Suicide of 12-Year-Old Represents Yet Another Tragic Casualty of the Bullying Epidemic


October 30, 2013

The funeral this month of a 12-year-old-girl who committed suicide by jumping from a building following an apparent ongoing pattern of bullying serves as a tragic reminder that “sticks and stones” are not the only way to cause severe emotional harm.  The power of words can have serious emotional consequences that exact a physical toll.  These effects have never been more apparent than in this age when social media like Facebook and other websites allow insulting and disparaging comments to be broadcast in an instant to an audience of virtually unlimited size.  The notion of an isolated insult made by one kid to another on the playground has been replaced by the ability to engage in a pattern of relentless disparaging comments and false allegations by coordinated harassers that reach everyone close to a victim in an instant.

The tragic suicide of Rebecca Sedwick is a recent example of the devastating impact that harassment and bullying can inflict on victims.  The growing number of children and teens that have suffered injury at the hands of bullies or committed suicide is one of the reasons that Montlick and Associates is committed to raising public awareness on the issue of bullying.  Our Atlanta Personal Injury Law Firm participates as a founding sponsor of the national anti-bullying and kids club, Ambassador for Kids, as part of our attempt to focus public attention on this national epidemic that is impacting a growing number of children, teens and their families.

The details of Rebecca’s story are both heart-wrenching and familiar to far too many parents.  Sheriff’s detectives told the USA Today that the young girl was “terrorized” by up to fifteen girls who coordinated a vicious pattern of insults and bullying through online posts and text messages.  The impact of this pattern of harassment, which went on for months according to the news report, was documented in the young girl’s journal in terms that a local sheriff said “would break your heart.”  The investigation following the girl’s death uncovered web searches for sites on committing suicide with over-the-counter medications and removing razorblades from a razor.

While law enforcement authorities are still considering whether to file criminal charges against the bullies in this case, many parents are fighting back against those who cause pain and injury with their words through civil lawsuits.  Although a civil lawsuit will not result in a jail term for perpetrators of bullying, it can yield both a finding of fault and financial consequences to hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm caused by a pattern of abuse and mistreatment.  School districts that lack appropriate anti-bullying policies or that fail to take effective remedial measures to stop a pattern of bullying can also be liable for not protecting victims.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For You

Montlick & Associates is determined to help prevent and stop bullying and child abuse.  Our firm is the founding sponsor and provides ongoing support to a National Anti-Bullying Organization, A4K The Ambassadors for Kids Club.  There are some very good resources available on the program's website at a4kclub.og.  Montlick & Associates helped found the organization in partnership with Children Without A Voice USA (cwavusa.org).

If your child has suffered serious physical and emotional harm because of bullying, in some circumstances it is possible to pursue civil remedies to stop the abuse and compensate your child. 

Our Atlanta injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.