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Mother of young suicide victim pushing legislature for bullying law

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Updated: 1/17 10:36 am
ORLANDO, Fla. (WFTV) — An Orlando attorney and the mother of a young Polk County suicide victim are pushing to change Florida bullying laws.

Rebecca Sedwick was bullied to such a point that the 12-year-old killed herself by jumping from a cement plant in Polk County in September.

Her family members said they were hoping for justice when the two girls were charged with stalking. Those charges were later dropped.

"If you look at the bullying statute in Florida, it directs you to the stalking statute, and they are two different things. Stalking and bulling are two completely different things," said attorney Matt Morgan.

Morgan, along with Rebecca's mother Tricia Norman, are the powers behind a push to create a law strictly against bullying in Florida.

"Bullying is prohibited, but it's not punished. So we hope to deter future behavior using this law," said Morgan.

Morgan and Norman have planned a press conference for Friday where they will announce that the proposal for legislation has been filed during a press conference tomorrow.

Morgan said that potential consequences for someone violates the proposed law would include counseling, community service or juvenile detention.

"Now, if they put somebody's life in jeopardy by saying, 'Go kill yourself -- take a razor blade and slit your wrist,' that's going to be a felony under this new law because you can't have that," said Morgan.

Morgan has alerted the Polk County School District that Norman plans to sue for negligence.

The parents of the two teenaged girls who were initially charged in the death of Rebecca will also likely face a lawsuit.

Morgan said a state senator and state representative are also behind the push for the statute.

He said if the proposal becomes law it would likely take effect by October.

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