Two 12-year-olds have been charged with cyberstalking following the suicide of a middle school student in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Gabrielle “Gabbie” Green, 12-year-old, died on Jan. 10 after she was found at home unresponsive. She was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.
In a press release by the Panama City Beach Police Department, the arrests came after an investigation into the circumstances of Gabbie’s death, which revealed that she was potentially a victim of online bullying, reported the Panama City News Herald.
After an examination of cellphones and social media accounts, the police interviewed two 12-year-old suspects who allegedly confessed to cyberbullying Gabbie, knowing that their behavior would cause her emotional distress, said the News-Herald.
The two minors who cannot be identified attended the same middle school as Gabbie.
The police said in their statement that their investigation did not determine that cyberbullying was the sole cause of Gabbie’s death, just that it was occurring at the time of her death. The Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet released an official ruling on her cause of death.
Gabbie’s mother, Tanya Green, told the News-Herald that the arrests “were gratifying” after her daughter had to suffer in silence “with a smile on her face.” However, she put blame on the parents and the school system.
“It’s going to help others at her school,” Green said. “It’s going to start at her school. It’s going to help others around the world.”
In their statement, the police warned parents against allowing children and teenagers unrestricted access to social media accounts and the internet, as their investigation found that several middle school aged children with “unmonitored access to several social media platforms,” said the News-Herald.
“These specific cellphone applications have been found to be the root of several dangerous and negative situations, such as cyberbullying, sexting, and potential access by online predators,” the police said.