Up until now, bullying in the schools has been downplayed, regardless of the number of suicides that have resulted from it. Hopefully, that will soon come to an end.
A Florida sheriff arrested two girls, ages 14 and 12 for their part in the cyberbullying of a 12-year-old girl that led to her suicide. Her diaries detailed how she had been tormented online and at school by as many as 15 girls before she climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death.
After her death, one of her tormenters continued making comments about her online, even bragging about the bullying. She said, in her Facebook post, “‘Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don’t give a . . . ‘ and you can add the last word yourself.”
The sheriff took exception to the 14-year-old’s callous remarks and arrested her and her 12-year-old friend, charging them with third-degree felony aggravated stalking. If they are convicted, they could go to juvenile detention.
Rebecca’s mother had been proactive in trying to remove her daughter from the bullying. She began home-schooling her and later put her in another school but the bullying continued online. If Rebecca had been prohibited from using her computer, she might not have seen the awful things that were being said about her and she might still be alive.
Whether these girls will be convicted and sentenced to juvenile detention, is anyone’s guess because they don’t have a prior history. However, the most significant thing is that by arresting these two girls, the spotlight will be on the consequences that bullies will be facing from now on.
It might make children think twice about bullying others for fear that they will be arrested. And now there is even talk of arresting the parents of these bullies for failure to supervise their children’s online activities.
I have been wondering what the tipping point would be for putting a stop to this disgraceful and cruel behavior of bullies and now I think we’re getting closer to that point.
It will probably take the arrest and conviction of numerous children and their parents before bullying doesn’t look so glamorous and exciting. It will be at that point that they will have to weigh the consequences of whether malicious behavior is worth spending time in jail and ruining their future.