Polk County sheriff’s deputies have arrested two girls and charged them with third-degree felony aggravated stalking in a case of bullying that allegedly led to the suicide of a 12-year-old Lakeland girl.
Authorities say that the harassment was not only verbal and physical, but that the victim also endured constant cyber bullying. Investigators allege the harassment led the girl to climb a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and jump to her death on Sept 9.
Sadly, a 12-year-old girl who was once the victim’s best friend, was one of those arrested. A 14-year-old girl, who was reportedly dating an ex-boyfriend of the victim, was also taken into custody. Both were released to their parents’ custody.
A spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Department said that deputies moved to make the arrests when the department learned that the alleged 14-year-old ringleader seemingly admitted to the bullying in a recent Facebook post that stated:
“Yes ik I bullied [the suicide victim] nd she killed her self but IDGAF”
IDGAF is Internet slang for, “I don’t give a ….”
“We decided that we can’t leave her out there,” the sheriff’s spokesman said. “Who else is she going to torment, who else is she going to harass?”
The spokesman went on to say that he was upset that the girls still had access to social media outlets, even after the tragic suicide. Remarkably, both the girls were arrested at home when their parents refused to bring them down to the station after being contacted by the sheriff’s department.
The victim had left school because of bullying and was being homeschooled for a while. She then enrolled at a different middle school, but continued to be bullied online. Last December she was hospitalized for three days after slashing her wrists, blaming the bullying for her actions.
Investigators believe that up to 15 children may have been involved in the harassment.
The sheriff’s spokesman didn’t mince words when he talked about parental responsibility in this case. “If we can find any charges we can bring against their parents, we will,” he said.
This tragedy reinforces the fact that there should be zero-tolerance for bullying. If your child or someone you know is being bullied, contact Farah & Farah in Jacksonville to find out if legal action can be taken to stop the harassment and intimidation. Let’s work together to stop the bullying now.