Petition drive to pass anti-bullying bill 'Rebecca's Law' - FOX 35 News Orlando

Petition drive to pass anti-bullying bill 'Rebecca's Law'

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

The mother of a Florida girl who committed suicide after she was allegedly bullied has partnered with Orlando law firm Morgan & Morgan to gather signatures on a petition in hopes of persuading state lawmakers to back an anti-bullying bill.

The bill, referred to as "Rebecca's Law," would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to willfully, maliciously or repeatedly harass or cyber bully another person, and a third-degree felony if there's a "credible threat" involved in the harassment.

"The petition is about changing behavior," said attorney Matt Morgan.  "Right now, kids know that it's wrong to bully, but they don't get in trouble if they do bully."

Morgan is representing Tricia Norman, the mother of Rebecca Sedwick.  Norman's daughter, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, committed suicide in September 2013.  A month later, the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested two of her classmates, ages 12 and 14, on charges of aggravated stalking.  Those charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence.

Last month, Norman spoke out about the need for an anti-bullying law.

"I desperately hope to save another parent's happiness, before it is wrongfully taken from them.  I am on a mission to show a child who's being bullied, that there is light."

State lawmakers are drafting the bill.  Morgan explains how it will work.

"First strike is counseling. Second strike is counseling, plus community service. Third strike would possibly be juvenile detention.  That's for the individual that just doesn't get it, the person that keeps tormenting and bullying someone."

But it's not just about protecting children. It also pertains to adults being bullied.

"It happens in the workplace all the time.  We see it on a regular bases," Morgan said.  "There's really no age-specific bracket."

He said that, by gathering signatures, it will give the anti-bullying bill more support and possibly save a life.

"We do need everybody's support to sign this petition."

The petition is online at www.passrebeccaslaw.com.  You can also read more about the legisation and its progress at  www.forthepeople.com/rebecca-sedwick.

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