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Bullied girl's mom announces lawsuit, "Rebecca's law"

Rebecca Ann Sedwick

The mother of a bullied Fla. pre-teen who committed suicide in September announced Monday morning that she and her attorneys intend to file civil suits in the case and draft a law that criminally punishes bullies.

“My goal is to use my personal tragedy to make society a better place,” said Tricia Norman, whose daughter, Rebecca Sedwick, jumped to her death from a tower in an abandoned cement plant near her home.

Norman said she planned to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against those she believes are responsible for her death, but declined to name specific people or entities.

Sedwick had allegedly been bullied, and two girls, ages 12 and 14, were arrested on felony stalking charges for allegedly sending Sedwick harassing messages and encouraging others to fight her. Experts said it was the first time stalking had been invoked as a means to punish alleged bullies. Late last week, the state attorney dropped all charges against both girls.

But for Tricia Norman and her attorneys, the fight goes on.

“Bullying has become a problem of epidemic proportion in our society,” said Norman’s attorney, Matt Morgan.

Morgan told reporters that his firm, which includes former, and perhaps future, Governor Charlie Crist, has “created an entire department” to deal with “nothing but bullying.” He warned parents that if their child is bullying another child, “you may find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit and your personal assets in jeopardy.”

Morgan said they plan to draft and push to enact “Rebecca’s law,” which would create criminal penalties for bullying. He also announced a second law, “The Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2013” which would state that in order to receive federal funding, schools must have “policies and procedures” in place to combat bullying.

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com