PLEDGE NOW
Felony Charges In A Cyber-Bullying Death

Felony charges against two girls in the cyber-bullying death of 12-year old Rebecca Ann Sedwick. We’ll look at young tormenters and the law.

Pallbearers wearing anti-bullying t-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Bartow, Fla. Polk County Sheriff's Office investigators say they believe Sedwick leaped to her death from a structure at an abandoned cement plant last week following months of bullying. (AP)

Pallbearers wearing anti-bullying t-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Bartow, Fla. Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators say they believe Sedwick leaped to her death from a structure at an abandoned cement plant last week following months of bullying. (AP)

Unprecedented felony charges this week against two young girls in Florida accused of harassing a 12-year-old classmate so relentlessly that she jumped to her death – suicide – from a lonely industrial tower.  The girls told Rebecca Ann Sedwick she “should go kill herself.”  Rebecca finally did.  The cyber-bullying messages went on even after her death.  No remorse.  Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said it’s gone too far.  He’s bringing in the full weight of the law.  This is a turning point.  He’s with us.  Up next On Point:  cyber-bullying, young tormentors, and the law.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jerriann Sullivan, reporter at the Orlando Sentinel. (@JerriannOS)

Justin Patchin, professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, co-director of the Cyberbulling Research Center. Co-author of “School Climate 2.0: Preventing Cyberbullying and Sexting One Classroom at a Time” and “Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying.” Author of the forthcoming, “Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral.” (@JustinPatchin)

Sheriff Grady Judd, Polk County, FL sheriff. (@PolkCoSheriff)

Sue Shellenbarger, columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: The Teen Empathy Gap — “‘Cognitive empathy,’ or the mental ability to take others’ perspective, begins rising steadily in girls at age 13, according to a six-year study published recently in Developmental Psychology. But boys don’t begin until age 15 to show gains in perspective-taking, which helps in problem-solving and avoiding conflict. Adolescent males actually show a temporary decline, between ages 13 and 16, in a related skill—affective empathy, or the ability to recognize and respond to others’ feelings, according to the study, co-authored by Jolien van der Graaff, a doctoral candidate in the Research Centre Adolescent Development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Fortunately, the boys’ sensitivity recovers in the late teens. Girls’ affective empathy remains relatively high and stable through adolescence.”

Slate: Two Girls Charged With Felony Stalking in Rebecca Sedwick Suicide Case. That’s Not the Answer — “While I know that it’s very hard to try to feel compassion rather than loathing for the 12 and the 14 year old in this case right now—and that asking for it will be scorned as making excuses for them—I do think we have to try to understand what was going on behind those loathsome posts.”

Orlando Sentinel: Sheriff in Rebecca Sedwick suicide: Cut cyberbullying cord — “A day after Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of two girls in the Rebecca Ann Sedwick suicide he appeared on the national television morning shows warning parents of the dangers of cyberbulling. He also vowed to prosecute anyone – children or adults – who commits such crimes. ‘People deserve to live a healthy, normal life,’ Judd told Robin Roberts on ‘Good Morning America’. ‘We will prosecute anyone we can prove has bullied or stalked someone.'”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 29, 2015
Residents are evacuated by members of the Houston Fire Department from floodwaters surrounding their homes in Houston, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Heavy rain overnight caused flooding and closure of sections of highways in the Houston area. (AP)

Texas floods. Soccer scandal. Nebraska outlaws the death penalty. Identity theft at the IRS. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 29, 2015
In this March 24, 2002 file photo, John Nash, left, and his wife Alicia, arrive at the 74th annual Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind,” died in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey on Saturday, May 23, 2015, police said. (AP)

Remembering a beautiful mind: Nobel –prize winning game theorist John Nash . We’ll look at his game theory. His schizophrenia. His genius.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 28, 2015
Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands as he sits behind glass in a courtroom, in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP)

Sentenced to death in Egypt for espionage, respected academic Emad Shahin joins us with a big take on Egypt, ISIS and America’s response.

 
May 28, 2015
Protesters congregate in front of city hall Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Cleveland. Members of about 40 churches are protesting the acquittal of a white patrolman charged in the deaths of two unarmed black motorists with a march through downtown Cleveland. (AP)

The new Cleveland standard of American policing. Will it stop abuse? Will it get the job done?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment