Fla. sheriff on why he charged dead 12-year-old’s alleged bullies

By | October 16, 2013

suicidefrombullyPolice say Rebecca Sedwick was relentlessly tormented by schoolmates for a year. Finally, the 12-year-old girl climbed to a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and leaped to her death.

The sheriff in Polk County, Fla., took the unusual step this week of arresting two girls, ages 12 and 14, on felony charges of aggravated stalking in the case. The arrests were made after the 14-year-old boasted on the Internet that she had bullied Rebecca, Sheriff Grady Judd said.

“She made a comment in reference to, “Yeah, I bullied Rebecca, and yeah, she’s dead, but I don’t give a (blank).” We saw that and we thought, that’s over the top,” the sheriff said.

Authorities said the 14-year-old and her 12-year-old accomplice harassed Rebecca at school, then followed her online.

Authorities say their taunts included “You should drink bleach and die, no one likes you,” and “You should go kill yourself.”

Rebecca hurled herself to her death on Sept. 9 after writing to friends, “I am jumping and I can’t take it anymore.”

Her mother, Tricia Norman, said last month that she wanted her daughter’s tormenters to be held accountable.

“I want them to pay for it. Because they took my baby away, they took her self confidence away,” Norman said, crying.

“They took her self-worth away,” the mom said. “And now she’s gone from me. ” …


This is almost certainly a chain reaction where the girls who bullied Rebecca were attacked and wounded emotionally by someone else. Instead of hating themselves, however, they acted out the attacks and delivered that hate they received to the first person they found who would absorb it for them. Teach people to break the chain.


0 thoughts on “Fla. sheriff on why he charged dead 12-year-old’s alleged bullies

  1. Michael

    Actually, some kids are just plain mean. I have known some very cruel people growing up who came from good families and were very loved at home. Social media and the blogosphere and its ease of sniping have given callous people a novel avenue for harassing others. The interactiveness and groupthink which emerges is a volatile mix that leads young people to engage in behaviors or say things they normally would not on their own. You see these behaviors in gangs as well.

    1. Xeno Post author

      I think intentional cruelty is a learned behavior, but would agree that some kids seem to have diseased minds. We are social animals and kids learn things up from peers, movies, parents, other relatives, books, total strangers, but why are there different responses by different kids to the same culture? Nutrition is a big factor, in my view. If the parents are loving but feed their kids GMO food with pesticides that kill off good intestinal bacteria, thus damaging their kid’s immune systems, weakening their blood-brain barrier and causing leaky gut syndrome this lets in toxins and causes brain damage, especially during formative years. I think a poor diet sometimes makes kids forever deficient in the ability to empathize. These individuals depend more on their more primitive “reptilian” brain. Fact check me on this… I may be short-changing reptiles… Do they show empathy?

      1. Michael

        The only behaviors in reptiles which may be interpreted as empathetic would be nest brooding by females, brooding either eggs or young. There are some other related parental care behaviors as well (crocs carrying young in their mouths, etc).

        I agree that nutrition and intestinal commensals play a much larger role than currently recognized, but I believe in the case of bullying, it’s kids egging each other on. There have been numerous psychological studies of destructive group behaviors which show that individuals make choices based not on what they would do as an individual, but what they believe they should do as part of a group. Throw in some hormones and you get a volatile mix. Add in real or simulated violence and the mixture becomes volcanic.

        How often do you hear of incidents where a teen has been charged with a crime committed in a group and that they are sorry, regret doing it? Often. When asked why they did, often they do not know why or they state that it seemed like a legitimate idea at the time. Up until age 25ish (sometimes as late as 30ish), areas of the frontal lobe are still developing in people. Within this area is the seat of executive judgement and a storehouse of social mores. Until that region stabilizes, people exhibit poor discretion and increased risk-taking behaviors.

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