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Rhode Island Teen Charged with Cyber Bullying – Harassment of Teen with Birth Defect

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


A 15-year-old sophomore has been charged with cyberstalking and using false information for an alleged Facebook posting that occurred in November 2010. According to an affidavit, the student at Smithfield High School used a fake account to harass a freshman who, because of a birth deformity, is missing part of her foot. The sophomore allegedly used the fake account to pose as the freshman. The account also had a picture of a bloody severed foot and included the freshman’s last name and birthdate. John Reis, an anti-bullying educator, is concerned that people are not taking the incident seriously, thinking of it as a practical joke instead. Reis is concerned that other students are not appreciate the inherent meanness of the phony account. Also according to the affidavit, the sophomore’s father was rude to police and seemed annoyed when police came knocking on the family’s door. Reis says that parents need to be proactive instead of running for cover. Parents should take responsibility themselves as well as let their children take responsibility for their actions. When a child behaves inappropriately there should be consequences, children should and accept those consequences and learn from their behavior. The Rhode Island State Police cyber crimes units confiscated 3 computers from the sophomore’s home. To read more on this story please see Rhode Island sophomore accused of cyber bullying on popular social networking site.

Bullying has traditionally been a downplayed form of conduct, sometimes bullying has not even been considered a crime. However, in recent years state legislatures have enforced harsher punishments towards those who engage in bullying conduct. Bullying has also increased with the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Parents should teach their children core, moral values to not bully or other harass their peers.

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