The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 19, 2013

Murray: Florida bullying case cause for alarm

It happened again in September. Rebecca Sedwick of Florida, after being tormented viciously by two classmates — including one instance where one of the girls told her to “drink bleach and die” — climbed to the top of a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself off, presumably feeling there was no other way to escape the torture and pain.

Reports are emerging that the bullying started, like so many other female adolescent tiffs, over a boy. Whatever the case, we have another case of failure.

Failure of a girl to find her way to freedom from bullying, failure of the adults around them to do anything about it, and most of all, failure by the parents of the bullies to raise kids who wouldn’t do that to another kid.

Grady Judd, the sheriff in the county where this tragedy occurred, is coming at this case guns-a-blazin’, and I for one wish every bullying case would be handled this way.

They’ve made public the names of the bullies — who, by the way, went on Facebook and bragged about their actions — and have arrested the girls involved.

The sheriff has also called out the parents of these bullies, and this is really the part of this I want to point out. One set of parents has claimed their daughter’s Facebook account was “hacked,” or hijacked by someone else who posted hateful messages such as, “Yes I know I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but IDGAF.” IDGAF, in case you’re unfamiliar with the latest wave of phrase abbreviation, stands for “I don’t give a f---.”

But I think we all know that’s a lie. The sheriff himself even said as much, calling the parents’ story “baloney.”

I’ve written about bullying before, including one column that ran just a few weeks ago. This is something I really, really wish we’d get a handle on quickly, folks. And admonishing kids yet again to stop being mean to each other is not going to work.

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