Picture 8Cyber bullying that lead to 13 year old girl’s suicide is in the news. A neighborhood mother used a fake identity on MySpace and drove a troubled teen, a rival of her own daughter, to suicide. In light of some local characters that have seen fit to attack some local teen girls in Coos County I thought it merited some attention here.

The defendant in the case of a MySpace hoax that ended in a girl’s suicide applauded a federal judge for tentatively dismissing her conviction that could have resulted in up to three years in prison.

“In my view, it was proper that this case was dismissed, primarily because I simply did not do what the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles accused me of doing,” Drew, 49, said in a statement Friday.

Drew was convicted last November on three misdemeanor charges. Prosecutors had argued that Drew and an accomplice, who was granted immunity, pretended to be a teenage boy named Josh, and used that identity to at first flirt with 13-year-old Megan Meier, an emotionally troubled classmate of Drew’s daughter, before turning on her.

Girl Hanged Herself
“The world would be a better place without you,” the fake Josh wrote to Megan in October 2006. Meier responded, “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over,” then hanged herself in her bedroom.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, released online June 29 in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine

…many children in grades 6 through 10 have either bullied classmates or been bullied by them, sometimes online or through cell phones.

According to the study, 20.8 percent of respondents reported being perpetrators or victims of physical bullying in the past two months; 53.6 percent were victims of verbal bullying; 51.4 percent were victims of relational bullying, which involves social exclusion, and 13.6 percent of cyber bullying on a computer, cell phone or other electronic device.

Of course what makes the Megan Meier case unique is that it is another parent doing it, a supposed adult. Consider a Long Island mother who taunted her daughter’s rival, only nine years old!

Long Island prosecutors added a child endangerment charge today against a mother accused of posting a lewd Craigslist ad to target a 9-year-old girl.

Margery Tannenbaum, of Hauppauge, was freed without bail after her arraignment in Central Islip.

She pleaded not guilty to the endangerment accusation and an aggravated harassment charge filed when she was first charged in May.

Tannenbaum is accused of posting an ad saying, “Looking for a good time?”

Prosecutors allege she referred callers to a number for one of her daughter’s rivals, which generated a series of harassing calls.

So while both these cases received misdemeanor criminal charges in the Meier case at least, it looks like the ‘mother’ will get off without a penalty. Unfortunately, in Oregon at least, the laws seem to protect the cyber bully even when the target is a child.

Society should police adults that target children by shunning the people that engage in this behavior. While it is hard to discover the identity of cyber bullies (’cause bullies are all cowards) in Coos County there are plenty of adults that think nothing of engaging in mean spirited gossip about children. The consequences of this gossip can and has been just as devastating as the Megan Meier suicide and adults should know better.

Society should shun those people not encourage them by listening. One of the reasons I took my own daughter out of school was because the Coquille schools could not or would not protect her from vicious gossip conducted by a socially aberrant elderly woman right on school grounds.

Exerting energy for the sole purpose of hurting others is wrong and indicative of deep rooted personality disorders. Unfortunately laws do not protect children from people like that until the damage has already been done.