Tricia Norman, mother of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick who committed suicide in September, announced today with her attorney Matt Morgan that she would be pursuing wrongful death lawsuits against those responsible for her daughter’s death.
During a press conference at Morgan & Morgan’s Orlando office, Norman and Morgan announced that they would also be proposing new anti-bullying laws on both the state and federal level, titled Rebecca’s Law and the Safe School’s Improvement Act of 2013, respectively.
“Bullying has become a problem of epidemic proportions within our society,” Morgan said. “We have support at the highest levels for [Rebecca’s Law], and we are very confident that we will do what it takes to pass it.”
On September 9, 2013, Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death after climbing a silo tower at an abandoned cement plant in Lakeland, Florida. Following the suicide, police arrested and charged two girls, ages 12 and 14, for allegedly cyber-stalking Sedwick. Police said that the girls “terrorized” Sedwick and then showed no remorse for her death. Charges against the girls were dropped last week due to insufficient evidence.
“I have recently become aware that the current laws in Florida do not allow for bullies to be punished,” Norman said at today’s press conference. “This makes me sad because I think it sends the message that bullying is okay.”
Rebecca’s Law would allow bullies to be criminally punished for their conduct. The Safe School’s Improvement Act, which hopes to become the first-ever federal anti-bullying law, would guarantee that state-funded schools implement and strictly enforce policies and procedures involving bullying, Morgan said today.
At the press conference, Norman did not identify who she intended to sue, but she has previously stated that she has not ruled out suing the local school board or the parents of the alleged bullies. During this morning’s announcement, Norman said that she plans to hold those responsible for the death of her daughter accountable “to the full extent of the law.”
“I’m very angry with the individuals I believe are responsible for my daughter’s death,” Norman said. “I keep waiting for an apology I now know will never come.”