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Some parents not pleased with bullying suicide arrests | News

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Some parents not pleased with bullying suicide arrests
News

Lakeland, Florida -- As school district workers used paint to touch up the school's sign out front, reaction echoed inside Crystal Lake Middle School on Wednesday.

Parents sent their kids into class for the first time since 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw and 12-year-old Katelyn Roman were arrested on aggravated stalking charges.

The two girls were classmates of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick at the school in Lakeland, deputies say, when Shaw and Roman began to bully Sedwick in a dispute over a boy, John Borgen.

RELATEDSedwick's former boyfriend urges witnesses of bullying to speak up
MORE: Rebecca's parents react to news of arrests

The intense bullying continued online after Sedwick left the school and the harassment eventually drove Sedwick to commit suicide, a Polk County Sheriff's Office investigation concluded.

Ricky Sealey dropped off his nephew at the school as the sun came up Wednesday. He said the arrests only made an already awful situation worse.

"Obviously, they did wrong. But I don't think they should be arrested for it," Sealey said. "They're children. They only learn from what their parents make them -- make them do. Why should they be arrested for something that -- obviously, they learned it from somewhere?"

See Also: Bullying a problem at Sedwick's old school

But Elana Coulter -- a victim of bullying herself as a child -- said she felt the arrests sent the right no-nonsense message to any potential bullies in her grandson's middle school class.

"If you're doing this to kids -- online, in person, over the phone, whatever -- it is going to cause you trouble," Coulter said.

"You could get arrested. You could get kicked out of school. It's it going to stick with you for the rest of your life."

Opinions varied, but every parent we talked with did agree that bullying is not a problem that can be ignored any longer.

You can read more about your school district's bullying policy by clicking the links below:

Hillsborough County

Pinellas County

Polk County

Pasco County

Manatee County

Sarasota County

PREVENTING BULLYING: 

Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education

SafeCircles- Tricia Norman launches online social media site that protects registered users from bullying. Click here for a tutorial.

RELATED STORIES:

Rebecca Sedwick, 12, took her own life because of bullying

Arrests made- 2 girls arrested after bullying victim's suicide 

Rebecca's mom speaks after teen arrests in bullying suicide case

Sedwick's former boyfriendSpeak up if you see bullying

Mother says school district could have done more to stop bullying

PHOTOS: Rebecca Sedwick's story 

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