Mom Who Choked Daughter's Online Bully Felt Powerless Against Facebook (VIDEO)

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Last week, Debbie Piscitella was shopping with her teenage daughter when the girl pointed out a boy who had been tormenting her on Facebook.

The 14-year-old high school freshman had allegedly posted a number of nasty things about Piscitella's eighth-grader, including that she was “a fat f---ing whale” who “didn’t deserve to live because she is so nasty that he wouldn’t even rape her.”

She approached the boy and asked him to stop, but he responded that he wasn't going to stop because he didn't have to. That's when she choked him. She shouldn't have done it of course, but I can't blame her for losing it. As wrong as this kid's actions may have been, Piscitella knew he was right about one thing: he can put whatever he wants on Facebook with no real ramifications.

Bullying and teasing that happen online put parents in a unique situation these days, because they can actually verify what's going on with their own eyes. Seeing the actual harassment go down is surely a very different thing than hearing about it secondhand. But to officials and police, a jumble of vicious slights in cyberspace is not comparable to a slap or punch in the face, and a lot less actionable.

Plus, Facebook commentary doesn't typically come with negative consequences of any kind. Whatever the school's policy on bullying might be, I'm sure this girl's parents thought their daughter's bully was in the free and clear to continue making whatever remarks he wanted via social media—especially after the father got involved online and the boy just kept ragging on his daughter TO HIS (VIRTUAL) FACE. OMG.

After complaining about the taunts to the principal and getting no help, Piscitella felt powerless. It's a sad and shocking moment when parents realize there is little, if any, recourse for victims of online assaults. When I put myself in her shoes and imagine the frustration of not only seeing the Facebook comments, and then confronting the bully and hearing him say he wasn't going to stop his online tirade because he didn't have to? Well, I can see how she snapped.

In the wake of the drama, Piscitella, who was arrested on a charge of child abuse and later released from jail on $5,000 bail, has offered advice to other parents who might find themselves in a similar situation:

I want people to, obviously, try to go through the proper channels. I want you to monitor your children and what your children are doing on Facebook because, obviously, if you look on the Facebook of the children in question, the things that are on there, as a parent, I would shut it down immediately.

Here's a Good Morning America segment with Debbie Piscitella and her daughter:

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Do you empathize with Debbie Piscitella at all?


Image via MSNBC

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noneya79 noneya79

Couldn't she have pressed harrassment charges on him? 

Cindy Cho

lol mother feel powerless against facebook? i bet that 14 yr old is powerless against society and law. i agree noneya79, she could have pressed charges. there are so many charges she could've pressed against him that her daughter might not even have to worry about her money for college.

Maevelyn Maevelyn

I feel like there were other options. I would have never contacted the child in question. I would have gone to the school with a print out. I would have demanded a parent teacher meeting. I would have thrown a fit at every comment and inconvienced his parents so badly that even if they didn't care they would HAVE to care. I would have herassed him like an adult or beat his mom up. 

nonmember avatar Emme

It was wrong of her to choke the kid, but I totally sympathize with her. I'd want to snuff the life out of him too. His parents must be real gems. =/

He'll probably think twice before bullying her daughter again.

nonmember avatar kaerae

No charges could be pressed, he broke no laws, he didn't make any threats, and it is all unfortunately totally legal. At most she could have gotten a restraining order, but not any monetary payout, how dumb!

Trace... Traceyssel

I would of done the same thing for my kids.

nonmember avatar Tami

I think you made a valid point. She snapped. Period. She did try to go through the proper channels with no resolution. Then she saw the little asshole at the mall (she didn't hunt him down) and she asked him to stop at which point he mouthed off to her, pushing every button she had, I'm sure. Were her actions appropriate, legal, ok?? Of course not. Do I blame her? Not one bit. My guess is the punk thinks twice before setting out to make someone's life miserable next time. He was all big and bad until someone attacked HIM...then he needed to call mama crying about it. I hope his parents open their eyes and see that while their child was attacked, and it's not ok, it was absolutely not without provocation.

nonmember avatar Lord K

As horrible as the teen boy is, the boy's parents are ultimately the ones to blame, they fail as parents! "...didn’t deserve to live because she is so nasty that he wouldn’t even rape her.", really, the parents taught the boy it's okay to rape if she isn't "too nasty"?!? These parents have inferior reprehensible family values! Hell, if I had ever made a comment like that my old man would have beaten the ever-living shit out of me, and if he didn't the girl's father would have gone to our house got into a nasty fight with my old man. Further, the cops of the country I grew up in, would have arrested and jailed my dad if he didn't exert sufficient punishment for saying a comment like that. Now look at the inexorable depths parenting has fallen since then.


That said, the mother handled the situation wrongly. Back then, if parents didn't stop their children from being bullies, the parents of the bullied children confronted the parents. Today, there's always lawsuits, sue the pants off the parents. Online bullying leaves a wonderful trail of evidence.

zandh... zandhmom2

Why didn't she just have her daughter delete her facebook account? It's not like it's like she HAD to have one.  My son deleted his almost 2 years (on his own) because he got tired of the stupid things people post on it. 


And No, I don't blame that boys parents. Kids do stupid things everyday and by time they are teens, they do them away from their parents knowledge.  I mean, I see bully on this site everyday from adults and we somehow think that teenagers aren't going to do it? Please!

jalaz77 jalaz77

Tami took the words out of my mouth!

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