Parents of bullied Florida girl who killed herself sue school board

ORLANDO Fla. Mon Aug 4, 2014 1:35pm EDT

Rebecca Ann Sedwick is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida.  REUTERS/Polk County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

Rebecca Ann Sedwick is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

Credit: Reuters/Polk County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

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ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - The parents of a 12-year-old Florida girl who killed herself after being bullied by schoolmates filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the school system of negligence for failing to stop the torment.

Rebecca Sedwick jumped from a silo at an abandoned cement plant in Lakeland, Florida, last September after enduring months of bullying at school and online, even after switching schools, according to police reports.

The lawsuit identifies the primary bully as G.S., whom it accuses of intentional infliction of emotional distress. It also accuses Cemex Construction Materials Florida LLC of negligent maintenance of its abandoned facility.

It said G.S. used social media to tell Sedwick to "drink bleach and die," and to "go kill yourself."

"Defendant G.S.'s outrageous conduct included a Facebook posting by Defendant G.S., subsequent to Plaintiff’s decedent taking her own life that stated, "Yes ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd [and] she killed herself but IDGAF [I don’t give a f**k],"  the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit was filed in Polk County, located between Orlando and Tampa, said Matt Morgan, the parents' lawyer.

It seeks a minimum of $15,000 from the Polk County School District for failing to protect Sedwick during the 2012-13 school year at Crystal Lake Middle School.

"Defendant school board knew or should have known that its failure to adequately and expeditiously discipline G.S. for her conduct would result in a further escalating pattern of disruptive and violent behavior which, in turn, would threaten the safety of Crystal Lake students," the lawsuit said.

Laws limiting liability for government agencies would normally cap damages to $200,000. But the lawsuit claims that its charges against the board are not covered by that cap.

    G.S., 14, and a 12-year-old girl were arrested in October and charged with felony aggravated stalking in her death. The charges were later dropped.

The parents of G.S. could not be reached for comment.

The sheriff's investigation found Sedwick suffered from family troubles that contributed to her mental state, according to media reports.

Representatives of the school board and Cemex USA said on Monday they have not yet been served with the lawsuit.

(Editing By Frank McGurty)

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Comments (2)
Crash0866 wrote:
“The sheriff’s investigation found Sedwick suffered from family troubles that contributed to her mental state, according to media reports.”

Aug 04, 2014 2:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bsljkj345 wrote:
I’m wondering where the parents of the bully were and are during this ordeal. Don’t parents monitor their child’s online activities anymore? That’s part of parental responsibility. One would think if a child was receiving the online harassment the parent would not allow the child to use that social network anymore. Also, doesn’t Facebook have a “report abuse” feature? Too many people dropped the ball here, the girl’s parents included. It’s a terrible tragedy but holding the school solely responsible is wrong.

Aug 04, 2014 4:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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