15-year-old Felicia Garcia was literally bullied to death. The tormented State Island teenager killed herself by jumping in front of a moving train after being bullied over having sex with four football players. The sexual encounters were recorded and the bullying began.
One of Felicia’s friends stated, “Kids are saying she had sex with some guys from the football team at a party after the game.” “Later on they wouldn’t leave her alone about it. They just kept bullying her and bullying her.” On the Monday before her death, Felicia tweeted, “I can’t, im done, I give up.”
After being informed of the bullying Felicia’s school coordinated a mediation session with one of the football players, whom denied the allegations. After the mediation session Felicia ran into one of the football players and a conversation ensued, however Felicia seemed upbeat. Eerily Felicia’s Instagram update revealed her true feelings as she placed a picture of herself with the word “depressed” covering her eyes. Her caption read, ““Just because someone is smiling doesn’t make them happy.”
According to the NY Daily News once Felicia arrived at the Huguenot subway platform she handed her cell phone to a friend, walked to the edge of the platform, and as the train approached she said “finally , it’s here,” and fell backward into the path of the oncoming train.
Several students have reported that some members of the football team were responsible for the bullying that drove Felicia to commit suicide. Police are investigating a group of football players who allegedly bragged about having sex with Felicia at a party just days earlier. According to sources the school has suspended two students not on the football team for their role in the bullying.
Unfortunately, as an Internet Safety Expert I read too many stories that end like Felicia’s. I have always been a firm believer that self-esteem plays a huge role in a girl’s offline and online interactions.
As parents we can no longer focus solely on monitoring our kids online behavior, it’s time to take it offline as well. Why is it a young girl feels the need to post inappropriate photos, post inappropriate conversations, meet-up with strangers online, etc.? Girls who truly love themselves, understand their self-worth, know that they don’t have anything to prove, are more apt to make different decisions and think about the consequences of their actions. Young girls are beautiful and can live a life full of endless possibilities…they just need to know it. Regardless of what Felicia allegedly did, she did not deserved to be bullied. As adults we can make a difference in a young girl life with a kind word, a positive outlook, or a simple conversation.
It is also important for us to be active participants in our children’s online lives. If you see a post similar to Felicia’s Instagram or Tweet, it is a cry for help. Being actively involved means reviewing their profiles, setting privacy control, asking questions about what they are posting, and knowing their online friends. Our children’s lives could depend on our being in their “business.”
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