I really don’t know what to say to this. Children everywhere have a streak of cruelty in them, probably due to an inability to empathize maybe due to immaturity (I am no child psychologist please, just guessing). Parents have a role however, in teaching children kindness or at least attempting to. When I hear stories like this I can’t help wondering how the child was raised, if at all. Is she growing up in a dysfunctional home? Is she being deprived of affection? Has she been bullied herself at some point?
Lets face it. Thousands of children across the world get bullied. Very few of them commit suicide as a direct result and those few, going from news reports, seem to be western children. What really is going on? Is it possible we just are not hearing of similar stories from other parts of the world? Or are children in less privileged circumstances made of sterner stuff? Are western children more cruel in their bullying? The questions are soooo very many.
Regardless whether she gloats over the matter, truth is, was the bullying the only reason the victim took her life or did other factors play in? What can be done to reduce incidents of bullying especially in school?
- Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12, was bullied online by a gang of up to 15 school girls
- She was found dead at an abandoned Florida cement factory last month after searching ‘What is overweight for a 12-year-old’
- Her family believed the abuse had stopped when Rebecca left the school
- One of the teens was dating Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend at the time
Two girls have been arrested in connection with the death of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide after being bullied online for almost a year.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd identified the girls as Katelyn Roman, 12, and Guadalupe Shaw, 14, during a news conference today in Winter Haven, Florida, and revealed details of a heartless Facebook post written by Shaw on Saturday.
‘Yes IK [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd [sic] she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a f***],’ Shaw allegedly posted.
Rebecca was ‘terrorized’ by as many as 15 girls who ganged up on her and picked on her for months through online message boards and texts. She jumped to her death from a tower at an abandoned concrete plant on September 10.
Missed: Rebecca Sedwick took her own life after being relentlessly bullied
Judd said they decided to arrest Shaw after she posted the message on Saturday.
‘We decided that we can’t leave her out there. Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?’ he said.
Roman was Rebecca’s former best friend, but Judd said the 14-year-old turned her against Rebecca. Other girls also stopped being friends with her in fear of being bullied, the sheriff said.
‘Several students corroborated stories of both girls bullying Sedwick on different occasions, through name-calling, intimidation, threats to beat her up, and at least one actual physical fight,’ the sheriff said today.
He warned parents in a news conference today: ‘Watch what your children do online. Pay attention to what your kids are doing. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent.’
Roman and Shaw were arrested on Monday night and detained at the county’s juvenile center before being released to their parents, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
They were charged with felony aggravated stalking.
Several media outlets have released the names and mugshots of the young girls after law enforcement officials identified them at a press conference today.
It is believed the bullying started when Shaw started dating Rebecca’s ex-boyfriend.
Witnesses told investigators she sent messages to Rebecca, calling her ugly, telling her to ‘drink bleach and die’, and encouraging her to kill herself.
The 12-year-old was jumped in school and repeatedly hounded in online messages or texts telling her to kill herself and that she was ugly.
Her computer searches revealed she had searched for ways to commit suicide and asked questions like, ‘What is overweight for a 13-year-old girl’ .
One of the Florida girl’s screensavers also showed Rebecca with her head resting on a railroad track.
She changed one of her online screen names to ‘That Dead Girl.’ She messaged a boy: ‘I’m jumping.’
Polk County Sheriff Judd said Rebecca had been ‘absolutely terrorized’ by the other girls.
‘We can see from what we’ve been investigating so far that Rebecca wasn’t attacking back,’ Judd said.
‘She appeared to be beat down. She appeared to have a defeatist attitude. And quite frankly, the entire investigation is exceptionally disturbing.’
Even when her mother took Rebecca out of school, the bullying was carried out online.
The bullying started over a boy last year at Crystal Lake Middle School and at one point she was suspended for fighting with another student – believed to be Roman.
Last December, Rebecca was hospitalized for three days after cutting her wrists because of what she said was bullying, according to the sheriff.
‘When she was being bullied at Crystal Lake Middle, she used to come home every day and tell me how she wasn’t worth anything, that she was ugly, how she was stupid,’ her mother Tricia Norman said after her death.
‘And I said, ”Baby what on earth would make you think that? You’re the most beautiful person I know and the smartest person I know.”’
Later, after Rebecca complained that she had been pushed in the hallway and that another girl wanted to fight her, Rebecca’s mother began home-schooling her, Judd said.
This fall, Rebecca started at a new school, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, and loved it, Judd said. But the bullying continued online.
‘She put on a perfect, happy face. She never told me,’ 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.’
Once police checked her cell phone they discovered that the bullying had not stopped, especially on Kik Messenger, Instagram and Ask.fm.
‘They would tell her she’s ugly, stupid, nobody liked her go kill herself,” Ms Norman said.
She has started a Facebook page to try to fight back against online bullies, called Rebecca Sedwick Against Bullying.
Ms Norman told 10 News she was inspired to start it after reading her daughter’s journal.
In it, Rebecca had written: ‘Every day more and more kids kill themselves because of bullying. How many lives have to be lost until people realize words do matter?’
Ms Norman wants online bullies to face harsher consequences, and begged other young victims to stay strong and seek help, adding: ‘Don’t ever give up, like Becca did.’