Bullying never is right, no matter the measure of harassment we give it. At least that is a universal standard for those with a good sense of right and wrong. However, Sheriff Grady Judd comes under fire in a Florida case for previously publicizing the arrest of two teens who allegedly were bulling a young girl who jumped to her death. Judd still stands by the goal that these kids never torment or bully anyone again, as he has stated since their arrest.
Back in September, two teen girls had allegedly been bullying 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick so intensely the 12-year-old hurdled herself to her death from a building. Sedwick was to have been going to school that Monday morning. Except, no one grasped just how despondent this child felt that instead she veered from the usual path, went to an abandoned plant, climbed a tower and jumped off, to die.
Her devastated family had said that the bullying took Becca “to the breaking point.” The young Sedwick made no secret about the bullying and terror she was feeling, her mother has said. According to the victim’s mother, Becca reported the bullying to school officials and sought their protection and intervention, but went advised, basically, to deal with it herself.
Supposedly, Sedwick was to adjust to the “new surroundings.” With that thought in mind, one can only believe that bullying very much is trending these days, in schools and on cyberspace, the victims need only toughening up and thicker skin, and the adults who know this enable the bullying by doing nothing about it.
Obviously, not all children are naturally insensitive. Most children are gentle by nature and others, for one reason or another, go conditioned to engage bullying and victimize their polar opposite opponent. Apparently, the blame for bullying rests on the shoulders of the bullies’ parents, and the teachers that turn away a bullied child, and on the judicial system that gives only a slap on the wrist to the bullies that drive a victim to his or her death. For children live what they learn and must go taught that bullying is a very dangerous approach to handling conflict.
Supposedly, this case of bullying started with the 14-year-old involved. She, allegedly, began dating Sedwick’s ex-boyfriend, and, seemingly, that wasn’t enough. Evidently, she began to encourage Sedwick’s best friend, the other 12-year-old involved in the case, to harass and bully Sedwick as well, and the so-called best friend joined in the bullying. The harassment and bullying took place on the social pages of Facebook, Instagram, Boxer, ask.fm and Kik, as well as in school.
According to initial reports by ABC News, one of the perpetrators had wrote on Facebook that she knows she bullied Rebecca and she killed herself, but that she [the bully] does not give a d***.
Sedwick’s death in September then prompted the arrest of the two girls charged with felony stalking, and Sheriff Judd made it a point to broadcast it on national television and exposed the photos, names and ages of the arrested teens. For this bullying case, Judd has come under fire by Jose Baez, attorney representing the 12-year-old in the bullying case, which resulted in the death of Sedwick and the dropped charges today, for both girls involved.
According to news reports, after confirming that the charges against his client went dropped, Baez claimed that his client, herself a victim of bullying, is a “troubled young girl” who will continue with counseling. And that Judd not only was wrong to expose the photo, name and age of the minor during a news conference, but also owes his client an apology for arresting her.
Baez went as far as asserting that Judd best get himself a good attorney, because he is going to need one for recklessly ruining the reputation of his client.
After Baez’s news conference, Judd responded by saying that he regrets nothing he did, but also added that he’s glad about the outcome.
It appears the outcome was a 12-year-old girl is dead; two of her school mates openly and intensely engaged in bullying her, her family will forever suffer the loss of their Becca. The school did nothing to intervene and save the victim; the charges against the two girls went dropped, and Sheriff Judd comes under fire for standing up against bullying.
All of this, unfortunately, translates to all other bullies that they could get away with just about all the bullying in the world, for at last all they get for it is a slap on the hand and some counseling. And that is a sad and dangerous message to send to the insensitive children approaching conflict with bullying.
Rest in Peace, Rebecca.
By: Christina L. Ibbotson