Jumping

A news item from Florida last week:

Police on Monday arrested two girls, ages 14 and 12, in connection with the death of Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped from the top of an abandoned concrete plant last month.

Authorities said the 14-year-old girl was Rebecca’s chief tormenter, and the girl posted a taunting message Saturday on the Internet about what had happened.

“Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF,” the Facebook post read.

What a horrible sentiment, if it’s hers or if it’s someone else’s pretending to be hers.

According to Judd, the girl was upset that Rebecca had once dated her current boyfriend and began bullying and harassing her more than a year ago when they were both students at a Florida middle school.

In addition to sending harassing messages over the Internet, the girl physically attacked Rebecca at least once, Judd said. She also recruited the girl’s former best friend — the 12-year-old charged Monday — to bully her, Judd said.

Ironically enough, that Judd is Sheriff Grady Judd, who’s done some bullying of his own.

Among the online messages that drove Rebecca to jump to her death were, “You should die” and “why don’t you go kill yourself?” Judd said.

The night before Rebecca killed herself, authorities say, she messaged a boy she had befriended online, writing, “I’m jumping. I can’t take it anymore.”

Judd, clearly upset about the incident, expressed frustration that neither girl’s parents were willing to bring them in for questioning. He said he was astonished to find out that the 14-year-old in the case was still being allowed to post to the Internet after what had happened.

Dude, free speech.

Norman said she blamed the parents of the two girls and the staff at the middle school. She and Rebecca reported the bullying to the school, she said.

While bullying was not in itself against the law, Judd said, the girls’ actions allegedly harassing Rebecca in school and online formed the basis for the stalking charge. He did not expect any other charges would be filed.

Clearly the school didn’t manage to do anything about it.

First, do no harm. Second, try to prevent harm you can see happening.

 

Comments

  1. Beth says

    My sister talked about talking with the parent of a girl who was behaving badly. Turned out the girls mother was even worse. It is shocking to discover how normal abusive behavior is for some people’s lives.

  2. says

    News like this really makes me upset—obviously at the people who bullied the girl, but also at people who treat bullying as no big deal, just a regular part of growing up. Yeah, sure, there are times when someone might make a joke about you once, and then never say anything again. But there’s bullying that persists and makes people’s lives miserable. I feel so badly for Rebecca, who won’t get to grow up and live the rest of a life she could have had.

  3. latsot says

    Ani:

    Very yeah. We all know the standard responses when someone complains of being bullied and we all know how facile and unhelpful they are. The bullied don’t need to hear that bullies are cowards or that they’re jealous (of what? The whole point of bullying seems to be to make people feel they have nothing for anyone to be jealous of) or that they should grow a spine and stand up to the bullies or that they should stop saying and doing things that the bullies don’t like.

    How do these platitudes help when a child is regularly beaten up at the school gates? Or when a child is threatened with violence every day? Or when every move it makes is ridiculed? That child lives in fear and horror of going to school, but has to do so anyway.

    I’ll say it again: we all know that this advice does not help. We all know that bullying is not trivial, that it can and does make people dread their daily lives and hate themselves forever. And somehow people still trivialise it. Are the people who do that the same ones that bullied their peers at school? Of course not. My parents – despite their many faults – are not bullies in that sense. I don’t think they could have been bullies at school. But they did not do one fucking thing when I was bullied every single day for 12 or so years..

    It’s been rather more than 20 years since I was at school and it is heartbreaking that – if anything – the problem has become worse. I don’t understand why we haven’t learned better ways to deal with bullying at school and in later life. Parents who actually try to do something to help their children are called over-protective as though trying to prevent your child suffering decades of violence and despair is a failing.

    I was bullied relentlessly at school. An hour didn’t pass without a vicious remark or a threat. The bullies targeted my friends, too, so they eventually started attacking me as well, so that they’d be left alone. I seriously considered suicide many times. I’m still not sure why I didn’t do it. Ironically, it turns out that it probably did make me stronger, but it could easily have gone the other way. And it certainly messed me up.

    I don’t believe for a moment that there’s a person alive who doesn’t realise that this sort of thing goes on. And I don’t understand why society – and particularly individual people – pretend it doesn’t.

    Rant over, sorry if I’m hijacking the thread.

  4. he11cat81 says

    children are not exempt from other behaviours that are serious crimes in adults. we manage to teach children that stealing, assault, property damage is wrong, why not harrassment? bullying is harassment, full stop and needs to be treated just as seriously as assault both in children and adults.

  5. says

    @latsot (#3): Very, very sorry to hear what happened to you. The way I was treated in school still affects me, but there was much more ignoring/sometimes talking behind my back than people insulting/attacking me directly. I was relatively very fortunate, but there are so many who’ve had such a bad experience.

    And that’s why I agree with @he11cat81 (#4) that bullying (at the very least, certain types of it) really should be considered harassment. There’s this weird thing where sometimes people want to be too harsh in some circumstances, but other things (like this) where I think people are way too lenient. I can excuse certain things as “kids will be kids” because when we’re growing up, and it’s the first time we’re doing something, we’re bound to make mistakes. Bullying shouldn’t fall under “kids will be kids” though.

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