Just one day after a Texas teen committed suicide from being cyber bullied, her father is demanding legislative action to help others who are suffering from the same torture.
Eighteen year old Brandy Vela shot herself in front of her family last week after being subjected to months taunting by cyber bullies. Now her father, Raul Vela, wants justice for his daughter. “I want to see these people get locked up,” said Raul Vela. “I hope they get what they deserve because I didn’t deserve this.” Read on to hear how Raul Vela is fighting back.
The family of eighteen year old Brandy Vela is mourning. The Texas teen shot herself last week after succumbing to the pressures and tortures of cyber bullying. The high school senior’s picture was floated around social media sites with derogatory comments posted about her. “They set up an account saying she was actually soliciting sex,” Mr. Vela said. He said that some nights her phone would be ringing off the hook with harassing messages.
Before her death, Brandy sent messages to her family telling them she planned to kill herself. They rushed home to stop her, but instead they arrived in time for her to commit the act in their presence. According to KHOU, Texas considers harassment and bullying via “online communications” to be a misdemeanor, but Mr. Vela is pushing for the penalties to be strengthened, and a new bill in the state legislature is aiming to help do so.
The time has come in our nation when we have finally started to address the issue of bullying. What was long considered to be a natural part of growing up has become a national discussion on how to create safe places and nurturing environments for our children.
Realizing that the behavior of children is both something they learn through observing adults, and that can be redirected through the proper measures, one Wisconsin town has come up with an interesting plan to stop bullies. The Shawano city council just approved a new ordinance that allows the local police department to intervene in cases of bullying. The law applies to any child under the age of eighteen years old and is designed to target a number of types of harassment, from stealing lunch money to cyberbullying.
Parents of minors who are accused of these actions will receive a warning and a ninety day probationary term in which to change their child’s behavior. If they do not, the parent will receive a $366 fine for the first offence and $681 fine for each repeat offence.
The idea is that bullying both begins at home and needs to be dealt with by the parents. A large majority of parents in town seem to in favor of such a measure, but there are a few who find it problematic.
Some critics say that the issue of bullying is too subjective. They point to the difference and distinctions between harmless banter and teasing, and more aggressive harassment. They contend that it simply is not a clear line and cannot be enforced, nor would fining parents necessarily impact children who engage in bullying.
Shawano Police chief Mark Kohl has responded to these criticisms, saying “This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt.”
Do you think this new law is a good idea, or should they go further? Do you think bullying is a problem that society can address, or is it just a phase kids go through? Share your ideas with us here.