tv The 11th hour CNN December 19, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm PST
ordinary people. wanting to help others. it certainly makes you wonder how you would react if you were in their shoes. thanks for watching. i'm anderson cooper. sfw and i'm robin meade. thank you so much for joining us. it is 11:00 in the east. do you know where your news is? i'm don lemon. this is the 11th hour. what you'll be talking about tomorrow on a night when everybody is talking about the outrage over duck dynasty, we're reminded that words have power. it's not just words from reality tv stars, it's also words from teenagers. in person and online. this is not just kids being kids this is the kind of thing that one heart broken mother says caused her 12-year-old daughter to kill herself but was bullying actually to blame? and do you know what your kids are doing and what they're doing online?
>> we'll goat to that story in just a moment. a statement out tonight from the "duck dynasty" family. while while some of phil's comments were course, he believes his feelings are groundings in the teaching of the bottle. love the lord with your god with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. phil would never insight or encourage hate. we're disappointed that phil is placed on hiatus for expressing his faith which is his constitutionally protected right. we have have had a successful working relationship with a & e. but as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. we're in discussions with a & e to see what that means for the future of "duck dynasty" and we'll have more later on. now i want to turn to the story that is every parent's nightmare. your 12-year-old daughter leaves for school one morning and you never see her again. it happened to rebecca
sedgwick's mother. was her daughter bullied to death or was something else going on? >> her brother and stepbrother that, was last christmas. >> to her family, rebecca was a normal 12-year-old kid with a big heart and goofy sense of humor. she seemed happy until the day she changed her screen name to that dead girl and then killed herself. >> bullying is bad. >> grady judd is the sheriff in poke county, florida. >> whether you stand over a 12-year-old child that's dead jumped from a cement siloh, your heart is broken forever. >> her mother says she was being bullied in school and online. hateful messages and texts tent on popular social sites such as facebook. >> i think the biggest one that stood out to me was drink, bleach and die. go kill yourself. you're ugly. nobody likes you. i hate you. why you are still alive?
>> officials at crystal lake ma middle school changed her classes to fwet her way from the bullies. when that didn't work, her mom pulled her out of sixth grade to home-school her instead. she thought she was safe. but for a text savvy child, shutting out the world is not simple. i sent her my cell phone to con tablgt her friends. >> rebecca found her way back online to the students allegedly tormenting her. >> she wanted to see what was gong in her world. and unfortunately in her world there were bully that's were tormenting her literally to her death. >> it wasn't just facebook and instagram, rebecca also had accounts on ask.fm and kick. >> it is clear that directions that these bullies were giving was kill yourself. you know, end your life because we hate you so much. >> it's unclear why rebecca ultimately snapped. cnn reviewed portions of her
journals and the police report. there were signs of family problems, evidence of bullying and a reported breakup with a boy. when an early september she climb the tower she could see from her home and jumped. >> two arrests we made last night. >> soon after, the sheriff arrested two of the girls who had apparently been bullying rebecca online. releasing the children's names even though they were minors. >> and she killed herself but i don't give a -- >> they were charged not for rebecca's death but for stalking, charges later dropped in exchange for court ordered counseling. although both girls posted nasty messages on social media sites through their lawyers, they have each denied responsibility for rebecca's death. >> they didn't get away with it at all had we not arrested them, they never would have been required or volunteered for such counseling. it was wayne-win. >> the sheriff overreacted by
charging the girls and that he failed to focus on all the other warning signs that rebecca was in trouble. for example, in her written chir journal she talks about suicide. i go to bed every night hoping it will be the last time. also, people don't know how it feels to be hated by everyone that used to be so close. online, rebecca posted the results of a depression test. while it's unclear if she took the test herself, it concludes, you're having suicidal thoughts. this is a serious warning sign and you must seek help quickly. there is also an instagram image that reads, sometimes i just want to disappear and see if anyone would miss me. sheriff judd said rebecca had been inundated with hateful comments on sites like ask.fm and kik is asking to get bullied. >> for anyone using or trying to monitor the sites, because posts can be made anonymously, it's
extremely gifl to say who is saying what and therefore very difficult to trace. >> rebecca's mom admits she didn't know the extent of her daughter's life online. and the signs of trouble brewing there. she and her attorney are now trying to get a law passed making parents of bullies libel for their children's behavior. >> it really starts at home. the children learn everything from their parents. >> bullying is illegal in florida. rebecca's lawyer wants to attach even stronger penalties including community service and juvenile detention. >> kids need to know it's actually a crime. >> while it's a start, none of it will take away the pain rebecca's mother feels every day. >> how do you deal with the silences that have been left by rebecca? >> i still talk to her. i sleep with one of her stuffed animals. >> she knows now what she would have done differently on that terrible day. >> i would have taken her cell phone in the room with me and when my alarm went off at 6:30, rather than jump in the shower
like i always dshgs i would have walked out there and just hugged her and said, baby, talk to me. >> now i want to bring in one of the girls who was accused of stalking rebecca. the charges against kaitlyn roman were dropped last month. she joins me now along with her mother. welcome to both of you. how are you doing, kaitlyn? >> i'm doing good. >> yeah? >> when do you first remember meeting rebecca? >> well, it was when i first started middle school in sixth grade. i met her in a class. instantly we became friends. >> what was she like? you were friends with each other, right? >> yeah. she was so nice and fun. i loved hanging out with her. he would do everything together. >> so what happened with that friendship? >> well, one of the girls had told me like rebecca was a liar and that i shouldn't be her friend. and i didn't want to get bullied
by her because she had all these other girls on her side. so i stopped being friends with rebecca. >> so whether did you become a girl -- the other girl accused in connection with this case? >> well, i met her at school, too in one of my classes i had also with her. >> yeah. did she bully rebecca? >> i don't know if she did. but according to the messages she did have some part in it. >> did you bully rebecca? >> i mean, i would probably could have handled things differently. but i don't believe that i bullied her. i think i could have handled things differently, yes. but i did not bully her. >> what would you have done differently? >> well, maybe i could have, like, not listened to guadalupe
and been her friend and stay there for her. but i was scared. i didn't want to get bullied. >> mom, i want to talk you to. the school informed that you kaitlyn was bullying your daughter? >> did the school -- >> that that your daughter was bullying kaitlyn. pardon me. >> that kaitlyn was bullying rebecca? >> yes. >> no. >> no, they did not call me. no, they did not. >> how did you find out? >> whether my daughter was arrested in my front living room. >> and you are -- i understand that, you know, as i reported at the top all the charges have been dropped. you dn find out until your daughter was arrested in your living room. i would imagine you're pretty angry about it. >> in a million years i never
thought that they would arrest kaitlyn. i thought they would have gone further into this. there were numerous people at kaitlyn's school that this happened. i did not think that they would be arresting my child. >> kaitlyn, did you -- >> and, yes -- >> go ahead, mom. >> and, yes, it upsets us greatly. and it makes -- it would make any patient angry to have their child dragged out in handcuffs out of their own home. >> kaitlyn dushgs no that he guadalupe told rebecca to drink bleach and die? what did you know about that? >> i didn't know that. but when i found out that she had said that, i thought oh, my god, how could she have said that? i had known guadalupe. i didn't think she could say something like that. >> did you know she was being picked on at school and online as well? >> i didn't know that. we had got me and her had got into a fight and i didn't know other people were bullying her.
i just know that guadalupe probably was and i didn't want to get bullied by the other kids. >> i'm sure you remember and all of your friends and people at the school remember when they found out about rebecca's death. >> yeah. when i found out, i was in class. they had said, yeah sh rebecca died. i was just like, no, she didn't. stop lying. i was like she can't die. she couldn't have. and then someone showed me on their phone and i was like oh, my god. she's gone. and i started to cry. i was so mad at the world, you know, that she was gone. >> kaitlyn, i want to ask you how -- if you have any advice for other young people. this san epidemic in the country not only bullying in person but bullying online. you see the reprecushions. you see the damage.
your friend took her own life. you were arrested along with other girls. what do you say to kids? >> stop being a bystander. speak up. it could cause someone's death. and you don't want to lose a friend. >> mom, what about the parent? what about parental responsibility? because there are experts who say that parents should be responsible. they should know what their child is doing. even if the children is a bully or is -- the child is the one who is being bullied. you have to know at all times what your kids are doing. >> i feel that parents should be more educated. the schools are now offering programs which i'm taking to find out how to get online to be able to check your kids' facebook, to be able to operate a computer because i didn't know
how. schools are offering those programs now and i'm taking full advantage of those programs and i want to make sure that my child is doing the responsible thing. >> so yur advice to parents is to know and to get informed, correct? >> if any child can get on a phone when you're not there, then at least be able to be there when you can be. the cell phone today for any child if they take it to school, you can't watch a cell phone. and that's the only kind of internet that me and my daughter had, was a cell phone. >> okay. >> kaitlyn, michelle, best of luck to you. thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> next, crucial question in all of this, what can parents do to stop online bullying? we're going to debate that. and whether parents can be held legally responsible much that's next. ♪
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mark, sorry i mispronounced your name there. do you think what these two girls did led to rebecca's suicide? >> i think it was a contributing factor. we can't make believe it was in and of itself the only thing that caused it. rebecca had some other concerns going onment that made her more susceptible to this negative influence. but you can't look at something like guadalupe's comments of drink bleach and die and not think it had a significant infec effect. >> all of the charges were dropped against the girls. yet their mug shots were put out there and names and information. do you that i is right, mark? >> honestly, i think we should be more cautious in how they approach prosecution. another problem is in florida law those actions were not illegal. we now have a bill pending in the florida legislature to make those type of activities illegal. but the sheriff tried to go forward on his stalking charge
and honestly with the pending laws it just didn't fit. we just need new laws to address it. >> doctor lieberman, you are a forensic psychiatrist. you counciled the roman family. how is kaitlyn dealing -- how is the family doing? i understand she in an anti-bullying program. >> well, you know, she's trying to hold up under all of. this but she's a victim as well. you know, her face being plastered all over the world essentially, made to feel guilty for what she did when really she wasn't a part of the bullying. it's very sad. so rebecca's mother wants to blame everyone other than herself. rebecca herself had been in the hospital about a year before, less than a year before, for having tried to cut her wrists. and so they were warned at that time that rebecca needed to be in psychiatrist treatment. and her mother didn't follow-through with that. there were lots of problems that rebecca had, problems with her
family, her father, you know, i'm not going to go into the details with. that but lots of family problems. and plus before that she had boyfriend problems. one boy in the school that guadalupe wanted. she wanted to get rid of rebecca so she could have her and so onment so those were bigger problems that any kind of and bullying. >> rebecca's parents are not here to defend themselves. and so i will ask the question. i'll play the advocate here and say isn't that blaming the victim? even kaitlyn just admitted she could have handled the situation better. >> kaitlyn felt very sad that rebecca died. she went over as soon as she heard about it. she went to the mother's house and she tried to tell her how bad she felt not because she bullied her but because rebecca wanted to be her friend and she didn't -- kaitlyn was caught in between. kaitlyn had been bullied. she was starting to say. and so she was kind of hiding behind her or needing guadalupe
as a protector. it's very sad all the way around. it's just that it's not right to blame these two girls that happened all these months later. we have to all look at our own responsibility in. this. >> speaking of responsibility, doctor, do you think that -- how do you feel about the parental responsibility here you? heard kaitlyn's mother say, listen, i didn't really -- i didn't know how to get online. the only thing i have is a telephone. i'm getting trained now. what is -- how are parents responsible here? >> i think that there is something very important here. the society we live in has become cyber. and filled with social networking. and it the is responsibility of every parent to be aware of this. it's not a matter of kids games. and tend of the day, parents have to know where their kids are hanging out. so if you're child is going out at 12 years of age to someone's house, you'd like to know where they're going, what time they're coming home. you set a curfew and you check
it out. when your kids are going online, it means the same thing. and that means if you say to your kids, i'm going to be part of your online presence. i'm going to check the sites. i'm going to be aware of where you are going to be. not only because i want to control you, but want to keep you safe. and the internet can be a wonderful place. we have lots of information. but it also can be a very dark and difficult place. the other part that has to be understood and i understand that dr. leberman wants to protect kaitlyn, tend of the day, schoolyard bullying is a very, very tough thing for most kids to take. there are few kids who are resill yenlt and able to rise to the occasion. but we know that cyber bullying is schoolyard bullying that becomes intensified. it is exaggerated. so everybody you know can come online and see your shame and see what has happened you to. and kids who do have psychiatric disorders railroad kids who have sexual or gender differences or
kids who are socially awkward are just more susceptible to the effects of bullying. >> an anti-bullying law was filed yesterday in florida. it's based on what happened to rebecca, correct? >> well, it is. we actually started that because of rebecca's event. and the senator is working on it as well. the bill that's been pending right now or filed doesn't address parental responsibility. i think it should. one that i drafted did. but at least it's a good start to make what these children are doing to each other. it's no the just guadalupe. being 10 and 12 years old is a horrible time for children to go through. we have to look at it. >> so because you said you wish it did, do you think parents should be held legally responsible? >> the bill we drafted said if the prosecutor can show gross negligence by a parent or just complete ignorance of their child's behavior online, then they should be held responsible. i know that's different to do.
let's be realistic. we hold parents responsible for their kids. they can't let them near guns or in the car. if a kid breaks a window down the neighborhood, mom and dad are responsible for. that the fact that they turned these kids into -- in the internet into a babysitter for the children only means that those children are on there without their the rules and maturity to act appropriately and the parents have to accept responsibility. >> all right. thank you. >> what about -- >> go ahead. >> what about being responsible like what rebecca's mother said, i don't mean to blame the victim. bullying is a horrendous problem all over. but rebecca's mother says she wishes she could have talked to her. she would have talked to her that morning. that's the key am that's what all parents should be doing. yes, they should be responsible. >> of course. >> go ahead. >> even those that are bumlied, of course, they need to be aware as well. all parents need. to the idea of not holding parents responsible is a mistake
and we're going sort of bear the fruits in the future if we're not careful. the kridz not going to get better if we don't help them. >> important conversation. i apologize for the delay there. mark o'mara and carol lieberman and harold kopowitz. >> what teenage bullies have in common with the star of "duck dynasty."
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we talked about the power of bordz, words from teenagers, words from reality tv stars, words from entertainers and politicians. now i want to share my response when a friend e-mailed me after i said on the show last night that "duck dynasty" star should not be fired for his offensive comments. he said he was disappointed in mement i said i believe in free speech. i don't think alec baldwin or paula dean should have been fired. they can be ridiculed and dragged officer the coals. it is our right of free speech to do it. but fired, no. i wouldn't want you to be fired for your opinions yushgs beliefs or something stupid coming out of your mouth. we all say dumb stuff from time to time.
learn from it, grow, and move on. so while i vehemently defend phil robertson's right to sat harmful words, i do think he should be more responsible, all of us should be more responsible to have a platform on a cable news network or a record label or a tv show is an incredible opportunity. and as a christian, mr. robertson could count his blessing. i'll see you back here next week at 7:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. for the 11th hour, i'm don lemon. >> good evening. welcome to cnn's best reporting all day and the breaking news tonight. we have a lot to tell you about beginning with the shocking new revelations about the "duck dynasty" star who made controversial comments about gays. wait until you hear what else he has said. also a terrifying crime caught on camera. you see this man fights back