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Former Gov. Crist teams up with mother of bullying victim, Rebecca Sedwick

10:47 AM, Oct 25, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida-- Former Governor Charlie Crist joins Rebecca Sedwick's mother, Tricia Norman, in her quest to stop bullying.  

"Justice. Most definitely justice."

It's what Tricia Norman says she hopes to gain by bringing legal action against those involved in bullying her daughter, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, to her suicide. 

"And to help raise awareness. To send the message 'you will not get away'."

At the press conference in downtown Tampa Thursday, Norman announced she has launched a national fundraising campaign to help promote bullying awareness. The first $5,400 will go to pay for Rebecca's funeral costs. Any other money will be given to The Jaylens Challenge Foundation, a local group dedicated to fighting bullying.

Norman was surrounded by her attorneys at Morgan and Morgan Thursday, among them former Governor Charlie Crist.

"It is a true societal problem. This kind of abuse, this kind of attacking, has to be stopped," said Crist.

Lead attorney David Henry said there will likely be one lawsuit filed in Polk County. They are considering the two teenagers arrested for felony aggravated stalking, a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old girl. 

STORY: 2 girls arrested after bullying victim's suicide

"We're looking at some of the children who unfortunately did not act like children, but acted like very mean-spirited adults," said Henry.

Henry also said the girls' parents may also be sued for negligence.

"In other words, these parents did not supervise their children in an appropriate manner. We're looking at other entities as well."

Henry stopped short of mentioning the Polk County School District, where Norman and investigators say the bullying began last year. Henry added that other teens who bullied Rebecca, but were not arrested, may face civil consequences.

"We view this as a joint enterprise among a number of different children," he said.

Norman and her attorneys hope legal action will cause a ripple effect of change.

"A little bit of me is angry. It took losing my daughter to attract this much attention," Norman said. "I'm grateful for it now because it might be able to save other kids and other parents from going through this."

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

PREVENTING BULLYING: 

Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education

SafeCircles- Tricia Norman launches online social media site that protects registered users from bullying. Click here for a tutorial.

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