The mother of a 12-year-old Lakeland girl who committed suicide after allegedly being bulled at school and on the Internet has called for tougher laws against bullying in Florida.
While Florida currently has one of the toughest anti-bullying prohibitions in the nation, bullying is still not considered a criminal offense. The two girls accused of the bullying, a 14-year-old and 12-year-old, were arrested on charges of aggravated stalking and not for bullying. The charges against both girls were dropped in November 2013.
The proposed legislation would allow authorities to charge bullying as a misdemeanor, or in the case of aggravated bullying, a felony. Proposed penalties for a misdemeanor bullying charge could include community service, juvenile detention, a $500 fine and 60 days in prison. Felony bullying could result in up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.