This isn’t a touchy “feel good” post. I am not exploring the social or psychological reasons behind why people become bullies or intentionally try to harm others online.
What this post is about is how to come down hard on someone engaged in online bullying, shaming, sexting, cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking, sexual harassment (#metoo), and everything in between (for the purpose of this post and ease of reading, I’m going to refer to all of these as “bullying.” It’s a guide to show you how to take care of business, shut things down, and hold wrongdoers accountable.
While I focus my discussion on school related bullying cases, these same approaches work with most other online bullying, shaming, sexting, cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking, sexual harassment (#metoo) situations involving victims of all ages. Here’s a short 3 minute video explaining our mindset and why we believe bullies need to be held accountable.
Before we dive too far into this post, please understand that while I’m a pretty darn good trial lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. No legal advice is being given in this post or related resources. Thank you for understanding.
Stories like the Rebecca Sedwick bullying suicide case are tragic. Just in case you’re not aware of what happened to Rebecca, here’s my understanding of the facts based upon published news reports.
12-year-old Rebecca was bullied and terrorized relentlessly for months both on and offline. After texting a friend that she couldn’t take it anymore, Rebecca jumped to her death from a high cement factory tower.
Before Rebecca’s death, up to 15 teenagers in school had reportedly been bullying Rebecca with several using social media to make their point. After her death, two of the teenage girls were arrested for bullying Rebecca and are now charged as juveniles with criminal third-degree felony aggravated stalking.
Even after Rebecca’s death, one of her tormenters allegedly continued to make online comments about Rebecca bragging about the bullying. According to authorities, this teenager wrote on Facebook:
“Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don’t give a … and you can add the last word yourself.”
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