Archive for Rebecca Sedwick

Parents & Courts Condone and Encourage Child Bullying And Harassment

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Levi Null

So this is what society has  come down to. Encourage bullying and terror.

Say you're blessed enough to become a parent. Sadly, your child is born different -- with a disability. Perhaps autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Tourettes or one of many other afflictions.  Wish, will and pray as you might, you hope that by the time they reach school age, they'll be well enough to attend. To be as much like one of the other kids as possible.

You get to the point that you believe this will be a solution. Perhaps integration into a social environment of school peers will be the panacea. At least, you figure your child will be protected, be kept safe.

But what happens when you realize your prayer isn't answer and hope is not a viable option? You find yourself up sh**s creek without a paddle. You've been deserted. And not just by the kids (who we know can be cruel) but by the teachers and the school officials as well.

How do you stand by when you report your child's abuse to the school and they side with the bullies? How about when they even blame your abused child as bringing it on himself?

Then you, as the heartbroken parent find you're faced with public ostracism over Facebook, blaming you for your child's behavior. Does this seem fair? Just? Right? How do you think you feel when you find the bully kids posting videos on the Internet of  their abuse which also shows teachers in the background witnessing this harassment and just turning their backs?

The cherry on this disgusting sundae comes when the parents of the bullies defend their kid's offensive actions on TV news, and they get hundreds of responses, applauding their support of their bullying kids.

Watch this story of 13 year old Levi Null, from the Melcher-Dallas school district in Texas.

The message here is that sadly, ignorance and inhumanity is passed down from generation to generation. What we do as parents matters. As the parent of both a boy and a girl, I know how hard it was to reprimand them, and I did it sparingly but judiciously. I did it to make them better children. But not doing anything or worse, condoning such bad behavior leads to a total deterioration of society.

Just over a month ago I reported on a 12 year old girl, Rebecca Sedwick in a post on how cyber bullying led her to climb up a grain silo and jump to her death.

HERE'S AN UPDATE on this related story. The two kids who drove Sedwick to her suicide were suspended from school but just yesterday, the court made their determination on any charges, reported by the New York Daily News:

Charges against two Florida girls accused of bullying a 12-year-old former classmate to her eventual suicide will be dropped, local authorities announced Wednesday.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd confirmed Wednesday evening that two of Rebecca Sedwick's accused cyberbullies, 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw and a 13-year-old girl, will have their charges of aggravated stalking dropped.

Is this the fair signal to send in addressing an epidemic of harassment and bullying?

Parents condone it. Courts refuse to condemn it? Buckle your seat belts. We're in for the proverbial bumpy ride.

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Cyber-Bullying Claims 12 Y.O. The Parents Of Teen Suspects May Be Charged

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Rebecca Sedgwick

Let's think about this for a beat. A 12 year old girl, Rebecca Sedwick is cyber-bullied by two other girls, about her age, one 12, the other 14. She reports it to her mother, Tricia Norton, who then takes the issue to the school. So far, so good (in a relative sense as you'll see). The school, over ten months does nothing, at least anything that produced positive results.

Reported by Yahoo News and ABC News:

Rebecca was bullied online for 10 months and Norton said her daughter had been physically attacked five times before that, police say. Eventually, Norton pulled Rebecca from Crystal Lake Middle School in Pompano Beach to end the bullying and keep her daughter away from the two suspects, who also attended classes there.

"I made several, several reports to the school. I did an online bullying report because I thought nothing was being done by the school. And nothing was being done on that either," Norton said.

The young victim is so rocked by this continued abuse and no solution from the normal channels that she takes what she believes is the only step left. She rides her bike to an abandoned grain silo, climbs up to the top, then jumps to the pavement below, death greets her at the end of her fall.

But the tragedy doesn't end there. One of the two girls accused of the cyber-bullying continued the onslaught  after the suicide with Facebook postings including this:

Yes I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF (I Don't Give A F***)

Now as distraught as Rebecca's mother is, she has joined Sheriff Judd in calling out the parents, placing blame on them. Despite their denials that their kids could have done this heinous activity, the parents are being met with a unified, "horsepucky."

One of they accused girls mothers claims she checked daily to oversee her daughter's comments on FaceBook and saw nothing wrong. Really?

"You should drink bleach and die!"

That isn't a warning sign? There's nothing wrong with that?

Are these fit parents?

Evidently Sheriff Judd doesn't think so. And he's taking bold steps. He's considering charges against the parents.

"Those parents haven't cared from the very beginning," Judd said. "After this initial event, after the initial interviews, why did they let her stay on Facebook any longer?"

Judd said he's only investigating the older suspect's parents, whom he described as being "in denial."

"When the parents don't take care of the children and it becomes criminal conduct, then it becomes my responsibility, and my deputies and I know how to take control," Judd said.

Sheriff Grady Judd

Well, taking control isn't meeting with everyone's comfort zone down in the hotbed of social and legal justice, the state of Florida. The Sheriff is taking heat claiming he's overstepping his bounds. Here's what Tampa defense attorney Jeff Brown says to Tampa's Fox Channel 13 of Polk Sheriff Grady Judd actions in arresting the two girls and giving out their identities:

"He went beyond his duties. He is just a sheriff. He is not a judge, he's not a lawyer, he is not the state attorney's office, he's not representing these girls. So he is doing an awful lot of pre-judging, he's bringing a lot of his side of the facts out there, and maybe these are the facts. But I don't understand why he can't let the system play out, why he can't let the people who are the lawyers -- not the sheriff -- investigate the case, look into what's going on here, and then have a judge decide what the appropriate penalty or sentence is, and see about the proper way to handle this in a courtroom.

Spoken like a true defense attorney.

Sadly though, there's another story today that goes up in the face of this tragedy -- and it comes from the NEW YORK TIMES:

Facebook SF headquarters

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has loosened its privacy rules for teenagers as a debate swirls over online threats to children from bullies and sexual predators.

The move, announced on Wednesday, allows teenagers to post status updates, videos and images that can be seen by anyone, not just their friends or people who know their friends.

I'm not big on restrictions and regulations. But they do have their place. And in light of Rebecca Sedwick and so many others victims like her,  it might be time for FaceBook to be bold and return to their original rules. It didn't stop this death. But who knows that maybe it stopped some cyber-bullying crimes from ever having started.

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