WUFT News

Who’s Responsible For Stopping Cyber-bullying?

By on October 20th, 2013

Two Florida girls, one 12 and the other 14, face felony aggravated stalking charges in the wake of Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide last month in Polk County.

“If I found out my kid was bullying somebody, we would have a major sit down as a family, there would be consequences,” said Lindsey Barry, a Gainesville mother.

While Florida’s new cyber-bullying law was in place at the time of the tragedy, it did not seem to make a difference in this case.

“We have some jurisdiction, but not very much quite frankly because again we have limited jurisdiction over what students are doing at home,” said Public Information Officer for Alachua County Public Schools Jackie Johnson.

Kids used to spend most of their time on the playground, now they are spending more and more time on Facebook which is becoming a platform for bullying.
Sedwick had been the target of relentless bullying at her school and over the internet.

A Facebook posting this past weekend — what sounds like a cold-hearted admission — prompted this week’s arrest.

“Particularly here in the state of Florida judges have discretion and so if a person commits an offense if they plead guilty or no contest or they’re found guilty for the offense and they show a lack of remorse that is without a doubt going to impact the decisions of any sitting judge,” said Gainesville criminal defense attorney Thomas Edwards.

The Florida cyberbullying law intended to give schools more authority to investigate online bullying that happens off campus but that only goes so far.

“That seems to be where things sort of fell through in this particular instance. We’ve got to know. If the students will report it to us we guarantee that we will take the proper action,” said Wayne Blanton of the Florida School Boards Association.

Lawyer Thomas Edwards said there is already too much responsibility put on schools.

Law enforcement could be brought in earlier, he said, but in the end it comes down to parents and how they handle their kids at home.


This entry was posted in Education. Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Tony Malo reviews "Beyond Thought," one of his students' films in his classroom on May 21. His class has just finished their end-of-the-year projects.

Gainesville High Teacher Cultivates Student Creativity

Gainesville High School teacher Tony Malo uses unique teaching and disciplinary methods to prepare students for the workforce and empower them to be self-motivated while learning to collaborate in groups. He believes his experiential learning methods are more effective than teaching for standardized tests.


The computers in the media center at A.L. Mebane Middle School in Alachua are being equipped with the Fast ForWord learning program. The computer-based program is a part of Superintendent Owen Roberts' language development initiative.

Dollar General Awards Three Local Schools $135,000 For Fast ForWord

On Wednesday, Alachua Elementary School, W.W. Irby Elementary School and A.L. Mebane Middle School were awarded $135,000 by Dollar General to fund Fast ForWord, a program designed to improve language and reading competency in students. This is part of a five-year language development initiative to implement the program in all elementary schools in Alachua County.


CFX8zb6WAAAbh3T

Alachua County Schools Receive $1.2 Million

Gov. Rick Scott awarded a $1,277,312 check to 20 Alachua County schools Tuesday at Stephen Foster Elementary School. The money is part of the Florida School Recognition Program which is giving $124 million to schools statewide.


A file photograph showing textbooks and empty student desks inside an Atlanta, Georgia school.

Community Leaders Sign Education Compact

Community, business, government and education leaders signed a compact aiming to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for students in Alachua County through collaborative efforts. The compact was signed on Monday by 21 people.


Debbie Powell consoles her grandchildren in wake of the decision.

Alachua County School Board Passes Rezoning Plan That Will Dissolve Waldo Community School

The Alachua County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to consolidate Waldo Community School with Shell Elementary School. The decision marks the end of a hard fought battle for Waldo to keep its school.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments