Bills filed to make bullying illegal in Florida

CREATED Jan 17, 2014

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The mother of a Florida girl who committed suicide after she was allegedly bullied is backing a bill that would make bullying illegal in the state.

During a news conference Friday, Tricia Norman, along with her attorney and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, said that HB 451 and an accompanying bill in the Florida Senate have been filed. The bill would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to willfully, maliciously or repeatedly harass or cyberbully another person, and a third-degree felony if there's a "credible threat" involved in the harassment.

Norman's daughter, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, committed suicide in September. A month later, the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested two of her classmates, ages 12 and 14, on charges of aggravated stalking.  Those charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence.

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