Two 12-year-olds have been charged with cyberstalking by police in Florida after they were linked back to their classmate's suicide.
On Jan. 10, Gabriella Green was discovered unresponsive at her home and was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her cause of death was later confirmed as a suicide by hanging.
Enraged and heartbroken, Green's family and friends approached the Panama City Police, stating she had been a victim of online bullying.
The police examined the girl's phone and social media, and they discovered that the claims were accurate. Green had suffered through derogatory comments made both online and in person, had been the center of vicious rumors claiming she had sexually transmitted diseases, had been brutally name-called, and had been threatened to have personal details about her life exposed by a fellow female classmate.
Another male classmate told Green to "just do it" after she discussed attempting suicide and showed him bruises on her neck.
The two pre-teens were brought in for questioning by the Panama City police and have since been charged with cyberstalking.
Green's mother said she doesn't just blame the two students, she blames their parents and the school as well, claiming she approached them multiple times to express her concern over her daughter's abuse and they did nothing.
She has taken to social media in the hopes of raising more awareness about the effects of cyberbullying and trying to find justice for her daughter.
"[Gabbie] left this world being bulled at school for this last year. We took it up with the school several times. They did nothing. Looking at her you wouldn't think she would have an issue being bullied. Beauties get bullied too," her Facebook post reads.
Ginger Littleton, chairwoman of the board in Bay District Schools, where the students attended has released a statement.
"Let me assure you that each of us here today, and all of our administrators and staff in our schools, will continue to work with parents and students to help them understand the impact of our spoken and written words," she said. "This tragedy has not only forever impacted one family, but the hurt and pain is now being felt by multiple families. We will continue to do all we can to guide and teach our students about the dangers of bullying and social media."
But talk is cheap. Saying that as a school you fight to prevent bullying and suicide is significantly different than actually taking action to ensure students do not suffer at the hands of their peers to the point of thinking they should take their own lives.
Green's family approaching her school to report abuse and bullying online and in person was met with no action. Rules, support systems, and zero tolerance policies need to be strongly enforced to keep students safe and free from bullying.
There is no room for second guessing when it comes to bullying. A 12-year-old should never be bullied to the point where they cannot take it anymore without a school intervening.
Green's school ultimately let her down, and going forward they must focus on their procedures regarding bullying so a heartbreaking situation like this never happens again on their watch.
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