Oct. 16, 2013.
According to a Tampa Bay 10News report, the two girls arrested in the bullying suicide of Rebecca Sedwick are 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw and her younger classmate, 12-year-old Katelyn Roman, who investigators say admitted to bullying and intimidating her former friend Rebecca Sedwick.
According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the arrest of 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw came when she allegedly posted on Facebook on Saturday: "Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a (expletive).]"
In her defense, 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw told deputies that her Facebook account was hacked and that she did not write that post.
However, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd does not believe Guadalupe Shaw's explanation. "We decided, look, we can't leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally and mentally abuses and attacks?"
On Monday, the two girls who are being held responsible for the bullying suicide of Rebecca Sedwick were arrested and charged with third-degree felony aggravated stalking.
The 12-year-old girl, who showed “remorse and cooperation” over Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide, was released into her parents’ custody. The 14-year-old suspect, however, appears to be “very cold” and is remaining in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
On Sept. 9, 2013, Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a cement factory tower. The sheriff who arrested the two girls for allegedly bullying Rebecca Sedwick into committing suicide is also looking at the parents of the 14-year-old suspect girl.
“Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday that the bullying began after the 14-year-old suspect began dating a boy Rebecca had been seeing. She ‘began to harass and ultimately torment Rebecca,’ Judd said, and prodded the 12-year-old to join in.”
As many as 15 other girls joined in the bullying of Rebecca Sedwick, but other than the 14-year-old girl’s parents, authorities have not mentioned any other potential charges. Detectives are continuing to sift through text messages that led up to Rebecca Sedwick's death and “have not ruled out the possibility of more arrests.”
As the reason for “trying to decide whether the parents should be charged,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is saying that the girl’s parents were aware of their daughter’s bullying of Rebecca Sedwick but instead of intervening, they “gave her back her Facebook access .“
"They don't think there is a problem here, and that is the problem. Responsible parents take disciplinary action," he said.
According to an Oct. 15, 2013, Tampa Bay 10News report, Guadalupe Shaw's neighbors in Lakeland are saying that 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw is “often in fights and lacks discipline. Jorge Colom, who lives down the street called it disappointing, but not surprising.”
"The kids hang loose. They're unsupervised all the time," said Colom.
In response to 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw’s arrest, the man who answered the phone at Guadalupe Shaw’s Lakeland home and who identified himself as her father said that "none of it's true. My daughter's a good girl, and I'm 100% sure that whatever they're saying about my daughter is not true.”
According to the Tampa Bay 10News report, the man who answered the door at 12-year-old Katelyn Roman's home said that he was Katelyn's father and that his family was devastated about Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide. "I feel horrible about the whole situation, but like I said, there's two sides to every story.”
"The day that this happened, we all felt super horrible. I've even brought my daughter numerous times to the grave where she jumped. She even went over there and prayed at night, but that's all that can be done right now and I can't really say too much more," said 12-year-old Katelyn's father.
Rebecca Sedwick’s mother, Tricia Norman, says that her 12-year-old daughter was bullied to death by her former friends, according to Tampa Bay 10News. She, her husband, and their two children have moved out of the house that is too painful to stay in.
While she was pleased that the two girls are being held accountable for their actions and wished that her daughter “could see it and feel the vindication,” Tricia Norman says that the two girls arrested need help. "I can't say I want them to spend rest of [their] lives in jail or do any jail time. They need rehabilitation," she told 10 News.
In looking back, Rebecca Sedwick’s mother recalls 12-year-old Katelyn and her mother visiting her home for a slumber party. "I had to ask her to leave because of problems with other girls. She was doing bad things and gossiping; she made other girls cry," she said. "I told her she had to leave. I always had a bad feeling about that girl."
In looking back, Rebecca Sedwick’s mother also recalls being alerted about problems with 14-year-old Guadalupe as well. "The kids messaged me about Guadalupe bullying them at school- how she was bullying someone else and causing problems."
And in looking back, Rebecca Sedwick’s mother is wondering why the school didn’t do enough after they had made numerous reports to the school. “I think the school didn't take it seriously. Becca was told to adapt to her surroundings, develop thicker skin, that she needed to ignore them," Tricia Norman said. "It's hard to ignore them as relentless as they were."
As most mothers would, Rebecca Sedwick’s mother is also asking herself what she could have done differently. Rebecca Sedwick’s birthday would have been this weekend and the one thing that her mother understands is that no regrets, no blame, and no arrests will bring her daughter back.
Instead of wishing for the arrest of 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw’s parents, Rebecca Sedwick’s mother has launched an anti-bullying campaign.
Unknown to Tricia Norman, bullies had a strong hold on her daughter. "The bullies won. They got what they wanted. They wanted her to kill herself.”
Rebecca Sedwick’s mother is now trying to use the same tool that her daughter’s and many other’s bullies use -- Facebook.
As of now, Tricia Norman’s “Rebecca Sedwick - Against Bullying” Facebook page has received over 14,000 likes. The inspiration for the Facebook page came from Rebecca Sedwick’s journal which read, “every day more and more kids kill themselves because of bullying. How many lives have to be lost until people realize words do matter?"
In declaring the fight on bullying, Rebecca Sedwick’s mother says that “I loved her so much. It's the least I can do for her."