Rebecca Sedwick's mom says arrested cyberbullying suspects were 'jealous' of her daughter

10:06 AM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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New Port Richey, Florida - Tricia Norman wiped away tears as she talked about her little girl, Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old who was bullied to death by her former friends.  

The young woman, known as Becca, took her own life by jumping from a tower at an abandoned cement plant in early September.

Tuesday is a bittersweet day for the family.

That's because the young women accused of bullying Becca, a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old girl, were arrested Monday night by Polk County deputies. The suspects were charged as juveniles with third degree felony aggravated stalking.

STORY: 2 arrested in suicide bullying death of Lakeland girl

Becca's mother, Tricia Norman, stood alongside her husband and two children as she bravely faced the media today. She told reporters she was pleased that justice was served and that the bullies were held accountable.

She just wishes her daughter could see it and feel the vindication.

"[Becca] should be here, be here to see justice getting served. I wish they would have listened to her a long time ago when it was going on," Norman said. 

However, Becca's mother knows the feeling of satisfaction in seeing the arrests will not bring her daughter back.   

"It's rough," she said. "Today is bittersweet, some relief, some regret. Her birthday is this weekend. It is bittersweet with mixed emotions."

The family moved out of Polk County the weekend after they laid Becca to rest. They relocated to New Port Richey. 

"I couldn't stay there [in Polk County]. It was too painful. Everything reminded me of her," Norman said. "I still can't go back there; it's too much. We have her things boxed up and every time I try to go through it, I just cant."

Becca's mother says it all boils down to jealousy.

Other girls were envious of her daughter, she maintains, picking on her relentlessly, stalking her online, until the young woman took her own life.

RELATED: Bullying a problem at Sedwick's old school

See Also: Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education

The grieving mom says the two girls arrested need help.

"I can't say I want them to spend rest of lives in jail or do any jail time. They need rehabilitation," she told 10 News.

Where did things go so very wrong? The family says they believe Becca's school didn't do enough after they made numerous reports. 

"I think the school didn't take it seriously. Becca was told to adapt to her surroundings, develop thicker skin, that she needed to ignore them," Norman said. "It's hard to ignore them as relentless as they were."

What makes this even worse? The two girls arrested were former friends of Becca's, said her mother, and the 12-year-old girl was in the family home for a slumber party.

"I had to ask her to leave because of problems with other girls. She was doing bad things and gossiping; she made other girls cry," she said. "I told her she had to leave. I always had a bad feeling about that girl." 

In addition, Becca's mother says students alerted her to problems with the 14-year-old girl as well. 

"The kids messaged me about her bullying them at school- how she was bullying someone else and causing problems."

Even though Becca's family believes justice has been served, they also warn other families out there to watch what their children are doing online, and to never ignore the warning signs of a child in trouble. 

What Tricia Norman doesn't understand is where the hatred, venom and animosity comes from in the girls who were arrested.

"They were kids when this started- babies. They were 11 and 13," she said before wondering aloud, "Where do they learn this? What are they learning?...Who is teaching them this? It is learned somewhere."

Becca's mother said she's now working on a project called Safe Circles, where parents can register online to have their children's social media sites monitored.  To read more about Safe Circles, read here.

RELATED: Rebecca's mother launches anti-bullying campaign

Norman sighed, telling reporters, "If a kid comes to you and says 'I'm being bullied', please look into it diligently. It could save a life."

You can read more about your school district's bullying policy by clicking the links below:

Hillsborough County

Pinellas County

Polk County

Pasco County

Manatee County

Sarasota County


Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education

SafeCircles- Tricia Norman launches online social media site that protects registered users from bullying 

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