Polk sheriff pushes for anti-bullying legislation - FOX 13 News

Polk sheriff pushes for anti-bullying legislation

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

It started at school and continued with her smartphone. For Rebecca Sedwick, the bullying didn't end until she took her own life.

"It is time for us to say enough is enough, bullying should not be a criminal event, but we must have sanctions. We must give the school boards and the students some measures for safety," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd unveiled a public bus with anti-bullying slogans in Rebecca's honor.

One says "be an upstander, not a bystander." It is a phrase Tricia Norman, Rebecca's mom, hopes others will understand.

"I know Becca is smiling; I think it's really wonderful," she said.

That is not the only change she is hoping for. Her attorney David Henry with Morgan and Morgan filed paperwork with the Polk County school district showing intent to sue, stating the district failed to protect Rebecca while knowing she was being bullied.

"They need workshops for parents, teachers, kids, everybody in every area; there needs to be awareness level raised," Norman said.  

The legal action may not end there. Two of Rebecca's classmates were arrested but were not criminally prosecuted. Now, the families of the girls who allegedly bullied Rebecca may be named in a lawsuit as well.

"At this point, we're looking at a number of people and entities," Henry said.  

Henry represents Norman and says information and evidence will back up their action.

"Sometimes a lawsuit has far reaching effects because you're able to establish what is and what not appropriate conduct is," he said.

Judd announced he is asking Polk's legislative delegation to write several anti-bullying bills. We expect to hear Friday from Rebecca's mom and her attorneys about the legal action they'll pursue.

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