Cyber-Bullied 12-Year-Old Girl's Suicide Is a Tragic Reminder

Heartbreaking 11

sad angelHeartbreaking news out of Florida: 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick committed suicide after being relentlessly bullied online by 15 girls, jumping to her death at a cement plant in her hometown of Lakeland.

As the mother of a 12-year-old girl, just imagining what this child's parents are going through makes me feel utterly ill -- her life had barely begun! But as a former 12-year-old girl, imagining what Rebecca went through makes me feel equally sick. Among the insults her bullies posted on the internet: "Go kill yourself" and "Why are you still alive?"

Just terrible. And here's the part that makes me want to spend 100% of my energy monitoring my daughter's presence online: Sedwick left a series of digital clues before her death. She messaged one friend saying "I'm jumping, I can't take it anymore," and changed her name on a messaging application to "That Dead Girl." 

If only someone had recognized the signs. Sadly, Sedwick isn't the only teen to leave such a trail in recent days ... 

Just weeks ago, on the first day of school in the town where I live (Greenwich, CT), high school sophomore Bart Palosz killed himself with his family's shotgun. In the days and weeks leading up to that tragic day, Palosz posted many suicidal thoughts on social media. Palosz, too, was bullied. 

The girls who drove Rebecca to suicide might be charged with felony cyber stalking, but of course that won't bring her back. We can only hope that other bullied kids are saved as a result of parents and friends hearing Rebecca's story.

If the words someone is using -- even online -- indicate they may be considering suicide, or if you yourself have wrestled with the idea, please reach out to a suicide hotline. There is ALWAYS someone there who wants to listen and who will take you seriously. You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

How do you think we can help bullied teens? 


Image via NatalieMaynor/Flickr

behavior, bullies, news, issues, safety, tough topics

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nonmember avatar erica

Heartbreaking. Teen suicide is already a huge problem and it's only gonna get worse if people don't start taking it more seriously. Poor kids these days have no place they can go to be safe from bullies. Just one of the downsides to all this technology.

RMT1995 RMT1995

We can stop creating kids who are so insecure that they feel good by bullying other kids. I tell my daughter constantly that if someone is saying something to try and make you feel bad, it's because they feel bad about themselves.

Jammi... Jammie209

Kids have always been cruel, but what happened to make them turn into nasty sociopaths? My oldest daughter, 14 yrs old freshman, was bullied somuch in 7th gradeended upin a crisis center. As a mom, all I wanted to do was make this mean girls feelmy child's pain for just one day. And the parents were almost as bad. I always try to help my girls, I have 3, know that bullies are only stronge if u let them get to u. But as a pre-teen, she just couldn't understand why other girls who barely knew her, hated her so much. It broke my heart everyday just sending her to school. Even the best parents in the world can have kids who act completely differentaround their peers. The best thing wecan do as parents is keep the lines of communication open. Check ur kids text, emails, fb post, & tweets. If u notice any type of bullying or just something u don't like, let them know that this isn't appropriate & take action. Our kids are dying & we have to stop it now! No parent should ever have to bury their child. Reading articles like this one, makes me realize how lucky I am that we got tomy daughter beforeit was too late. My thoughts & prayers are withthisyoung girl's family & friends. Kids

youth... youthfulsoul

That's so sad and I hope the girls responsible receive some sort of punishment and a lifetime of guilt.

Cooks... Cookster792

I was bullied in grade school a lot.  I did speak out and was told to learn how to handle it.  I had 2 sons and was determined that they would not be bullied like I was. The older one was starting to get bullied and I demanded that something be done immediately. I sat in the principals office and would not budge. It seems that the boy bullying my son admitted it and said that nothing would be done to him because his father was on the school board. And he was right.  One teacher called me and said he would look out for my son and that I should not worry. That teacher kept his word. My younger son let it be known to everyone that he would not be buollied ever, believe me he told everyone. Sad that things haven't changed.


 

Angel M Ponder

My 7th grader went into middle school after being bullied for most of 6th grade, His new Science teacher gave the parents a assignment to tell her a little about their child, I took it as an opportunity, to talk about the bullying and how I wished I had even one teacher looking out for him without him having to  know I was interfering.  I don't know if it is a coincidence, but she is now his favorite teacher.


 

Rebecca Enerson

you can bet the 15 were the "popular" girls all the teachers pets-so the school will just look the other way-sometimes if the kid is a little different the teachers actually join in on the abuse-this is why we have school shootings as well-this why 12 year olds shouldn't be allowed to twitter-why is this generation of girls such horrible nasty backstabbing evil conniving skankks-oh yeah -Miley Cyrus

CLM3345 CLM3345

Ugh. Where the F were the parents of the 15 girls who did this?! If I found out my child posted on someone's FB to go kill themselves, I would do everything in my power to make sure they leaned their lesson and never spoke to someone like that again. Why are we raising such a$$holes?! Reserach shows empathy can be understood at 5 years old. We need to start talking to our children often about empathy and how to treat other human beings. This just breaks my heart, this poor little girl. Children should not be committing suicide.

Todd Vrancic

If you find out that your child has posted even one bullying post, yank their computer out of their room, take away the cell phone and make them use the computer only in your presence.  Jerk them up sharply and maybe they will learn you won't tolerate that behavior.

Kristi Fetters

That police officer who made that statement ought to be asamed. The school system & police need to step up & do there jobs, He made a comment and said it starts at home, was he on drugs? cuz the bulling started in school............

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