American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
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. Ty

    Bullying should never be taken lightly whether it’s common or not! That is a pretty sad thing to have happen to your child, Beth. I can only imagine the frustration and anger you have towards these children (and non-caring parents).
    Yes, I think action should be taken against these children. It seems everyone wants to do something when it’s too late. No life needs to be lost before something is done. That might be extreme but the title is “Top Six Ways to Kill Piper”.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  2. mim

    Send her to a different school! Don't be stupid. Who can say if the threat was NOT real? There is still a chance that it WAS. Get her out of there because it is obvious that no one is willing to protect her in any fashion. Or even better yet, expel the girls who made the video, permanently. There is a better solution. Who knows who will be their next target?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  3. Sally L.

    I was bullied in middle school. The school administration, teachers, parents, other kids, don't usually help. It is rare that they do. Ultimately I went up to the leader of the pack and asked her to leave me alone, and it worked. She finally left the school. And other students fought back too. Unfortunately you have to fight back. There is no other way. You have to give them a dose of their own medicine and usually they are surprised because they think they are wonderful people. Bullies usually scare easily. They are like the lion in the wizard of oz.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  4. Doug504

    The school system is not responsible for disciplining students for stuff done away from school.

    But the school system is responsible for protecting students when they are at school.

    Any student who threatens to assault or kill anyone (via video, in person, letter, etc) is a potential threat to every other student in the school. And the school system should act accordingly.

    It would help if the school system took vigorous actions against the person making the threats – daily inspections of book bags, mandatory counseling at school, etc.

    Make the person who made the threat demonstrate they have changed and are no longer a threat to others.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  5. Charlotte

    "it’s called self-respect….and some people have little of it"

    Thanks for proving your own point by example, Gary.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm |

    plain & simple: proscute the parents. Have the kids temporarily (if not longer) taken away from them until they got their act together and that they would have to perform a max of hours of child parenting progam or such. If they were neglegent at their house, child services would've taken them away without hesitation, school shouldn't make any difference.

    Come on, enough's enough. No one's should be above the law, though due to the sherrif and the school staff's lack of moral, some are.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  7. Mark

    My son was being bullied, and we called the cops. We suspect it was not only the child, but also the parent because the nature, tone & vocabulary of the threatening messages took a much more advanced tone than a 5th grader could piece together in such a short span that this even occurred.

    Good luck to you Beth and Piper.

    I'll end with this....what would the reaction have been if it were BOYS teasing a girl? Much more harsh if you ask me.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Charlotte

    Yes, the school should suspend every child who makes a threat against another child.

    Parents would lose money staying home from work, get to know their little devils a bit more, and pretty quickly, kids would shut their mouths and start putting their heads in their books.

    Kids should just fight back physically? Ridiculous. How is a school full of fear and fist fights any better? What's your exit plan on that, cowboy?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Jen

    Who buys video cam for these girls to make the video?

    Who allowed these girls access to software to make this video?

    Who bought the computer to comprise the video on?

    Who bought the net connection to allow this video to be uploaded online?

    Who is responsible for supervising these children while they play online?

    The parents.

    Who is at fault?

    The parents.

    You know what turns kids into Columbine and Vtech shooters? Ignoring these issues.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  10. George

    You know, in the real world, these people would have been prosecuted, or at least could have a restraining order placed on them or something. If these kids weren't in 6th grade, but were rather in graduate school, would you all be saying "stop whining?" or would you say "call the cops and file charges?"

    Bullying is simply assault, battery, and harassment, that is deemed socially acceptable because of the age of the offenders. But if these bullies were 15 years older, they'd likely have legal trouble right now.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  11. Isa

    When parents do not have what it takes to teach compassion and tolerance to their children, then the law must step in to protect the innocent. Any kind of bullying is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age. It speaks volumes about our nation. We have a responsibility to provide sensitivity training to parents and children. Our education system is maxed out but this is another area in which we as a society will pay a hefty price if we don't provide training and intervention.
    I am glad to see the courage Piper and her mother are displaying. Too many of our children are being victimized. Thank you for stepping up to the challenge of changing this cruelty that seems to be showing up everywhere lately.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Jill Uno

    This is response to a post/comment here saying to stop blaming parents for their childrens actions. Are you serious? As a parent, you are utimately responsible for your childrens actions. I agree that the actions of a 17, 18yr are harder to control, but the children in this ariticle are 11 and 12, and if they are bullying, harrassing etc that is DUE TO BAD PARENTING and not outside influences. Bet if those parents had the child who was being bullied and not the one doing the bullying, they would see it a whole different way. Bet they would not be saying, Suck it up, it happens, they are just children. They would be demanding justice just as the mother in the article is demanding. A lot of todays children have not a clue what punishment, discipline or responsibility is. They are ill-manner, ill-behaved, and uneducated because of bad parenting.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  13. Mary

    Allan: you sound like a bully yourself, suggesting that those who get their feelings hurt after being threatened need to learn to take a joke. Just goes to show that bullies don't always grow out of their antisocial behavior.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  14. Shutch

    Adam, I respectfully disagree...the parents are the problem here, how can we count on them to teach their kids right from wrong if they don't know the difference themselves?

    And bullying has gone way past the point of simply "being mean" these days, it's harassment, and everyone is turning the other cheek because maybe it doesn't affect them. When there are threats made that include death I think the law does need to get involved, no matter the age of the kids. Mandated family counseling is also a nice thought but if the parents are inept its like trying to stop the wind from blowing.

    I've seen situations similar to this when the bullies were part of the "good ole' boy" network, and maybe weren't held accountable because daddy is friends with the principal or mom is bowling partners with the law. It depends on who you are, like with everything in life, and everyone is playing with a different rulebook.

    I'm so sick to death of kids being horrible to each other and parents justifying it by saying "kids will be kids". This type of behavior may seem like just kid stuff right now, but it normally escalates to real and violent crime. If kids are desensitized to the suffering of their age-mates, what makes us think they can find value in a human life?

    If my tax dollars go to helping one child with the suffering of this CRIME, sign me up.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  15. Lark

    C'mon, Beth. Give it a rest. As a recent high school graduate, it's easy to pinpoint this woman–and many of the other women on here–as that same overbearing, overinvolved mom overreacting to every little thing. Piper certainly is the victim here–of both the other girls and her mother. How does a kid rebound socially from a case this size?

    Obviously the other girls have done wrong and should be punished, but kids that age do screw up. They need to learn that what they did was wrong. They aren't likely to do it again.

    I don't understand why the older generations seem to think a big response is needed when the word "cyber" is thrown in. Kids need to learn the consequences of their actions, but they'll never learn if all their internet use is restricted and watched. The first thing they'll do is go to the girl's house whose mom doesn't care and record it there–there will always be that person. It's elementary.

    Sure, it sucks to be bullied, but it sucks a lot more now that everyone knows about it. Sorry, Piper.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  16. Gary

    "have you folks who are talking about “bullying” seen the video? There is a difference between bullying and terrorizing. That was terrorizing. And to the guy who said she should just “retaliate to get them to stop”, yeah, thats a great idea. Let violence and terror spawn more violence and terror. Furthermore, how can the girl not be “too sensitive”. she’s not even a teenager yet for goodness sake!"

    have YOU seen it? And yet some of you are talking about suspensions and criminal prosecutions, without even seeing the evidence! Double standard much?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Christopher

    Stop being such a drama queen Beth.

    It amazes how thin the skin is of this generation. The parents only compound the problem with their babying.

    Im sorry your daughter felt threatened but did she really feel scared they would hurt her or was that you forcing her to say it just to make your case sound stronger?

    This video was obviously a joke video. Kids are cruel and that is a fact. but that doesn't mean every kid that plays a mean prank is going to "pay it forward" stab your kid.

    Relax Beth it's only the interwebz.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  18. 9mm

    And people are surprised when incidents such as Columbine happen.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  19. maddawg

    cmon ladies.....

    GET A LIFE!!!

    so what....your kid got bullied.....WELCOME TO THE WORLD!

    to teach your child that whining, crying and complaining like a baby about something so trivial that is prevelant the world over, well, that's just SAD.

    i hope your child doesn't get a hangup about crying about bullies....when she's an adult and she gets bullied, there's likely nowhere to go for her but to herself!

    i hope she doesn't feel as if no one is now there for her to fight with her as an adult against such trivial issues and then get so depressed about it she tries to hurt herself.

    perhaps you should TEACH your child productive, meaningful ways to overcome such small, little issues that life throws at all of us every single know, things like, it doesn't matter what OTHER people say behind your back, they aren't true friends; it doesn't matter what others think of you, it matters what YOU think of you and of those you love and matter to you.

    yea right.....'teach the child to be a whining little cry-baby'.....that's exactly what we need in the if the other 299 million whining lemmings in this country weren't enough.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  20. Amy

    Schools cannot report on the punishment, or any information about the students, it is the way it works (and ensures privacy rights for all students in all instances). This is an example of where mediation between the students needs to be put into action. Why are they doing this? What precipitated the event? How can it be stopped? These instances are happening with younger and younger students each year. This is where parents need to spend more time talking with their kids, and working through issues that they are having (not using these instances as a chance to attack the schools or police).

    May 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  21. midwest Mom

    I have the reverse situation. My son is in trouble every other day at school because one particular boy cries "bully" whenever he doesnt get his way. His parents have threatened everything from lawsuits to arrests for anything their son tells them the other kids do. My son walks around scared to even make eye contact with anyone. I instructed my son to ignore the "victim" and then he got in trouble when "victim" told the principal my son and his friends were oustrasizing him. My son is an athlete, and typical All-American kid. This "victim" kid targets all of the kids in this group of boys. I am at a loss as to what to do to help him.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  22. Deb

    Nice advice Gary... r u kidding me? Bullying needs to be stopped by the parents first and if that don't work by the schools and law enforcement. We had a case of bullying and guess who was behind some of it...the girls mother. The little girl they were bullying committed suicide. I guess she should have just blown it off and handled it like a 35 year old man would and not like a young tween or teenager does. That's why they are kids Gary....not adults.

    It is the adults job to take care of the children. The first place we as parents should do is look in our own backyard and make sure it's not our kids doing the bullying. That's where it stops. Take responsibility for your children! Don't make other children have to deal with your childs abusive behavior that you either encourage or condoned!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  23. chris

    This mom is insane. Kids don't treat death as seriously as adults, and I would be truly shocked if anyone physically harmed her. At this point I feel this mom is making a mountain out of this issue and if she keeps it up will likely alienate her daughter even more. I remember when I was that age, friends constantly would backstab one another, it's just a tough time.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  24. JenC

    As a parent you protect your child. Not from "susie pulled my hair" or "johnny stole my army man" but from "some girls made a video about how they want to kill me". Good for the mom for having the guts to get up and act so that possibly their state can legislate that this kind of behavior online is unacceptable. Furthermore, it is a matter of legislation when death threats are involved. Even online. The law needs to change with the times and I think that is the ultimate goal for this mother. Documenting the abuse legally will establish a pattern so that IF these girls really do have the potential to act on the violence the law will be more able to handle the situation.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  25. Mark

    As a teacher, I see bullying and stop it every chance I get, because I know how bad it can get, and most school district do do something about this. Here the fact however, all in all, its the parents resposibility to teach their kids right and wrong. We teach them and we teach them right and wrong 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. We teach, not babysit. If anything I would go after the parents of the bullies who sounds as if they did nothing about this. I dont know much about this district, but as a school employee, those kids would get expelled, no questions asked–especially death threats. EVERYTHING STARTS AT HOME.
    Four letters DCFS

    May 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  26. Carol

    The school admitted it is there problem. The actions of these girls within and outside school are intimidating and threatening enough that this 11 year old girl is afraid to be at school. Of course it's the school's issue. It's the entire community's issue. If you keep saying "not my problem" believe me, sooner or later it will be your problem.

    And parents can absolutely control this level of intimidation. First thing to do is unplug the computer on these kids. It's amazing how many parents don't even have the guts or willpower themselves to do that. Second, unplug the television – worst influence on kids ever. Third, a good long dose of "right home after school and no friends until you can show me that you're spending more time on improving your miserable self-centered self, starting with treating the members within your own family better – then maybe we'll think about sending you our into society again". Fourth, a nice long tour of duty doing volunteer work, and not the cushy kind. Fifth, counseling, in large doses.

    Otherwise, as I said, these girls will be women someday and in your workplace, in your nursing home, in your government, in your kids' school as a teacher, and acting just as cruel but on a larger level, and with you and your children as a victim. Stupid cruel adults come from somewhere – here's one of the places.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  27. Mike

    These kids, regardless of age need to learn a hard lesson. Whether that's community service or spending a weekend in jail to show that making threats of this type is no laughing matter.

    Secondly, not only are the parents to blame, but let's start looking at video games. Kids are bombarded daily with images of death, destruction and mayhem with the video games they play.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  28. Parent

    After dealing with my daughter being bullied for three years and trying to work with both the teachers and school administration, her life was threatened very violently. The state superintendent finally told me to get her out of there for her own safety and well-being. This meant sending her 2000 miles away to live with my sister until we were able to transfer to another state. She spent school years away from us, it broke my heart but was certainly the best thing I could have done for her at that point in her life. It is however something I never should have had to do. She is now a sophomore in high school, active in her civil rights club at school (promoting anti-bullying among other social issues) straight A's in AP classes, is well adjusted and has high self-esteem, a long way from the child who was bullied severely. There is hope if you are able to help your child work through it and are prepared for dealing with all the issues, you must do everything you can for your bullied child. If you are experiencing bullying issues please take a look at the website for assistance, it can offer a world of knowledge as well as support. Bullying is not simply kids being kids, it is real, it can be violent, it can cost our children's lives, and it needs to be recognized as an epidemic and dealt with.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  29. John G

    Cyber bullying? What the heck is that? Bullying is someone or group physically pushing you around, hitting you or doing other PHYSICAL things to you. Making stupid videos or calling names, etc. is not bullying. Kids today have been brought up in such sheltered environments that they have a problem with real life. I was bullied when I was a kid. I was pushed around like some time of rag doll. I ignored it. Finally, after not getting any response from me, the bullying stopped. Later in life when I encountered some of the "bullys" they told me they were glad that I ignored them because if I had retaliated, that I would have killed them. Those same persons are friends now. We joke about what happened. Kids need to learn that "bullying" is part of life. They need to learn to l ive with it and stop running to mommy or daddy when things don't go to suit them.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  30. CJ

    Being 12 in 1977 was *paradise* compared to today's ugly viciousness.

    How much worse is it going to get, people?

    Glad I don't have kids.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  31. andrew

    look i was bullied. but when i stood up to them they all backed down. i never used anything other than my words and my body language.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  32. cat4everrr

    starzzguitar May 27th, 2009 1:27 pm ET

    This whole affair is stupid. Turn off the computer. Duh! As a parent, are you really this lame? This is a good time that you explain to your mushy headed child that there are bad people in this world and that WORDS cannot hurt you, no matter what they are. (Personally, I think Piper should just go up to these girls and WHACK them upside the head!)


    you are wrong! in my case it developed into cyber stalking

    May 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  33. Charlene S ==> Canada

    Adam and James ===> One problem, many of the parents that have children that bully don't care, it is not the first time the kid did it, and usually have other siblings who have done it.

    In my daughter's case, the family has 3 kids, two are boys, one girl ALL THREE are bullies and have been suspended, reprimanded etc... for bullying throughout school, even to High School!

    And the parents? Too busy, gotta work, can't do this, can't do that, they have a list of excuses, and even when you have the computer printout, "Are you sure it was my kid?" Or witnesses? They do nothing.

    The part in the video, where they were going to push the child to get her to kill herself, that is what they were doing to my child.

    Imagine... having a stalker who wants to do harm to you... you know they exist, you don't know where they are, when they might get you or how they might get you...

    THAT'S what my child went through, never knowing if today was going to be a day where she could just go to school and learn. She loves school, she wants to be a professional athlete, she has big goals and aspirations, she is very pretty, not into the makeup and she has a big heart, she will help anyone, homework, school projects etc... doesn't matter, she gives!

    She left private Christian school and went into the Catholic system in grade 5 and was picked on and bullied for 3 years now... just imagine going to work everyday and having someone there who harasses you every chance they get at work... you never know when its coming, the degree it will be, whether they grab you sexually in a physical manner or will verbally trash you or smash your head in.

    This is over the top and there has to be a way to stop it. So, looking to the parents? It won't work unless they are involved ACTIVELY in their child's life and if they are a chronic re-offending bully, that has a reputation since grade 1 or 2 for bullying... I can almost guarantee you, that isn't going to work.

    And yes, that is the situation here, the main king pin of the "Fatal 5" here, their parents don't give a squat. The boy is 14 and brags that he "might have knocked one up" already.

    If a man rapes a woman, the woman needs counseling usually, to move past the trauma, but, the man is arrested, tried and if found guilty, punished, then he is assessed to see if he has a likelihood of re-offending.

    If a child is emotionally raped repeatedly, the victim gets counseling, which they should for the trauma, but, the bully, being expelled or suspended really does nothing but, give them time off from school. They are NOT assessed to see if they will re-offend. And that's a problem.

    The bully should have to go to counseling WITH the parents as well.

    And my child, yep, she is in Karate Classes to build her up in more ways then I can tell you. She won't stop till she is a black belt either.

    All the best!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  34. been there

    The first thing you need to realize is – these children one, took a lot of pleasure from this and secondly were very powerful while they were doing it. If you do not do something these kids will move on to other victims and most likely the behavior will only strengthen.

    Please understand NO ONE is going to protect your child. Only you can do that. I took my kids bullies and their parents to civil court. Yes, I sued them for what they did and not only made the parents pay (boy did they learn a lesson) but also, as part of the deal the children had to attended counseling for bullies. It was painful, and a blessing. Your child has nothing to be ashamed of and by calling the bullies out and bring the actions into the light victims can walk away knowing they are not to blame, and not the ones that should be punished.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  35. Hmmm....

    Back in my day, if we acted up in school, we got swats! Its seems the problems with teens and tweens is there is no discipline allowed. BRING BACK SWATS in school and allow the parents to discipline their children without fear of going to jail for child abuse. I respected my mother and father and all around me for the fear of the "Belt" if i stepped out of line! That discipline didnt hurt me nor my adult life.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  36. Alyson

    Folks, there is a law... it's called Terroristic Threats.... Beth needs to get a lawyer and show this school board and the parents she means business. If this were my kid, I would unleash so many attorney's on them that they wouldn't know which orfice to cover first. There is no way I would tollerate this. Sorry, if people aren't going to parent their children, then there is only one way to make them understand... in a courtroom.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  37. Rob

    This isn't a bullying issue per say but rather a snobby two face girl thing. This kid thing has been going on since the dawn of mankind...."let's not talk to so and so today...let's see how mad we can make her.....My daughter came home a month ago complaining about a few girls, presumed to be her friends, picking on her; I armed her with a few good one-liners and sent her to school the next day. She came home saying that the cut downs I gave her ended up driving one of the girls, (the ring leader) to tears. Now they are all friends again and know that my daughter is capable of taking care of herself. The only way to stop this is (1) Teach your kid to not be so sensitive and to laugh things off a little more and (2) teach your kid how to defend themselves both verbally and physically OR (3) have the schools plant microchips in every kids brain to turn them into programable robots.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  38. Pete

    "jeff May 27th, 2009 10:52 am ET

    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."

    But jeff, that IS the answer – at least a large part of it. Sure you can argue about the outside influences but what are those outside influences? Other kids? That brings it right back to a parental issue. Kids need direction and discipline – not just a "give a slap on the wrist and it's okay, go out and play" attitude or a "my child is my freind" attitude but set firm boundaries and consistant punishments for crossing those boundaries. Too many parents today are hesitant to give their children the discipline they need. and NO I am by no means condoning child abuse but firm and decisive action. When I was growing up the schools had the authority to punish children with spankings if needed (and there was one time that I did), my parents did spank me when needed (again there was a time or two that I did) and I somehow made it just fine. I do not physically, emotionally, or verbally abuse my kids or my wife or anyone else.

    With my kids I set boundaries and punishments for crossing those boundaries, I teach my kids wrong from right by word and by deed, and I reward them when they act right... and funny thing here none of my kids are bullies. Go figure.

    Bullying is a form of harassment, it needs to be stopped. This can be done at the schools and also at home. Parents need to be involved in the lives of their children, they need to set boundaries, punishments, rewards, and make sure they teach their children right from wrong. Schools can also be involved by monitoring the students, defusing potential bullying situations, educating children about bullying, and applying common sense to the rules rather than become encased in this zero tolerance bullcrap.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  39. starzzguitar

    This whole affair is stupid. Turn off the computer. Duh! As a parent, are you really this lame? This is a good time that you explain to your mushy headed child that there are bad people in this world and that WORDS cannot hurt you, no matter what they are. (Personally, I think Piper should just go up to these girls and WHACK them upside the head!)

    May 27, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  40. cat4everrr

    JenC May 27th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

    have you folks who are talking about “bullying” seen the video? There is a difference between bullying and terrorizing. That was terrorizing. And to the guy who said she should just “retaliate to get them to stop”, yeah, thats a great idea. Let violence and terror spawn more violence and terror. Furthermore, how can the girl not be “too sensitive”. she’s not even a teenager yet for goodness sake!


    *STANDING OVATION* i could not have said it better.

    one last recommendation- if the mom can afford it, hire yourself a good electronic discovery specialist to map out exactly what took place electronically. that will provide hard evidence in the event you decide to take it to trial. not only should the mom sue the school system, she should also sue the website that hosted the video. again, if you can't afford to hire a lawyer do it yourself. it's not difficult at all.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  41. burnball123

    Poor parenting on the bully girls’ side!! The parents either have their heads buried in the sand or are too cruel themselves to see what little monsters they have! It’s unfortunate that the school has to be the "punisher" but these kids need someone to teach them that this crap is unacceptable! If the parents won't do then the school must! In 6 years these girls will be living within our society without the "rule" of their parents. The problem will then be ours! I'd rather have my tax dollars spent in schools teaching kids what their parents "should" teach them rather then spending tax dollars on non-preemptive measures such as welfare checks, food stamps, or even jail cells! Until “the idiots” of the world are no longer allowed to breed we’ll have to pick up their slack!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  42. Kat

    I'm not sure why you're taking issue with the school in this situation – no information has been provided to indicate that the video was made on school grounds or with school equipment, or that any school employee was involved.

    This should be strictly a matter, both criminal and civil, for the parents of the girls who did generate and distribute the video, who are legally responsible for their children's behavour until the kids turn 18.

    Schools are expected to educate children during their attendance hours. They are not responsible for the actions children commit outside of school and should not be expected to police what children do in their own homes. That's why children have parents.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  43. Gary

    and by the way...if someone I knew complained to the media about being bullied, I'd probably start bullying them's called self-respect....and some people have little of it.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  44. Barry in Texas

    Blame the school?? Sue the school?? If this act happened at home on the kids home computer, just how is the school suppose to punish the kids? It's not enough, the school is suppose to feed the kids, breakfast and lunch, and provide after school programs. Oh, and let's not forget they are suppose to educate them, all the while trying to please every parent who wants the kids to say the pledge, or not say the pledge, pray in school, or not pray in school, do this, or do that, etc, etc...Perhaps if parents did their job, and actually paid attention to what their kids were doing, and kept them off the damn computer, this stuff wouldn't happen. But, it's always easier to just blame the school, and sue them. After all, the public school system is raising our kids for us, are they not?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  45. April

    This is a personal matter, not a judicial one. I don't even see why the school had to get involved, unless the video was made on campus. Nowadays we expect schools to punish kids for everything they do, regardless of where they do it.

    So you're not satisfied with how it's been handled so far? What would satisfy you? Expulsion? Flogging, perhaps?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  46. Xabana

    Another example of a parent thinking their child deserves the world, to the cost and detriment of everyone else around them. Detectives do not have time to spend countless hours and money following up on what was obviously a childish, and unfortunate, prank. The fact that this woman continued her pursuit of "justice" like a bulldog biting on the posterior of a trespasser just to give her own ludicrous fears some soothing is disgusting.

    The world does not revolve around us. It's high time people realized that.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  47. Roy

    Quote "One of the former bullies is a close friend of mine."

    I guess if you can't beat em, join em? Let me take a wild guess Gary, you don't have kids do you?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  48. Daniel

    Here we go they are going to make it a felony if you hurt someones feeling online. So your all going to have to keep real quite and say what the state wants you to say. Are you against this, well your not for children getting bullied are you.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  49. Stephanie

    I have always wondered why behavior like this is illegal in the workplace. This can get a person fired and they can have a claim brought against them yet we tolerate it in our schools. We are willing to allow behavior that we as adults would not stand for in our everyday lives. Why? Because they're kids. These "kids" are going to grow up and be adults. This needs to stop. Hang in there Piper!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  50. Dan

    You know what, I know this may seem really harsh, but where are the names of these kids and parents? Put them out there for everyone to see. I say embarass them to the point that they can't see straight. Have them be in a media nightmare. Totally humiliate them and their children in public (no not harsh as it sounds) and then lets see how they feel.

    It would be one thing if they were simply call her bad names but to make a video on how to kill her?

    Man its time to drag these people in public and show what losers these parents are and the scum they have become.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  51. JenC

    have you folks who are talking about "bullying" seen the video? There is a difference between bullying and terrorizing. That was terrorizing. And to the guy who said she should just "retaliate to get them to stop", yeah, thats a great idea. Let violence and terror spawn more violence and terror. Furthermore, how can the girl not be "too sensitive". she's not even a teenager yet for goodness sake!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  52. jason

    how come its the schools responsibility? was the video made on school property? it should have been handled through the police in the first place. school should have been notified so as to protect her at school, but thats as far as they should have to go. if schools expelled every kid who threatened another kid, then half the kids wouldnt be in school. how many kids are threatened after school in run down neighborhoods. where kids fear for their life daily. where people actually do get shot, stabbed and so forth. the schools are not the police. as far as some of the other posts, those were on school property and also with school faculty. those are entirely different situations. if i have a problem like that my first call would be to the police, not the school.
    sure they are sorry, everyone is sorry when they get caught, nobody ever says they are sorry if they are not caught. they are kids, they dont apologize to each other, i rarely ever hear my kids say they are sorry to each other unless i tell them too. they are usually only sorry they got caught doing something wrong. its the way kids are. it was that way when i was in school, and i doubt it will ever change. i would like to know how many of you people have hurt someones feelings then went and apologized for it afterwards. when you talk about someone that you work with and dont like, maybe comments that are rude and snide, but hey they arent around so who cares right? you probably do that around your children also, they see that and think its ok as long as the other person isnt around.
    this stuff happens everyday, i dont see those other cases on cnn!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  53. Gary

    concerned parent"...apparantly you have never heard of exaggerations...believe it or not, "I'm gonna kill you" is used all the time, even among friends.!.. The girls are 11 years old, I don't think they even understand what they're talking about!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  54. Roy

    "Dude, grow up, this is the internet. I’ve made death threats over the internet as well as recieved them."

    Jason, I believe you're the one who has some "growing up" to do.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  55. Ken

    I am going nuts as I read this... not because of the situation, but because of the idiocy of some of the responses. Over and over again, people keep saying "it is not the school's responsibility". While I agree that the school obviously has no legal liability over the actions that a couple of students happened to take after school against another individual who happened to be a student. HOWEVER, the school absolutely has a duty to provide a safe and comfortable environment for ALL children to attend class and learn. If several students at the school are making death threats... and let not forget that is exactly what they did... against another student at the school, the school MUST take steps to make sure that the threatened student is safe to continue to attend school and learn.

    I don't mean to oversimplify, but suppose one student had beat another student very badly off school grounds... say at the local mall on a Saturday. Obviously, the school is not culpable in any way for the crime. However, suppose that, for whatever reason, the aggressor is not jailed... let's assume he or she is out on bail awaiting trial. Would you really respond that, since this happened off school grounds, this is no longer the school's problem, so the assaulter and the assaultee should just sit next to each other in class!! Don't be ridiculous! THE SCHOOL WOULD HAVE A LEGAL DUTY TO ENSURE THAT THE VICTIM WAS PROTECTED... just like they do in this case.

    Sheesh... I am beginning to think that John Stuart Mill was right when he said, "While all conservatives are NOT stupid, all stupid people ARE conservative."

    May 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  56. Godless Heathen

    Does anyone remember Columbine? This may not be that extreme, but those boys who shot up the school also made multiple videos depicting killing classmates before the shooting took place, and even videotaped one of them on the school grounds! No one took those seriously, either.

    And while they were bullied by classmates, they did their share of bullying younger kids, as well.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  57. Allen

    When it comes to these parents disciplining these bullies, the only thing the parents will understand is if you get them where it hurts ... in their pockets. I agree with Jeff (who posted at 10:57 am) about finding a good lawyer and suing the pants off them. This is a case with much publicity and maybe, just maybe when parents realize they can be held responsible for their child's actions, only then might you see a change in behaviors.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  58. cat4everrr

    Example of cyber bullying lawsuit:

    Facebook Cyber Bullying Lawsuit Versus New York Teenager

    By Ben | March 10, 2009

    As reported by Reid Epstein in Newsday, New York teenager, Denise Finkel has sued Facebook for $3 million because, she claims, it carried a fictitious Facebook chat group to bully, ostracize, ridicule, abuse and disgrace her. The lawsuit states that former high school classmates, Michael Dauber, Jeffrey Schwartz, Leah Herz, and Melinda Danowitz created the chat room in which they falsely claimed that she had “inappropriate conduct with animals,” and had AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases.

    I want to focus on two related areas that I think are more important in the long run.

    Of course there will be a lot of furor over whether any or all of the accused four did it and whether Facebook is liable for content that’s not obviously pornographic. Did Finkel complain to Facebook and did Facebook turn a deaf ear to Finkel’s complaints? And are the four people guilty as accused?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  59. Michael Beausoleil

    This mom seems to care way more about this than the kid. Lead by example Beth. If Piper never told her mom and instead confronted the 'friends' who did this to her, I am sure this all would have blown over. Now Beth is leading the front and blowing it out of proportion. What, do you think these kids should be charged with conspiracy to commit murder? Kids will be kids and they learn from mistakes and everything they go through makes them stronger. Don't let turn Piper into a Beth.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  60. Tony

    Beth – don't let up! Although the criminal route maybe exhausted there is always civil remedy. Make sure your daughter is getting the medical help she may need from the trauma this has certainly created. Not trying to sound frivolous but at least it compounds damages you can receive and sends a statement to school administrators and politicians too!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  61. Carol

    Absolutely ridiculous that these kids are even allowed to stay in school.

    Piper has done nothing to deserve this, deserve to be afraid in her own school, while these girls continue to be there. They should be suspended for the rest of the year. At least. So that Piper can continue to go to school unafraid.

    This stuff isn't serious? Girls threatening to kill another student? Talk to me again in five years when they do it for real and everyone stands around scratching their heads saying, "Well, there were some pranks when they were 11, but we had no signs." Believe me, threatening to put that amount of work into threatening another child is the tip of the ice berg with these girls. I'm sure there were sign as early as preschool that they were disturbed and bullies, but people literally excuse it as "kids will be kids". Don't complain when these girls turn into adults and now screw up your life somehow if you're not wiling to punish them severely and demand ongoing counseling for them to return to school.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  62. cat4everrr

    State laws currently on the books:

    In 2007, the Arkansas legislation passed a law allowing school officials to take action against cyber bullies even if the bullying did not originate or take place on school property. The law gave school administrators much more freedom to punish those individuals who sought to harass their fellow students.

    2006 saw Idaho lawmakers pass a law that allowed school officials to suspend students if they bullied or harassed other students using a telephone or computer.

    Iowa has passed several laws that force schools to create anti-cyber bullying policies which cover bullying “in schools, on school property or at any school function or school-sponsored activity.”
    Help prevent cyber bullying in schools by using your own Cyber Bully Prevention Software.

    New Jersey
    The Garden State of New Jersey has always maintained tough laws about bullying, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the laws were amended to include bullying via “electronic communication.” These laws give additional power to the school system to enforce bullying-related punishment for actions that may not take place while on school grounds.

    The progressive state of Oregon really delves into the details of cyber bullying. The laws passed in recent years in Oregon expand the boundaries of what constitutes cyber bullying to include those actions which “substantially interfere” with the education of the young person.

    The suicide of a 13-year old girl Megan Meier who was the victim of an internet hoax greatly raised the awareness of cyber bullying and its consequences in the state of Missouri. Governor Matt Blunt went so far as to create a task force whose sole purpose was to study and create laws regarding cyber bullying. As a result the Internet Harassment Task Force now stands as a shining example for other states around the country. Missouri has also toughened their laws on the matter, upgrading cyber-harassment from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

    New York
    New York created a system to investigate claims of cyber bullying that would help police and school officials better ascertain the circumstances of each occurrence and prosecute or punish the culprits to the fullest extent of the law.

    Rhode Island
    The governor of Rhode Island is currently trying to pass a bill that would force repeat cyber bullying offenders to appear in family court, where they would be charged as delinquents under the terms of the state’s laws for young offenders.

    Vermont has added a $500 fine for cyber bullying offenses to their already stringent laws on the matter. There is currently a bill being discussed that would increase the reach of the school’s powers regarding cyber bullying when the action puts the individual’s ability to learn (or health and safety) at risk.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  63. G-nut

    Ask questions. Be involved. Watch their shows. Listen to their music.

    Instead of "calling" the parents, how about showing up at their front door when they're making dinner? People can act apologetic on a phone but its harder to do in person. This forces an immediate interaction that is both more genuine & more memorable.

    Dana K. – "short of taking these electronic devices away from them, there’s little that we as parents can do. " SO TAKE THEM AWAY!!
    Otherwise, you are the epitomy of American parenting in action.

    "I've spoiled my kids. Now they don't respect me or anyone else & there's NOTHING I can do..." Anyone who thinks this is not the result of poor parenting is either a bad parent themselves or does not have children.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  64. JrsDctr

    Yes, the incident occurred outside of the school setting. However, the fact is that the girls attend school together so no matter what the issue gets dragged into school with them no matter what. School administrations have the choice to either be proactive or reactive regarding situations. Unfortunately this school has chosen to be reactive and ill-informed. It is completely constitutional to search students' belongings in a school setting. As soon as a student enters the school their constitutional rights end at the door. Schools have the right to search bags, lockers and belongings if they have any reason to suspect contraband, weapons, illegal or restricted items are being carried onto school property. I would almost guarantee that school officials were aware of the video before the girls' parents were. Anyone who has ever worked in a school setting knows that kids talk, teachers hear things and word gets passed along.

    As for the police apparently brushing off the situation as not a "real threat". What does it take to be a real threat? Death? A child actually physically being harmed? As any educated individual knows, psychological harm can cause just as much, if not even more, damage than physical harm. We live in a diverse society and children have a hard time distinguishing between what is acceptable and what is right. They feel that as long as something is accepted by peers that it's okay to do. Children and teenagers are not at the stage in their mental or educational development where they can sit back and consider all aspects of their actions before they do something. Are the parents responsible for their childrens' behavior? Of course they are. This is not to say that the parents themselves are bullies. Parents simply can't watch their kids 24/7 and the fact of the matter is that teenage girls can be particularly cruel.

    For those who say this victim should grow a backbone – this is a typical response from victims of bullying who resent the fact that no one came to their rescue or bullies who have never grown out of being a bully. Proof that some things, unless addressed at a young age, never are resolved.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  65. Kathryn

    I went through some serious bullying at school when I was Piper's age, and this was a 20+ years ago before bullying was even making news. What I went through back then was a walk in the park compared to what kids of today face, but I still felt intimidated, hurt and scared at the time.

    The prinicipal's response to my parents? "I have more bad kids then good here and I don't have time to deal with every little thing that comes up. If she can't handle it, put her in another school." Those words still stick with me to this day. Sadly, this person is now in a high position on the school board for that district. I can't imagine how many problems now go ignored/unchecked 😦

    May 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  66. roger

    why do Piper's parents believe the school district must take the lead on this? whatever the other girls did was not done in school nor apparently on the school grounds. perhaps Piper's mother simply needs to work with the law enforcement and the other parents as best she can and stop depending on the school district to come up with a "perfect" solution. Piper certainly did not come across in the CNN interview very well and not one who would be easily intimidated as she suggested. The school district is designed to educate but not to act as the "be all" "end all" for every contingency that comes along.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  67. S.U.

    Let's just get to the point: These threats need to be taken seriously, and those girls need not just tough love, but a few nights in a detention center to give them a dose of reality. There's enough to charge them with right now.

    For all those who think bullying is harmless, stop being ignorant. I got away with lots of stuff, and the mere fact that I did, made me think I could get away with anything. If you let these girls off the hook completely, it will become a joke to them.

    As far as weak parents who are afraid to stand up to their kids, it will come to bite them back. Stop caring if your kids like you or not; just do what you're supposed to do and one day they'll thank you.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  68. Concerned in Midwest

    Beth and Piper, I offer support and condolences for the ridiculous lack of support you received your from school and law enforcement.

    These kids need to be held accoutable for their actions and to learn that words, both written and printed, actually DO mean something.

    It is my most sincere hope that they be required to attend some kind of counseling; I find it very disturbing the lengths they went to to be mean to your daughter. If I were their parents, I would be horrified that my child would do such a thing.

    And here is a scary thought, how will their behavior escalate as teenagers, if they are ONLY sorry they got caught?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  69. cat4everrr


    i know it sounds harsh but it's the only way to make the school system get off it's ass and do the right thing. again, even if you can't afford a lawyer do it yourself. it's not as hard as you might think and all states offer legal advice for free. just call your local district court and start asking questions.

    i hope this helps

    May 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  70. maria

    Being from the midwest, when my daughter was bullied at school I went straight to the mother and asked her for help in dealing with the issue. The Mother laughed at me and said her daughter would never do any such thing. She then asked if I had contacted the school about the incident. I said no but that after seeing she was unwilling to talk to her daughter I would talk to the teacher and principal. I did tell the school and asked for help. They said they have been trying to work with the girl's mother (three other parents had already complained) but there is a cultural difference and they were not able to get her to understand that her daughter's actions were wrong. So the lesson I learned was it is not a good idea to talk directly to the parent anymore just document your trail with the school and after repeated emails on the subject bring up the "sue" word if the harassment does not stop.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  71. Elliot

    Expelling these children from school because the police wouldn't do anything is an awful idea. If they can't get an education how do you expect them to rehabilitate themselves? They're just kids that did something stupid; they shouldn't be punished for the rest of their lives. Adam has it spot on.

    @OllyvanZapp – minors under 18 cannot enter into binding contracts, period.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  72. Frank M

    seriously... we all know this was a joke. And to punish 12 year old girls for playground antics that occurred off school property is ludicrous! There is no law to enforce here.. just kids being kids.. in a time where YouTube is now available, 10 years ago it was scribblings on a notebook. Stop blaming everyone else...we can all focus our efforts in better areas than this. Forgive and forget, if you let them get to you, then they have succeed.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  73. a concerned parent

    The video those girls made was titled "6 ways to KILL Piper". If it was titled 6 ways to bomb or shoot up the school law enforcement & the school would do something about it. Apparently because it's a video just encouraging people to kill 1 other child instead of many they think there is no harm but if it was threatening many it would be different story. 1 child is just as important to keep safe as a schoolful of them.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  74. James - Philadelphia

    I agree with Adam on an earlier post. the children should be punsihed by the parents. thanks Adam! However, the parents should be punished by the Judicial system!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  75. Julie

    The perverted mindset of each of the children that were involved in making the video, as well as the admissive mindset of their parents raising these children need to be assessed in therapy sessions.

    The school district needs to CHANGE THEIR RULES to make it mandatory that this type of unacceptable behavior result in therapy sessions, "chaperoned" by a school administrator (i.e., counselor), as well as the children's EXPLUSION from school. A week or two of suspension or expelled from school is not acceptable. Explusion, removal, ejection from the school is appropriate for these children. By their actions, they should be "profiled". These children have displayed behavior which does not "fit" in the public or private school systems in America. They should be sent to special schools, or "alternate education schools", call it whatever you want.

    Don't think for a minute that school district's can't change their rules based on incidents such as this. They can, and they will (with enough pressure).

    Lastly, I understand (and disagree) that the "law" does not considered the "act of making" of this video a misdeamenor or a felony. However, if the "intentions" in the video where carried out by the perpetrators (children), the "law" would surely be involved. Why what till it's too late? The tragedy at Columbine raised the need for "profiling" in schools. Was that just more b***s*** talk to make the public "think" school districts were really taking action? Installing metal dectors in schools will NEVER "trigger an alarm" of what's going on in a child's head (and in this situation, we have a REAL good idea of what's going on in these kid's heads!!). Good God, what does it take for the public to wake up!?!?!?

    May 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  76. cat4everrr

    Kelly May 27th, 2009 12:32 pm ET

    I think something needs to be done. I have been cyber bullied for a year now from my ex husband’s wife even taking it so far to use my 7 yr old as a pawn.

    Spoke to the Sheriff’s department and they said UNLESS they physically hurt you then there isn’t anything they can do. What she said about my child they were looking into it. That was 9 months ago.


    the same exact thing happend to me. here's what you CAN do

    1. take a look at the laws on the books. states like michigan have laws on the books that are very friendly towards victims of cyber bullying

    2. very important for you to get your paper trail started...file a report with the fbi's ic3 unit

    3. take it to court. you can not afford to lay down and be a victim. that only gives the perpetrator a since of empowerment. take it to court even if you have to represent yourself. most states offer legal advice free of charge.

    in short, take control of the situation. sitting back and allowing yourself to be a victim will only embolden the criminal

    May 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  77. elizabeth

    Good luck Piper and Beth. Anti-bullying is all the rage right now, but in reality, very little is being done about it. My 9 year old daughter went through a really bad experience last year. A group of girls, who just happened to have very "powerful" parents, were bullying her withuot mercy. Then her teacher joined in and allowed and encouraged it to continue in order not to allienate the girls' parents. At that point, I went again to the school. They had the girls sit down at the "peace table". What a joke. This just made them angrier and it escalated from there. I was actually present once, along with the other parents, when these girls bullied my daughter, and the parents just thought it was funny and girly, "just like in the movies" Ha-ha. That about sums up the reality of the situation in this society.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  78. Kenn

    I must say, there is a huge distinction between being "bullied" and and making "terroistic threats". Unfortunately, yes, there has been a proliferation of these type(s) of incidents taking place within recent years and the proper authorities have a propensity to 'look the other way' until a crime has been committed. Well, a crime was committed. I understand being mean and nasty, but what was done to this young girl in inexcusable and cannot be tolerated. I applaud this young girl and her mother for standing up, and forcing parents to take their life long committment of raising and rearing children seriously. The irony lies in the fact that the parents of these children who created this video and who where somehow involved in this act, are screaming of their rights, all the while over looking and minimizing the damage that has been caused to this young girl.

    When are we going to take responsibility for our minor children's actions? God forbid, if any sort of physical harm took place then the school and the media would have a field day accussing Beth for not doing more for her daughter.

    A resounding YES – by all means, bring a legal action against these children, their parents, and the authorities who have been charged with the responsiblity of educating and caring for our children, to clearly demonstrate that being sorry for being caught is not where things end in life. CONSEQUENCES for our actions is a life long lesson we all need to learn and better sooner than later. Piper: walk with her head held up high, and know that there are more for you than against you! You and your family are in my prayers. God bless!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  79. Julie

    I understand the frustration of not being able to do anything about bullying. I was bullied throughout elementary school and junior high. The bullies are very smart and do not do things within the sight of teachers making the teachers helpless to do anything about it. It is wrong, however, to try to make the schools accountable in the case of cyberbullying unless the posts are made from school computers. It is like asking why the school did not do anything because a student shoplifted from the corner store. Schools do not have the ability to discipline students for what they do off campus. The parents need to be the targets here. If parents start facing lawsuits for the behavior of their children they may start paying more attention to what they do.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  80. Gary

    Stop crying already. LEARN TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF! Instead of seeking punishments for an unpunishable "crime", the mother should have taught her daughter how to respond to the girls for the videos. You fight fire with fire, not whining. The girl should share the girls' embarrasing information, or just make some up,. with the girls' friends, boyfriends, steal their lunches or makeup, etc until they leave her alone, and trust me, they will do so and have new respect for her! Instead now she will probably be taunted even more...just more secretly, behind her least on the video, she KNEW what people were saying about her, now she won't even know!

    I too was bullied at times in school, and guess what happened? I punched back when people punched me. I answered the taunts with my own. And the majority of the bullies ACTUALLY BECAME MY FRIENDS. I'm in college now and haven't been bullied since freshman year of high school. One of the former bullies is a close friend of mine.

    Our nation has an issue with tattle taIling. Too many of us want the authorities to do all of the dirty work, without lifting a finger ourselves. Guess what people? IT DOES NOT WORK! Grow some balls! Bullying will ALWAYS exist, you just need to know how to fight it.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  81. Enough Already!

    The parents of these little criminals need to be charged also! Otherwise they will never learn that they were responsible all along for what there children do!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  82. Jodi

    What can schools do? They're no longer allowed to "discipline" kids. The days of "spankings" are over. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Its obvious time outs do not work. Its easy to blame the school when the problem is with the parents. Only parents can discipline their children. Children are a by-product of their home environment. If a school has teach your children to respect others, then they'll never learn it. This should be a trait that should be learned when a child is a toddler. That being said, if a child is feeling threatened he/she should sign up for martial art classes. This will build up their esteem and will teach them how to defend themselves should a bully turn violent.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  83. Pat

    Take every step that you feel will keep your child safe. If they harrass her in any way, file a complaint with the police. The day of calling and reasoning with the parents is over. The parents don't care. They are part of the problem. The school won't act until something tragic happens. I would consider moving her to another school district or private school if you can afford it.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  84. JenC

    I agree that there are many ways in which we can look at who is responsible and who should or should not pay or not pay for the actions of these girls. The one thing I do not agree with, however, is that this was a "joke" and "there have always been bullies" and the mom is overreacting. Someone threatened to kill her kid. They took the time to construct a video describing the ways they could do it. Poison was listed. What would you do if someone threatened to slip some poison in your kids lunch? Oh, let kids be kids wont bring them back after something like that and the sad thing is you never know if they will actually do it or not!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  85. Jessica

    I agree that being mean is not a crime, but this goes beyond just being mean. These girls made a video about ways to KILL Piper. They didn't make fun of her for having freckles or wearing glasses or the like. They made a video about HOW TO KILL HER, that is far different than just being mean.

    I'm not entirely sure where this video was made, but if it wasn't at school then the fight is not with the school. The school had nothing to do with it. The only involvement the school has in the matter is that it houses these girls under the same roof during the day. If an incident were to occur then the school would be responsible for any harm that came out of it, but you can't blame them for something if it happened outside of school.

    The parents are in fact responsible, but only to a certain extent. Yes, kids watch ridiculous shows on TV with snobby attitudes, but who lets them watch these shows?? Parents. As a parent it is your duty to ensure that your child is not watching bad-mouthed and ignorant programs. On the other hand anyone that had contact with these children is responsible, anyone who was with them when they witnessed bullying and never told them that it was wrong. All too often I can go to a grocery store or to a movie theater and there is either a group of teenagers or adults either arguing or snickering at someone. If your child sees that and you don't reinforce that that behavior is unacceptable and intolerable, then you children will know nothing better.

    This may seem like a small incident to most people, but it can quickly grow into a much larger problem. If people want bullying to stop, then they must stop bullying too. You have to practice what you preach.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  86. Satish

    BULLYING HAS NO PLACE IN SCHOOL OR SOCIETY!!! This has to stop. No one gains from this.. neither the victim not the bully!!! We need strong school adminstrators to nip it in the bud and very very strict & ZERO tolerance for bullying should be adopted.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  87. Jim

    I think the classmates of young Piper have been watching Jon & Kate and have decided to hurt others with non physical taunts and humiliation, which seems to be Kate's specialty

    May 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  88. Stunned

    The fact that there are actually people saying that this is blown out of proportion, and trying to rationalize why the school and police shouldn't be responsible for this girl's safety is beyond comprehension and shows exactly why kids who bully others think this behavior is OK. Still want to argue that this mentality isn't learned from parents? Just look at some of the nasty comments like "You are all whiners", etc...

    May 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  89. Jason

    I see a lot of people saying that the parents can't control this type of behavior and that's flat out wrong. It's that they don't WANT to control the behavior because that would cross the "friend barrier." Many parents these days are too weak to be good parents.

    Regarding the schools, if they won't put a stop to this type of behavior, then they shouldn't come down on kids when they do.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  90. Dave

    First of all, I'll readily admit, I didn't read the whole article, but, how is this a school issue? Unless this video was made in the school, or the kids were using school equipment to create and post this video online, I'm not sure what can be done against the school.

    As a former school administrator, I can see punishing the kids for any bullying that's done on school grounds, but you can't hold the school responsible for a video the kids made at home.

    While I won't jump to conclusions and say "this is the fault of the parents", I will say that the parents need to step in and work together to end this ordeal for Piper. Bullying is serious – but it doesn't have to be solved in courts.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  91. Bobby

    We don't need laws for lazy parents and overly sensitive kids. Don't put restrictions on the net cause you're too lazy to watch your own kid. A lot of this crap comes from the fact school officials are now so afraid if they DO anything an irate parent will sue because, "Little Susie is such a nice girl!"

    For those of you saying "jail the girls", SHAME ON YOU. I may not agree with what they say, and it is probably a very childish and vulgar statement, but tossing them in jail for it is just as evil or worse than their annoying video.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  92. Concerned Citizen

    Bring these girls up for charges and send a message to those that think they can get away with these threats!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  93. Lindsay

    Unfortunately in this day and age, parents don't get as much time as needed with their kids. Most kids are in school for 6-8 hours, if younger then 14, they then go to their home and are watched by a care giver or to a friends house, etc, until their parents are home from work. In these 10 hours more or less away from their parents, children are subjected to the upbringing of other kids, and in most cases, tv and internet....By the time mom and dad are with them, there are about 3 or 4 hours left before bedtime! Parents need to solidify their relationships with their children, even if they only have an hour each day. As a parent you cannot blame only outside influences. You are responsable for your child and the morals that you instil in them. Kids have attitudes nowadays and they have become immune to punishment. If we don't act and get media involved, local police, community centers etc, then when will these kids ever learn. It is time to embarrass them and make them see that their actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If you are not the childs mother or father, does that mean you will not take action against them when they act in an inappropriate way in a public venue? Example; if you go to see a movie and a group of kids is sitting behind you without the company of an adult, and these kids are talking, making unacceptable comments etc, are you going to just sit there and not act? I am sorry but I am the first person to tell them to be quiet and you know what, more times than not, they are embarrassed. Sure there is the kid that will give you attitude back, but by this time you have other movie goers on your side and those kids will either shut up or get up and leave because their little game didn't work! Take a stand people. We are the adults, don't let children take over because they certainly will not become responsable adults!

    May 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  94. Juan

    This girl needs to toughen up a bit, in the real world mommy wont be able to save you from people who wont sugarcoat things for you...what a weakling.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  95. Rider3

    Beth, keep getting this story out in the news, on the blogs, wherever you can. Publicity is the only thing that'll get some results. The parents are simply supporting their own child's horrible actions (not good parenting, is it?), but the school should be behind you and your daughter. Instead, it's almost like they blame the victim. The fact that they tried to sweep things under the rug speaks volumes. Don't let this story die down. Good luck.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  96. calis

    Here's my Bullying tale:

    I was on the receiving end of verbal bullying (I was/am a big guy, I just don't like fighting) all I can say is this:

    Bullies can dish it out, but they can't take it, nor do they handle being ignored well..

    Example: After having having a team bully me for a while, I just simply started responding to thier jeers with "Who cares who you think stupid?" After responding to ever they jeer by calling them stupid, it only took a minute to throw a tantrum, toss a bag at me, and walk away.

    Another example: I 'shoulder bumped' one of the 'tough' guys of the school (and after following me to my next class, which I was in a hurry to get to) he proceeded to yell and holler. Teacher told him to get out, so he waited till the next day to try and get a rise out of me. I told him to his face that I really didn't care and he freaked out when I calmly started reading a book during his tirade. After loudly announcing threat, the teacher sent him out of the class room and he never bothered me again.

    Moral of the story: Bullies THRIVE on hot-headed, impulsive responses, but HATE IT when you take control of the situation and make light of them.

    Ignoring them may be the best solution, but calmly belittling them tends to stop things faster.

    May 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  97. Nancy Harrison

    I agree that cyber bullies should be punished. Individuals should not be allowed to bully and torment children on the internet. Evidence – the young girl who killed herself because a Mother, who should know better, "broke up with her" in a nasty way causing her to commit suicide. That is just plain wrong. If you want to play that kind of a game, you have to be prepared to suffer the consequences.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  98. Andy

    Why do people think that allowing kids to face absolutely no consequences for their actions is going to turn out to be a good thing?

    What lessons do we teach them when we allow them to get away with things like this? What else did they get away with that made them believe they could do this with impunity?

    The problem today is schools are left with pretty much one discipline option, which is throwing kids out of school. The type of kid that does this would see that as a reward not a punishment.

    Perhaps we need to toughen up a little and do things like get troubled children into hospitals or retirement homes doing community service. Teach them some compassion for those around them, rather than reward spoiled and selfish behavior.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  99. CFK

    Have an attorney begin investigating bringing the offenders up on Child Predator laws. That is the point when the families will begin to wonder how they will raise their children when they are not allowed in the vicinity of other children. The school board will then have to take a stand on this and do everything to eliminate it.

    May 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  100. Mary

    All of the adults involved in this situation need to do more to stop the bullying that Piper is having to endure, including her own mother. I was bullied quite a bit in junior high and high school, but I was told by my mother to "just ignore them and they'll go away", and the school did little to stop it (and one of the schools was a Catholic school). My mom's advice, though well intentioned, did nothing but make me feel absolutely powerless and an even more appealing target. Girls are taught at an early age that they're supposed to be nice to everyone, and they act out their negative emotions through the kind of passive aggressive behavior that constitutes bullying. Girls should be taught to express their emotions directly instead of stabbing each other in the back, and the girls being harassed shouldn't just let them get away with it without standing up for themselves (and let their self-esteem suffer as a result). The grown-ups need to properly punish the bullies. As a consequence of my bullying, I grew up to distrust authority figures and I suffered from low self-esteem for a long time after I was finished with school. Luckily, now I'm a very strong woman who is not afraid to stand up for herself, but it took years for me to get to this point.

    Hang in there Piper, I promise you, it WILL get better!

    May 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6