The parents of the 14-year-old accused bully went on national TV and defended their daughter and themselves. Police say that their daughter wrote a Facebook post saying that she knows she bullied Rebecca Sedwick, but she doesn't care that she committed suicide. However, her parents say that her Facebook account was hacked. It is a claim police aren't buying.
"Watch what your children do online. Pay attention. Quit being their best friend and be their best parent," said Sheriff Grady Judd. Sheriff Judd also mentioned yesterday that they may charge the parents too.
Should the parents be charged? What should schools be doing? Many viewers following the case have questions, so Good Day asked Risa Vetri Ferman, the Montgomery County District Attorney, to join us this morning.
DA Ferman provided her expert opinion on this situation.
"It is hard to answer the question 'should parents be charged,' but parents need to be aware. And I think a lot of it depends upon the specific evidence down in Florida," DA Ferman told FOX 29.
DA Ferman explains that in the juvenile system, girls can be charged criminally if appropriate. However, it is more important to use this Florida tragedy to raise awareness about bullying and have parents take responsibility in teaching their kids how to behave toward their peers.
Ferman compared it to teaching your kid to drive a car. No parent will just give their kids the keys to a car. You have to set rules and teach your kid how to use the equipment properly. The same goes for the Internet. Parents must set restrictions and make sure their kids browse cyberspace safely. It really starts at home, Ferman emphasized.
With social media, bullying does not stop when the child gets home. It can be relentless, as seen by the case in Florida. No longer can parents of students being bullied take their kids out of school and guarantee an end to the harassment.
"There has to be a call for parents to pay attention," advised Ferman. Parents of the bullies and the school must proactively step in, she repeated.