Rebecca Sedwick’s mother, Tricia Norman, has filed a lawsuit against the School Board of Polk County, Cemex Construction Materials of Florida, and a former classmate of her deceased daughter who she claims all played a part in Sedwick’s suicide on September 9, 2013.
With this lawsuit, we hope to let parents and children alike know that you can’t torture another human being to death and get away with it. There will be repercussions for that type of action.
“This is the first step in our journey to justice,” said attorney Matt Morgan, who represents Norman. “We intend to change behavior using the civil justice system.”
According to the lawsuit, Sedwick’s family seeks at least $15,000 in damages from each of the defendants.
Among other allegations, Norman’s suit claims that the Polk County school board did not do enough in supervising one of Sedwick’s main tormentors, who, the suit alleges, inflicted intentional emotional distress upon the teen leading up to her suicide. In its failure to do so, the suit claims, the school did not fulfill its duty to provide an environment that would reasonably assure that Sedwick and other students would “be free from harassment, intimidation, abuse, unwanted touching, and bullying.” Additionally, the suit accuses Cemex of negligent maintenance in allowing Sedwick such easy access to the abandoned cement tower from which she jumped to her death.
“With this lawsuit, we hope to let parents and children alike know that you can’t torture another human being to death and get away with it,” Morgan told Orlando television station WKMG. “There will be repercussions for that type of action.”
Last September, Sedwick jumped to her death from an abandoned cement silo on the property of Cemex Construction Materials of Florida after suffering through relentless cyber bullying at the hands of classmates. Two girls, ages 12 and 14 at the time, were arrested and charged with aggravated stalking in connection with Sedwick’s death. Though both were arrested, the charges were eventually dropped against the two girls. One of the girls, identified in court documents by the initials G.S., however, is named as a defendant in Norman’s lawsuit, which claims the girl “engaged in an open, notorious, and protracted pattern of bullying against” her daughter.
Earlier in 2014, Morgan and Norman helped launch PassRebeccasLaw.com in an effort to collect enough signatures to sway state lawmakers to create new legislation that would criminalize all forms of bullying in Florida.