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May 27th, 2009
09:31 AM ET

Mom wants cyber bullies punished

The mother of a girl targeted in an online video by other girls says she wants more to be done in the case.

The mother of a girl targeted in an online video by other girls says she wants more to be done in the case.

What would you do if your sixth grade daughter was the target of a vicious internet video? Beth Smith is living that nightmare. Her daughter’s classmates, aged 11 and 12-years-old, made the clip called the “Top Six Ways to Kill Piper,” taking cyber- bullying to a disturbing new level.

What are school officials and police doing about it? Kiran Chetry spoke with Piper Smith and her mom Beth and asked how they first found out this video was online.

Beth Smith: My daughter perceived this girl as a friend of hers at school. They were friendly. And so we had no idea… Totally side-swiped by the idea that she would be this hateful. Piper came home from school on Wednesday the 6th and told me, “You know Mom, the kids are being mean at school. And I heard there's a video like this out there about me.”

I said, “You're kidding. That can't be.” The more we looked online and... Dad came home from work. He made the phone calls. And it was the first parent, the dad who said… he was busy making dinner and he'd get back to us.

Kiran Chetry: Let me ask Piper – what was your reaction when you knew this video was made?

Piper Smith: I guess I was really shocked that someone would do that to me. ‘Cause I thought we were really good friends and then she was two-faced to me. And they did this behind my back and I just didn't know of it until I actually saw the video and then I just couldn't believe that that was happening. I felt really, really numb.

Chetry: And Piper, you've since been back to school. Have you talked to any of these girls? Did they apologize? What's the relationship now?

Piper: Well, one of them called me and she told me “sorry” and I actually listened to it. But the other two, I was either in the shower or I was going to bed by then and I didn't really want to talk to them anyways.

Chetry: This is what the school district said in a statement they released. “When this matter impacted the student's ability to attend school, the district took immediate steps to appropriately discipline the students who had created the video. Since then, these students have expressed remorse.” Are you satisfied with that response?

Beth: No. I can’t imagine they’ve expressed their remorse to anyone except the school for the fact they got caught doing this. They haven’t expressed remorse to us in any form other than that night an hour after the discovery and we're on the phone with their parents and they're sobbing in the background – “Oh, I’m so sorry.”

Piper: They're sorry they got caught.

Beth: They're sorry they got caught. The school district did as little as they possibly could. They erred on the side of caution of the law and for the civil rights of the perpetrators. They didn't do anything to ensure her safety in school until… they suggested we call the sheriff from our home. So we did and we filed a police report.

Chetry: Here's what the sheriff said to us in a statement to CNN. They said, “This case is three weeks old. All parents were in agreement with the way the girls were disciplined. The case was not a prosecutorial case because the girls were 11 years old. We do not believe there was a real threat.” What is your response to the sheriff's statement?

Beth: Huge. They're covering themselves. I had to make four, five, six phone calls to finally get a hold of the detective. Apparently there are only three juvenile detectives in my district. And when he got a hold of me… he said he was familiar with the case. And it turns out, after I had to extract answers from this man, he said he had not seen the video that we had given to the deputy, he had not read my letter that I had sent by registered mail to the district, which is the only reason action was taken.

If I hadn't sent those letters registered mail to the district, we'd still be sitting at home wondering what's going on. That was the only reason those girls were expelled in the first place, that I started to make them think I would take a legal action, which is not what I wanted to do at all.

Chetry: What has been the response from other parents within the school? Is this a problem in your school and in your district?

Beth: Parents don't know what to do. We go to work every day. But the administration knows the ins and outs of the law. And they’ve got the attorneys there. It took the school three days to get me a letter, maybe two days. But it took two or three days to get a letter from the school summarizing what actions they had taken to protect my daughter at school and ensure her safety.

Chetry: I see you rolling your eyes, Piper. What's it been like to be back in school and be in classes with these girls?

Piper: I kind of felt intimidated by them. Because it was just the whole fact that the thing happened and they weren't doing enough. They were trying to do as little as possible to protect themselves from like a lawsuit and stuff like that.

Chetry: And what are you going to do moving forward, Beth?

Beth: What am I going to do next? I'm sick to my stomach every day that I have to send her to school. I'm sad that I have to ask teachers to be vigilant for her safety. I have pictures in my head of the movie "Pay it Forward" where the kid has a knife. They say they can't inspect the other kids’ backpacks for knives, guns, poisons, because of their civil rights. So, yeah, it makes me sick. I'm nauseous every day I send her to school.


Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (512 Responses)
  1. Jesse

    It's true that there are exceptions out there of good kids coming from bad parents (and bad from good) but by and large parents are the biggest influence on their kids. There is a massive population of people in this country who have absolutely no business being a parent. Hell, I wouldn't let these people take care of my cat, much less a child.

    People seem to be in love with the idea of parenthood, regardless of if they're actually ready or not. It would be VERY refreshing to finally hear some people say that they're taking the responsible route and waiting to have kids....or better yet, deciding be Childfree for the entirety of their lives.

    Children left to their own devices are savage. Like soldiers operating without the restraint of NCOs and officers, children without solid parenting will be out of control. Bullying is just one result of failed parenthood.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  2. Jayson

    Instead of crying about it and complaining about it and not getting anything done, I think Piper needs to confront the bullies directly (not having mommy or daddy call their mommies and daddies) and fight her own battles. The only people that get bullied are those that are easy targets, because bullies are inherently cowards – that is why bullies work in groups or pick on smaller kids.

    I was bullied in first grade by a bunch of fourth graders, and it didn't stop until I snapped and puched one of them in the face repeatedly like Ralphie in A Christmas Story – that was the last time I was bullied. Fighting back may not be PC, but it is the best way to stop bullies.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  3. Marisa

    This is absolutely atrocious - cheers to this mother and daughter for coming forward, because doing so it hard to do. The students involved in the video should all be expelled from school and/or receive judiciary punishment. The school needs to send a severe anti-bully tolerance message. I feel that we need to react just as swiftly to these situations as we do to other types of threats (i.e. Columbine's students threat to kill classmates). I feel bad that Piper has to experience this during school, which should be an environment for learning.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  4. Phil

    Very similar story happened to our 8th grade son a few years ago. He was being bullied by the high school football star. The coaches, of course, never did anything about it (they're the WORST) until I went up there and screamed at the head coach at the top of my lungs and told him that I was about to kick his a$$ myself if something didn't get done.

    Prior to this, we had gone to teachers, principals and the administration. Nothing got done. It's all about dumbing everything down. They want to coddle the troublemakers and let the good kids get punished and suffer. The school systems today make me sick. We ultimately ended up moving to a much smaller school just outside of the city. Best thing we ever did for our kids.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  5. johnjacobjingleheimer

    eeek...bullies.

    That has never happened before....

    Wake up people. It is in our DNA to bully.

    Some mothers take care of it in various ways, this one just choose to go on national television and tell everyone that her kid was spoofed on a video.

    The authorities were contacted....what more would she like done. this isnt a crusade it is a poor attempt at getting on television....next a book deal.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  6. pat davidson, league city texas

    my baby sister had lsd put in her drink when she was 15.. they then locked her in a closet for four hours. this was done by her best friends on the cheerleading squade at edison high/jr she never was right afterward and died at about 30 years old from an over dose.

    my mom knew about it casue she pulled her out of the closet to save her..

    i also was bullied and one of the good things from it, is learning to identify when someone else is vulneralble to it and having the strong feeling to protect them. not sure i would have had this feeling if i hadnt been bullled. so i guess there is a positve that can come from it as one grows stronger.

    pat

    May 27, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  7. Mike B.

    If the state's action was inadequate or meaningless, then Piper Smith should be suing the girls who made and posted that video and the school board, principal and administrators for defamation, infringement of civil rights, cyber bullying, criminal harassment.

    There are a lot of lawyers who would salivate at taking such a case pro bono. Fight back instead of turning the other cheek. Politeness is being taken as a sign of weakness.

    Has the offending video been removed from the site and have those girls been banned from using the Internet?

    May 27, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  8. Mondodog1

    This sucks.... however, it appears to me all parties responding quickly in "real world" time. In addition they actually were efforts by the offending parties to correct their behavior and apoloigize, so it is up to the "MOM" and daughter to accept that, and move on, versus making a media circus about this. Girls certainly need counseling about the "hate" they were spewing.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  9. OllyvanZapp

    Hello....
    Bullying is not even the proper word for this unlawful act allowed in Public Schools. Harassment and slander is, which are Laws that adults are sewed for in court. Since the Bible and the Paddle have been taking out of school, the DOE has not developed a system to civilize kids. I know college kids that still have no clue of half the laws.
    It is time for the DOE to teach Laws and have the kids sign off on each one at the beginning of the school year, every year. Plus a system needs to be developed to report these crimes immediately.
    Stop Unlawful Acts in Public schools. Teach the Laws, have each kid sign these contracts yearly. If they break these laws anyway, get them out of our schools. Why should an uncivilized criminal be allowed to go to a Public School anyway. Put them all in Military schools. That would be a positive way to handle the real problem.
    Olly van Zapp

    May 27, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  10. Uttam Saha

    Beth,

    Hope you get the courage and strength to fight mean spirited children and do nothing school administrations. We want these kids need to
    know right & good vs. wrong & bad.

    Thank you for sharing your story and wish your daughter the very best.
    (I have one 11yrs & 9 yrs old daughters).

    May 27, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  11. THINKchua

    I know this situation upset people and feelings were hurt, but where was a law broken? Nowhere it seems. Yet she wants to involve the police and have the school system discipline the other girls, maybe it is time for this girl to get a lesson in not being a victim and learning that others have the right to free speech. Really, all these people complain about government spending and taxes, having police get involved in kids being mean to each other in the school yard is not a good way to spend money. Stop being victims.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  12. Robbie

    People (Adam, Jim, Allan), what is WRONG with you??? Have you NEVER heard of harrassment, terroristic threatening and distrubing these peace? These are ALL crimes, crimes to which the perpetrators have alread admitted; YES, they have commited crimes and YES it's time that the prosecuting attorney in this district face facts: that if no action is taken, they are simply breeding another branch of the Manson Family. They may appear harsh but I certainly don't think the Manson Family members spent their formative years baking muffins!!!

    May 27, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  13. The Truth

    Why is the school involved? Unless the video was made and distributed on school grounds the school has no responsibility in this. Its like a kid beating up your child in the neighborhood do you take it to the school, no you handle it.

    This is a matter between the parents and if the parents do not punish their children to the level deemed appropriate by the victim's parents then take them to court. Even if the police do not do anything, the parents can still sue them. I don't like sueing but if the police will not do anything and those parents are not properly punishing their kids then you still have the courts.

    This means, wait for it, the parents have to take responsibility for their kids actions. A good parent would punish their children for making a video like this. The police and school should not get involved at all, the parents need to do their jobs. If they don't then punish the parents in the courts.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  14. Ashley

    Why are parents not responsible for what these kids are doing. No child should be afraid to go to school because they are teased or harrassed. It is amazing to me that the offenders parents arent out ragged at thier kids actions. While I dont think kids should be babied I do think that every parent should be more involved in thier kids actions. And that just as much teaching about standing up for your self and being strong willed should be taught to the "victims" before they are made real victims in the real world.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  15. Cindy

    Sue the school. I hate lawsuits, but it's the only way to get schools to listen. They care if you go after their money...but they don't seem to care much if someone goes after their students. Unbelieveable. Kids are literally bullied to death. Many have commited suicide to stop the bullying. They seriously saw ending their own lives as the only solution to stop the bulling. They had given up on seeing the schools or teachers as someone to stop the bullying. So they chose suicide to stop it themselves. These kids are old enough to create the video, old enough to come up with six ways to kill a classmate, old enough to select which classmate to target, old enough to know how to post it on you-tube....they are therefore old enough to be considered a threat and to be charged with harrassment and terroristic threats. They should be in MANDATORY counseling. If I were neighbors of these girls, I'd be closely watching out for my pets and kids. These are not innocent children. They even mentioned suicide as a method of killing – which means that they know about the kids that kill themselves to end bullying. Nothing kids do is surprising these days. Age 11 is no longer an age of innocent little girls and boys. They beed to be punished AND sent to therapy to see why they harbor so much hate and anger. If the 11 year olds are like this, what on earth are their parents like and/or what are the parents doing to their own kids?

    May 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  16. Michelle

    This is the result of an ENTIRE SOCIETY of wrongdoings. We want to be so politically correct and so "liberal" and "free" that our children have no boundaries. The parents can't punish them because it's abuse; the schools can't punish them because it's violating some ridiculous rights; the entertainment industry can't be held accountable because it's their right to sell sex and violence.

    And it's creeping up the ladder to adults who run around like children. I'm 30 years old and I've got forums dedicated to hating me over my opinions of a television show. This wasn't the internet I signed onto when I was Piper's age.

    We reward hatred and controversy and mock love and compassion, it's no wonder we've got eleven year olds making videos on how to kill classmates.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  17. Dcik

    Get over it!...

    May 27, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  18. Johnny V

    The quickest and only way for bullying to stop is to put the beat-down on the lead bully. That will end it, guaranteed.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  19. Roy

    Adam, did you not read the article? Threatening to kill someone is against the law, making a video on 5 ways to kill a person is indeed a threat. Yes it's waste of your taxpaying money to ensure the saftey of children attending school.....*sarcasm*

    May 27, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  20. jake

    OMG. Allan. are you not in the real world? haven't you've seen what the so called "bullies" are doing these days. Advanced they are, and kids are being hurt, killed and victimized with physical and emotional scars. Seriously, it's not the same as decades ago. WAKE UP! Beth and Piper you stay focused on your safety and keep fighting this.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  21. RickJames

    It's not the schools responsibility to police what these kids do that isn’t school related. It is their responsibility to protect the kids while they are in school. Beth Smith should file an harassment lawsuit against the kids and their parents for providing them the means to create this video and distribute it.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  22. John H

    This is awful...
    I am very confused that one week you read that a young teenager is being charged as an adult sex offender for sending pictures of herself naked to other kids, yet these kids make a video on how to kill this young girl and they get their hands slapped... SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG!!!!

    May 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  23. Paula

    Something very bad has happened in our culture. It has become okay for kids to threaten, torment, ridicule, insult and hurt other kids - with very little in the way of intervention from the school administrators, teachers or police. How is this fair for the students who ares imply trying to go to school, learn, and make it through the day without being initimidated and harrassed? I think it is an outrage that schools cannot or will not figure out an effective, adequate response to these situations. And what about the civil rights of the victims? Why is it that the civil rights of perpetrators are paramount? School officials across the country, by and large, have done a miserable job understanding and addressing the widespread and damaging bullying that is going on. Parents and victims of bullies, take a stand!!! There are plenty of people out there who are SICK OF IT, but the only way to get action is to speak up, over and over again. We have to do whatever it takes to keep our children safe in school. They are counting on us.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  24. Janice

    So sorry to hear about this case...
    A similar thing happened to my son, and for his safety I felt I needed to switch schools. I was advised by the police, children's services and an attorney that I should sue the offending children's parents for the cost of tuition at the new school. I am not one to go out and sue people, but in cases where the safety of a child is at stake, I would advise it. The parents CAN be held responsible. Additionally, if the video was made at school AT ALL, the school can be held responsible. If it was not made at school, that limits their responsibility dramatically.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  25. Michele

    Kids have been bullied for decades....That pecking order...So, what? That doesn't make it right. Kids are becoming more cruel and devious, with parents and teachers ignoring the obvious. And why can't school bags be checked? Many schools now have bag checks...The girls that made that video are the ones that brought that action down upon the other students....These kids need therapy, and shouldn't be allowed into back into any school without proof that they are under the care of a professional..one not tied to the schools...Also, any tutoring of these degenerates should be the reponsibility of their family, not the school district...May I remind you that they are not the victims...

    Allan, it's people like you that have no concept of true moral value and promote that theory, Boys will be boys"...What a disgrace! Hopefully you are not a parent!

    May 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  26. Frank Rizzo

    people, please.

    If anything the school has no responsitibility to even listen to this nonsensical bull...Did the school encourage the bullying?
    Did the parents inform the school of what had happened in a timely fashion?

    Why is the school being blamed...why not the sheriff's office?

    If the school tells the parents their child is safe...and the child NEVER reports anything to them....they are just as clueless as the parents were in this situation.

    Blame the bullys parents for poor parenting skills.

    as for the 2 to 3 days it took to get back to the parents...the school should be faulted for not calling the parents directly....

    May 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  27. Rumseld

    This is a symptom of the excesses of our culture. Children have always had to deal with some level of bullying, but this is simply too much. Beth needs to keep pushing loudly and band together with other parents in the same situation. This needs to be brought to the highest level of recognition in this country. If schools aren't safe, what is? And, don't expect concerned parents to drop their children off at these war-zones.
    Too many school administrators are simply lazy and unfocused to the matters at hand and too many teachers are burned out.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  28. Jayson

    This is a clasic tale of Parents in America falling in their responsibilities of proper child rearing. Its easy to blame the media, movies, online etc.. however the ultimate power to guide the children is not schools but HOME.
    Parents are occupied by their own agendas and that leaves children to their own risky behaviours. And instead of reprimanding the children, parents blame others for their children's rancour. What a pathetic behavior.
    You shall reap what yoy sow parents.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  29. Mitch

    Hell, Just take them to the hood, and let the street boys bully them and then they will know what it feels like to really be intimadated. A sort of 2009 scared straight type of thing.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  30. Brian

    Cyber bullying? Really? Kids (and some adults for that matter) have been bullied by various means probably since the dawn of civilization. The idea that we are treating cyber bullying any different than regular bullying is absolutely ridiculous. If you want to discuss bullying in general, then fine, but don't call it "cyber" just so you can make is sound like something other than what it is, the same thing that has been happening to kids forever.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  31. John

    These kids are making terrorist threats to intimidate. Why aren't they in Gitmo?

    May 27, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  32. Keith

    Okay, I understand the anguish. However, in this time of OBAMAISM, cant we extend an olive branch to all the folks involved, because there seems to be an amount of creativism and skill in the making of this video. Maybe something good can come of this.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  33. Mike

    Good for you Piper! By standing up to those little crazy girls you exposed them for the bullies that they are and YOU are to be commended! Those parents of those little girls should be ordered to to take them to Child Psychiatrists.. The girls should have to perform community service in a home for mentally disabled children.. And go before the entire school audience and publically apologize to Piper.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  34. Matt

    You should get the Sheriff, the Principal and someone from the school board to respond to your allegations, so when re-elections come around, there in-action is part of the public record.

    Make a stink and things will start moving.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  35. amy

    I would agree that beth's mom should seek punishment for the kids who did her daughter wrong. Can you imagine at such tender ages they conceptualized ways to "KILL" how much more when they are all grown ups?? I find it appalling how kids who have such thoughts! My daughter who is teased about almost anything at school has learned to retort and fight back on any verbal abuses. I hope I dont sound mean but shouldnt parents teach their "bullied" children to fight back when they are being mistreated? As for parents, ensure that we are always there for our kids 100% so that in case our children encounter anything drastic they are assured that someone is on their side.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  36. Maddie

    another thing that helped me get through this that might be worth a try was some one on one time with a therapist. NOT one that is associated with the school. they may be able to give insights to the issue that may not have been discussed yet, such as changing schools or altering class scheduals. mine also got in touch with the school and defended me on more than one occasion. its just a suggestion but having another trust worthy adult might help.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  37. Steve, Columbia SC

    jeff

    Your comment that it is wrong to blame the parents is totally disgusting and a perfect example of what is wrong in this nation regarding the violent and immoral actions of our youth. The parents are TOTALLY responsible for the actions of their young daughters and should bear the full consequences of the courts, law enforcement, and public opinion.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  38. Ann

    Beth,

    You must vigorously pursue this. Conspiracy to commit murder is a serious crime. If they had just said they were going to kill her it would not be so serious in the eyes of the law, just a threat, but under the law once they write out a plan or video to commit murder it becomes Conspiracy, which is a severe crime that can land them in jail for years. If kidnapping was part of the video than it becomes a federal crime and you can involve the FBI. I would get a lawyer and I would remind the local police department about the seriousness of the crimes committed. I would make a call to my local FBI office, they may not be able to intervene but it may bring home the seriousness of the crime these children committed to the local sheriff. I am sorry doesn’t cut it. Pull her out of the school and move. A how to kill video is not a joke it shows serious psychopathic tendency’s and goes way beyond bullying. You have to be strong you cant care what the school thinks or the other parents or even the neighbors anyone who is not behind you should stop and seriously consider what they would do if their child’s life was threatened. You have every right to be seriously concerned and demand action when someone lays out a plan on video to kill your child. Its beyond appalling Go to the Attorney General of Washington state, call the governor make a huge stink! Call the head of the school district and the sheriff’s office and started demanding people who mishandled the case be dismissed. Unfortunately the squeaky wheel gets the grease and you should make as much noise as possible because this is appalling behavior by all involved.

    Ann
    Boston, MA

    May 27, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  39. teddy

    I agree with rt who said the mom is making things worse. I heard the CNN interview this morning and the mother has taken what was a bad situation and turned it into a disaster. The child simply parrots things he mothers says... she has given the child a spin against the schools that will warp the kid. The mother was totally unsympathetic on tv. Serious consideration needs to be given to the idea that the mother overreacted to stupid behavior by 11-year-old girls. Sadly, the daughter is probably more messed up now.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  40. Mike Alcorn

    This is a classic example that parents need to start being parents again and stop letting the TV's, schools, and government try to parent them. I am not talking about Beths mother either. I didnt watch the video or read the article, but I would be willing to bet that Beths mom has taken the necessary steps and was probably blown off by the other parent(s). Listen though, We need God back in this country. It takes God changing the hearts of men and women before a nation will ever change.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  41. Dave

    Adam writes "May 27th, 2009 10:50 am ET

    Should those children be punished? Absolutely. By their *parents*, not the judicial system. I’m sorry, but being mean is not against the law. Take it up with the children’s parents, and if they are not responding to your satisfaction you’ll just have to suck it up. Trying to get the authorities involved in something of this nature is a waste of my taxes."
    Threatening someone with a video on six ways to kill them is a crime Adam. Do the kids actually have to stab the girl to be arrested, knucklehead.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  42. Kteacher

    I'm a teacher at a small district and see bullying starting with my young children in class. I do my best to stop it from happening, but the worst part Beth is that most of these kids get it from thier parents. Their parents bully them and teach them that it's ok to bully others, that it's a part of growing up.
    The district is in a tight spot, they have very little that they can legally do with bullying, especially when they're not getting any back up from the parents at home, but a threat of any kind needs to be taken seriously!!
    These parents should be taking more responsibility for their kids and their inappropriate actions. Unfortunately they probably won't.
    Piper, keep your head up. What goes around comes around. When you're a successful woman, you'll see.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  43. Melissa

    I'm with the mother on this.

    I suffer through being bully'd in school and it was absolutely horrible. There were times I wanted to die. I spent most of my time alone on the other side of the playground where the baseball ground was so that I didn't have to hear them. The problem was that I'd go back into the school and have to deal with it again.

    Mind you, it wasn't as bad as it is now with the internet, but it was horrible. I'm a girl and was often punched, and kicked by the boys in the school. And I'd be the one that got into trouble because I swore at them while they got away with it.

    My mother was constantly talking to the school Principal, the teachers, and even the other parents, and nothing was ever done. There was an attitude of "kids will be kids" and then shrugging it off. Even when the teachers were right there witnessing what was being done to me.

    Everything about me was a target for those nasty children and no one but my mother ever did anything to try to help.

    Enough is enough. Bullying has to stop.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  44. Nesha

    Wow...Allan..this was not a prank...This was a threat! Putting a whoopie cushion is a chair is a prank or T.P'ing a house maybe. But making a video about ways to kill someone I would take it serious. I hope you don't have kids because it's obvious you would sweep it under the rug. When parents do that and chalk it up to 'kids being kids', thats when we here about the kids who hung himself or shot himself because he felt no adults would listen or cared. A few years back, a neighbors son shot and killed the ring leader of the group that bullied him. They were all teenage boys but he was small for his age so the other ones would tease him and gang up on him. Now he is in juvenile with "real' offenders and lost the rest of his childhood.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  45. Mark

    I was raised, and raised my children, with the ideas that (a) we are all responsible for our own actions, and (b) the purpose of society is to protect the good and punish the bad. However, in today's society which enshrines rights and deplores responsibilities (as if the two could exist separately), the good must suffer while the government protects the evil.

    If this continues, society will collapse when the "me first and to hell with everyone else" crowd becomes the majority – and that's very close to happening – because at that point, EVERYONE will be a "me first" just to survive.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  46. Paul

    Beth hang in there and this too shall pass. However, let this be a learning lesson that there are and there will always be two-face people, whom you will be interacting in times to come. People in school, college, mall, workpalce, etc. Do not be afraid of them but once they know your strength and your position they will move back.

    I have always followed this 2-point policy:
    1. You can never trust your eyes.
    2. All relations should be close but limited

    Don't back down but with prayer and wisdom you can keep these 'flies' away from you.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  47. Heather

    It is terrible that this happened, but I'm questioning the school's responsibility here. Are schools responsible for student behavior outside of school? I'm assuming this video wasn't made at school – why is the school being held responsible? The role of the parents of the guilty students has been too underplayed in this.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  48. Erin

    I can't even image what it's like to be a kid in school now. When I was being bullied over a decade ago, it was basically name calling, hair pulling, being put in trashcans or lockers... The fun part is that all of this was because I was short!

    In high school I had a couple cyber bullies sending IMs pretending to be other people (crushes, friends) then taking what I said and using it against me.

    Schools claim to have "no tolerance" bullying policies, but that's just to save their rears. They really don't care! The star athletes will never get in trouble, and the elitist "popular" crowd will continue to get away with everything.

    Bullying is not acceptable. All children caught bullying should get detention or suspension. They need to know that saying mean things is NOT going to get them places!

    Plus, the bullies grow up to be bullies in the work place, which makes life rather difficult.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  49. Jeff H

    These girls may have learned their lessons and may never do something like this again, but where in the world is their punishment? Bulling is one thing to punish, but when it's about killing someone something more than just a suspension should be done.

    In my current high school a student(s) does something like this and they'll be lucky if they get off with JUST an entire year suspension.

    And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the school does have the athority to search book bags and lockers. In my current school the local police come in with drug sniffing dogs and walk around the buildings the few times. If anything the school has probable cause to search their belongings just because of the video.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  50. CB

    This parent and child should get all the support they need from the community, the school and the police department, however, what they got was a brush off. We had better realize bullying is not just a prank, it is harmful and causes unnecessary pain and suffering.
    These pampered children who feel they can do what they want, to whomever they want, are the spawn of parents who believe their children are entitled to do what they want as long as they did not physcially harm Beth. How sick.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  51. Kathleen

    Why is it that anytime a child may hear of a perceived threat to the school they are told "tell a teacher", but when an obvious threat ("How to KILL (!?!?!) Piper" video) is handed to the police and school, they do nothing. What makes these administrators think that the next time it wont be another disturbed child with access to his father's guns who made the video? What makes this any less of a threat? just because it comes from 11 year old girls? an 11 year old girl can cause the same damage as a 17 year old boy with a weapon!
    This administration's reaction is going to teach the children in their schools NOT to tell if bullying goes to far or threats of murder are uttered. This ignorance is what brought about Columbine... ignoring the problem will NOT make it go away.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  52. michael roberts

    Stay off computer – drama over -

    May 27, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  53. Sarah

    I have to say I was a parent on the other side of a bullying incident. My son who was in third grade at that time was bullying a boy at school. Teasing him, calling him names, etc. Nothing physically violent, but mentally mean. When the school notified me of this I was livid! Just beside myself. I thought I was raising a kind-hearted, caring, little boy. The school did suspend him for a day and we talked about bullying and how that makes someone feel. I even shared with him a bullying incident that happened to me when I went to school, and how badly that made me feel. He then lost everything he plays with at home, and I made him write an apology note to the student, his teacher, his principal at school, and this little boys parents. I made him hand-deliver every one of those notes (even to the little boy's parents). The little boy's parents talked a bit to my son but eventually shook his hand and told him they forgave him. I'm happy to say that this little boy and my son are still good friends.

    My son was 9 at the time and that seemed to have taught him a lesson. I think parents that let their children get away with bullying only hurt their child in the long run. Bullying is a terrible thing and no child (or adult) should be subjected to that. Parents need to let their children take responsiblity for what they did and teach them to try to make the situation right.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  54. Diane, St. Petersburg

    I very much understand what you are going though. My son was bullied by one particular family at our small Christian school in St. Petersburg, Florida, from 5th through 7th grades. In hindsight, I should have taken him out of that school, but I didn't know how bad it was until later.

    While I would never, ever approve, I do understand how some children that are bullied take matters into their own hands. A person can only take so much. Good luck to your family.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  55. Le

    These repercussions are what drives kids to believe that these actions are "OK". Publicly declaring your hate for someone in the form of killing her/him and all you get is a small talk?! suspension?! how is that fair? how is that fair to the child that is forced to walk through the same hallways? how fair is it that this child is forced into a corner with everyone else staring at her.

    The brats that made this video should be forced to truly examine their actions, along with their parents.

    We probably will never know if the right actions were taken, but I hope that the family can live freely without this torment in the near future.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  56. bobbi

    If the video was not made at school or uploaded at school, the school has very few options. As an educator I really wish parents would stop abdicating their responsibility an expecting teachers and administrators to do their jobs.

    If two children get out of school, walk across the street and proceed to get into a fight, parents want the school to do something about it. After school hours and off of school grounds WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN.

    My issue is not that the Smith family is upset. I am a parent and fully understand the need to ensure the child's safety. The parents of the other children involved should be dealing with their daughters. On what planet is it the schools discipline children for thing that are done outside of school?

    I also struggle with the complaint against the police department. Just because someone says their want to hurt you, doesn't mean that you are in imminent danger. Some preteen and teen aged girls can be quite mean, but that is not a crime. Once again, this is a lack of parenting issue and a reflection on our society as a whole. I just don't think the school and police are refusing to to their jobs.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  57. Amber

    This story touches so many nerves in my system! This country needs to understand how devastating bullying can be! That is a direct case of harassment and I absolutely believe that Piper and her parents should prosecute for damages. I was a victim of bullying during my junior high and high school days and it was awful. I was afraid to go to school every day and I began to have anxiety and panic attacks. Bullying is horrible and such a long lasting affect – ESPECIALLY ON GIRLS!!! These kids who bully have no idea about the lasting long term damage they are doing to their piers. It's all about being popular and cool. Now that we have the internet it's only getting worse. I now have a 12 year old daughter and I am happy that she is stronger than I was and she sticks up for herself. But she is very clear on what bullying is and that it is NEVER acceptable in any case. To Piper and her parents PLEASE fight for what is right. They had no right to do that to you and they should be punished. I feel for you, I know exactly how you are feeling.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  58. rt

    Please... The mom is making this worse. Bullying has gone from the playground to the computer and the mom should have contacted the parents privately and let them know what their kids were doing behind their backs while on the computer. By taking this fight to the school she has crossed the fragile line of school/home. The schools have hundreds if not thousands of other kids to look after and they cant afford to get involved in cases outside the schoolyard. Not to mention the mom has further EMBARRASED this poor little girl because, thanks to google, she will never be able to escape these memories. For the rest of her life she will have the burden because her mommy created a permanent record of her pain and suffering... way to go mom...

    May 27, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  59. Deborah

    At the end of the day, it is the parents of those girls who are at fault. They are obviously not being vigilant of their children. Not watching their internet access...assuming their children are innocent and perfect. They did not teach their children to respect others. You dont have to like everyone...but you need to respect them. Children do and act as they are taught.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  60. Alison Sokolosky

    wow thats absolutely horrible. i've had several similar things happen to me during middle and high school but definitely not that bad. i agree that schools do what they can to cover themselves with the least amount of effort necessary. its interesting to see how different the response is between different schools (i'm assuming this happened at a public school – i went to a public middle school and a catholic high school).
    this little girl is so lucky to have parents who are concerned and doing everything they can to make sure nothing like this happens again. i'd be interested to find out how many other students this type of bullying has happened to who did not have such concerned parents to bring this to the media and authorities. in my experience the school system and authorities don't listen to young people unless there is an adult doing the speaking. best of luck and god bless

    May 27, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  61. SebaSong2

    I do not understand why bullies get away with what they do. Maybe the criminal code should be revised to include an offence called "psychological assault." This is frightening there is a case in Toronto where a young girl was murdered after such threats. Her parents were both police officers and they did not take action. At least, these children should be charged with uttering death threats. This is very serious and should be taken seriously.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  62. Robbie

    This is horrible and it's horrible that it takes publicity to get even a slight reaction from school administrators. Does it take another Columbine to get the attention of schools??? In virtually every case of violence about which I have read, the signs were there and the signs were ignored until it was too late. I sincerely hope that officials at some point realize just how big a problem they have on their hands and good for you and Piper in going public with this problem. I only hope that Piper comes through this a much stronger person, and I hope that in some way officials impress upon the students in the wrong just what a terrible mistake they have made before they get even braver to do even worse things. Without intervention, these juvenile delinquents WILL get worse.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  63. Jordan

    Threatening death is not bullying, Allan. It's threatening death.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  64. Amber

    More should be done with this school and the kids who did this. I don't understand it is harassment and I thought schools no longer tolerate that??!

    Shame on the kids that did this to Piper and the parents of those kids,
    As for the school, man up.

    Amber
    Portland, OR

    May 27, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  65. Lisa

    The actions of the school, the parents and the police department are deplorable. Those 3 girls should be expelled from school and charges should have been brought against them (at least mandatory counseling).

    SUE!!!

    Sue the school, the parents and the police department. The school and police department are so worried about legal actions taken that they are not responding to your needs. Give them something to worry about and contact an attorney for yourself and your daughter.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  66. uisignorant

    So making a list will get you arrested, but making a video threatening someone gets you nothing?

    May 27, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  67. Maddie

    i just wanted to let your daughter know that she's not alone. i was bullied as well in high school and had the same problems with the school officials. all i can say is hang in there girl, it may not seem like it now, but it really does get better. just keep your head up and believe in yourself and who you are, not what other people think. there is a light at the end of that long dark hallway, you've just got to keep pushing forward.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  68. Allison

    My goodness...This girl Piper is so beautiful. Sometimes girls can be jealous and take out their frustration on someone like her. If my daughter was someone involved in such cruelty, she would definately know how to respect others..summer school, NO TV for a YEAR, etc!! These girls SHOULD be punished! ABSOLUTELY! Shame on the adults for sweeping this under the carpet!

    May 27, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  69. Lisa

    Go ahead, ask me why I homeschool my kids. Like it isn't tough enough being a tween. Chin up sweetheart–unlike those idiots, you've got decent, supportive parents, and chances are you'll outstrip them in the long run.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  70. Kate David

    It is horrible.

    We need to step up actions towards offenders. I believe in civic rights though but a case like this is deserving of a greater punishment. If they are old enough to design a plot like this, they should be old enough to face the music. Enough is enough.
    Over protection is giving this kids undue rights. We have been having cases of suicides resulting from dangerous plot as the one in question. What is the law doing about this? And the schools, what are they doing?

    May 27, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  71. Sky

    The students who did this need to be required to take counseling and sensitivity classes. Their parents need to be required to take parenting classes.

    These children learned that cruel behavior is okay from someone, and it probably wasn't taught at school.

    The victim and her parents should receive monetary compensation, even if it is a very small amount, and it should have to be earned by the girls who did this, not just handed over as a check from their parents.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  72. Anne, Illinois

    My suggestion is to find your local home schooling group and hook up with them. If your daughter is a self starter and responsible, she can complete all her courses with full curriculum programs online. Home school groups are involved in many activities including sports, music, art, 4-H theater, church, volunteering, etc. So, the kids are not isolated by any means. The sky is the limit when you home school!

    Blessings,

    Anne

    May 27, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  73. MRB

    I am just sick that this kind of bullying is still treated as a "kids will be kids" thing. The right thing to do is to scare the crap out of the perpetrators – perhaps using mandatory counseling sessions held at a courthouse/police station – so they will get the message that it is NOT PERMITTED, and a second strike is an expulsion so the parents can then deal with their little darlings.

    Beth, don't back down. Having your child see you protecting her is critical to her getting past this.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  74. Allan

    Kids have been bullied at school for decades, they are simply more technologically advanced now. More than likely this was a harmless prank and by making such a big deal with the police and school did more harm than good for this little girl. Do you think she is better off now, the baby of the school, having everyone look at her as the squeeler over a joke. Do you she will be able to find friends at this school now.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  75. Jim

    I understand that this may not be the most popular response, but parents need to start teaching their kids that there will "always" be someone that does not like them. There used to be a saying "sticks & stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" and it worked! The reason that the police cannot do anything is because no law has been broken. The school district does not have any jurisdiction over the internet, but they did what they could. We really need to remember that although we may not always like what people say about us, but what is most important is what we think about ourselves.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  76. Jim

    My son was bullied very badly at school for the past 2 years. It was brought to the school's attention multiple times. The whole mess climaxed with my son bringing a small knife to school in an attempt to simply scare the others away from him as the teachers were doing NOTHING to curtail the bullying. My son was suspended for 3 days over the knife and the bullies each only got 1 day. The bullying continued again after a short respite and we have removed him from that school as a result. Here is the kicker, it was a private school. The bullies could have either been kicked out or kept out! There was no requirement for them to be at that school. They had a history of this behavior at other schools and they were reprimanded multiple times for it at this school.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  77. Erin

    I'm not a parent but this is what makes me wonder whether the children I will have should be home schooled. Yes public school gives them the socializing network they need but do they need this kind of networking? My 14 year old niece has been moved from school to school for problems very similar to this and thankfully have finally found a school that, so far, as lived up to our expectations. I hate to think of how things will be in 10 20 30 years if something isn't done now about these issues!!

    May 27, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  78. Becky

    "We do not believe there was a real threat.” That is the statement from the police department? That is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. They need to deal with it as it is a real threat. I havent' seen the video, but the title of it itself is a threat. I think the cops needs to get off their butts and if they can't charge the kids that made this video, then criminally charge the parents. But I think the only way to get it through the school district's, the parents of these girls, these girls and the police department is to file a lawsuit. It just amazes that these people are acting like it is no big deal. I think that the school and the police department should be reprimanded for their stupidity for not doing something. Hang in there Beth and Piper. You continue to get your story out there and things will change. The school and police department as well as the kids and parents WILL be held accountable for their stupidity.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  79. Telveer

    School administration (or any administration for that matter) always wants to potray everything as running smoothly. They dont want any complications. If there are any, they rather let the individual affected do all the defending and leg-work. The administration acts, and in most cases very defensively and often viciously at the victim, only if there is bad press. It is very sad that the victim is often the one that needs to fight back not only against the perpetrators but against the whole system.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  80. Jeff

    Beth you should hire a lawyer and sue the school district and the parents of the bullies. That is the only way to send a clear message that this is unacceptable behavior. There should be lots of good lawyers salivating for this high profile case. I imagine that there may even be some nationally famous lawyers who may want to take on this case. Good luck and keep pressing. We all have to stop this bullying to protect our children.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  81. Adam Franklin

    If I was that gir's father i would go have a man to man 'conversation' with the fathers of the other kids and 'politely suggest' they take a more active role in the discipline of their kids. The fact that these kids can get away with stuff like this is insane.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  82. James

    As an adult, if I threatened to kill a school kid, I would be in prison no questions asked. It is absurd that nothing is being done here.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  83. Robert R

    The School can't do anything about this. The actions occurred outside of school and off school property. NOT the school's problem. This is a parenting issue. Heaven forbid that the parents be held responsible!!!!! Give me a break. Until a law is broken there is not a thing that can be done. Talk to the PARENTS wake up people! Add to this that the little darlings that produced this might just claim it is satire and therefore protected under the first amendment.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  84. jen

    Kim, I have to strongly disagree that all children get their behavior directly from their parents. There are children that have horible parents that turn out to be wonderful functioning people. And there are children who have good parents who turn out to be terrible people. These girls are at an age that they have to be responsible for their own actions. Good for this mother for standing strong to these bullies.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  85. unknown----not puting name

    and another thing dont give in to thge government conspiracy Civil rights bull shyt there jsut trying to save there skiltake them to court put em away

    May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  86. unknown----not puting name

    i have bullied other kids in the past not going to lie i know howe it affects there mind set i would never do something this cruel though it is hortrible what they did i just would like to appologize and u have support

    May 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  87. Russ

    Wow. This is all non-sense. No one cares, I had worse threats to my face when I was a little boy. This girl needs to stick up for herself and handle things the way Republicans do. Go to War.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  88. Sylvia

    The girls should be punished, if we keep over looking the problem the kids will continue the next victim. some parents fail to realize that their children can do mean things to other childre. If we the adults allow these kids not to take responsiblity for their actions it's likesaying go ahead there will be no consequences for your actions. As these kids grown up they will not even think twice about taking someone's life.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  89. JAY

    Hang in there Beth and Piper.

    The school beurocracy won't do anything to help unless forced. You may as well file a lawsuit against the parents and the school district. Without it they will not pay attention to you.

    Been there Done that!

    Good luck

    May 27, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  90. jeff

    Thats a convient answer, blame the parents. Everyone likes to fall back on that.

    The only problem is thats probably not the case. More and more I am seeing kids out of control not because of the parents but because of outside influences the parents can not control.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  91. James

    Beth, I've been through stuff like this myself in school. These other kids aren't going to stop. It's in their DNA to be bullies and slaps on the wrist change nothing. Take Piper to kick boxing lessons. It will boost her confidence and she'll kick any bully's butt.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  92. John Allentown

    It is not just cyber bullying but pure harassment. A couple of years ago I found someone was ordering stuff for me giving private personal data to people and just harrassing.
    I found a friendly State Police Officer and the person plead guilty to a
    lessor crime. Now the same is starting with the same person and getting data is near impossible because of "privacy laws", "freedom of speech, etc.
    The harrases have more protection than the victim. But, isn't that the
    way our laws are being directed by activist judges.
    Thanks

    May 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  93. Mark Murrell

    Bullying is becoming more and more public these days. I found this great article on how to prevent bullying, or at least reduce it significantly; http://hyde.typepad.com/parenting_experts/2009/05/bullying-there-is-a-solution.html

    May 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  94. Adam

    Should those children be punished? Absolutely. By their *parents*, not the judicial system. I'm sorry, but being mean is not against the law. Take it up with the children's parents, and if they are not responding to your satisfaction you'll just have to suck it up. Trying to get the authorities involved in something of this nature is a waste of my taxes.

    Don't get me wrong, I feel sorry for the child. Being bullied is no fun. However, there are many ways to handle the situation that doesn't revolve around drawing attention to yourself via the media while crusading to make being mean against the law.

    This is just another example of bad parenting, where children are left unattended to do as they please while on the web. The computer and television are not babysitters, and there's content on both that needs to be, at the very least, monitored (if not outright restricted) from young impressionable minds. I've heard and read about countless stories like this one that would have never taken place to begin with if parents took the time to find out what their children were doing.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  95. Judy

    I think the teenagers involved should also be required to go through therapy with their parents who obviously are not raising them properly.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  96. Dan Christensen

    As a victim of bullying for my entire 12-year grade/high school career I can identify with Piper and Beth. We do need to have some courage to protect our children these days when "only the offenders" have any rights. If our school districts will not take the appropriate measures then we need to go to our legislatures in order to see if funding said district could be cut back!

    May 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  97. Luis

    Good for you Beth and Piper. Please bring more attention to this issue because kids are falling victim to this all over the country- and we need laws to punish bullies and their parents. Sombody needs to take responsibility- especially the school districts.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  98. Charlene S ==> Canada

    Here's what I don't get, my daughter was so badly bullied at school, she took a knife to school to end her life, thank God! It was all stopped before she could harm herself! SHE is the victim yet, she has to go to counseling, has to be searched everyday, has to be put under a microscope... all of which I have no issue with, it ensures this won't happen again.

    What gets me is the boys that did this to her, what do they get? Suspended maybe and a slap on the wrist basically but, do THEY have to go to counseling to understand why bullying is wrong? NOPE! They are allowed to go to school freely... why are they not deemed a "risk to re-offend" and sent to counseling, cause some of these kids have been out of school more then they have been IN school!! And like the story above, the parents don't give a squat!

    My daughter will be fine, we love her, we are active in her life and are building her up again after these group, "The Fatal 5" have torn her down. EVERYONE, the teachers, principal, counselors in the city where I live ALL know this group by that name... time to stand up! and I will be shouting loudly!
    ♥♪♥♫♥

    May 27, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  99. Gene

    Yeah, have had this happen to me years ago.

    School won't do the right thing unless bad publicity gets them by the short and curlies. Then they run around acting like they're doing something.

    Of course, in my case, it was teachers who were trying to nail me.

    May my previously nasty teachers get what's due to them before the grave catches up with them.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  100. kim

    Be strong Beth and keep fighting, these kids get their behavior directly from the parents. You have more support then you realize. Start reading the blogs. Everyone is appalled by the Bethel School district and the Peirce County Sheriff's department.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:06 am |
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