After enduring a year of bullying from about 15 other girls, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick from Lakeland, Fla., died on Sept. 9 after going to an abandoned concrete plant, climbing a tower, and jumping to her death.
According to a Sept. 13 report by The Washington Post, Rebecca had been bullied online by the mean girls with messages like “You should die” and “Why don’t you go kill yourself.”
Just before tasking her own life, Rebecca changed one of her online screen names to “That Dead Girl.”
She also sent a message saying to one boy in N.C. that read “I’m jumping, I can't take it anymore"
Police from the Lakeland area have confiscated computers and cellphones belonging to the cyber bullies and are trying to determine what, if any, charges could or should be brought against those that encouraged the beautiful 12-year-old to kill herself.
The bullying started over a “boyfriend issue” last year at Crystal Lake Middle School, Sheriff Grady Judd said. Police said Rebecca was suspended at one point for fighting with a girl who used to be her friend.
Judd went on to describe that Rebecca had been “absolutely terrorized” by the cyber bullies. Her diaries, he said, revealed how increasingly depressed she had become as a result of the constant bullying.
Rebecca slit her writs in Dec. 2012 and spent three days in the hospital.
After that, Rebecca’s mom began home-schooling her daughter and eventually changed schools.
The school change didn’t prevent the on-line cyber bullying though.
"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." ~ The Huffington Post
Police investigating Rebecca’s cyber bullying report that the parents of the teen cyber bullies have been cooperating.
A bullying law in Fla., which includes cyber bullying, leaves any punishment for bullies in the hands of schools, not police. The law, the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, was named after another tragic suicide victim who took his life after not being able to take the bullying inflicted upon him any longer.
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.
For more on the heart breaking death of Rebecca Ann Sedwick, see the video accompanying this article.
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