Lawyer Mark O'Mara: Hold Parents Responsible for Cyberbullying Kids

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 04:35 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Parents should be held accountable for their children cyberbullying other youngsters in some cases, according to noted Florida lawyer and CNN contributor Mark O'Mara.

"Throwing the parents in jail is not going to make them better parents," O'Mara told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

"But, if in fact, a mom and a dad act in a grossly negligent way or are willfully blind about what their kids are doing, then they should be held criminally responsible."

O'Mara, who successfully defended George Zimmerman against murder charges in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, is drafting a proposed law that would do just that.

It comes in the wake of the horrific cyberbullying case of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, in which two girls were arrested and charged in her death.

Sedwick took a fatal leap from a silo in Bartow, Fla., last month after an alleged bullying campaign.

Guadelupe Shaw, 14, and Katelyn Roman, 12, have been charged with aggravated stalking, with reports alleging Shaw posted a Facebook note reading: " Yes ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a (expletive)]."

"Our kids … the generation that we're raising just seem to be so desensitized to what they're doing. I mean a case like this, it's horrible that for 11 months those two girls were bullying or stalking this girl online and in person," O'Mara said.

"But almost worse than the 11 months, the way I look at it, was when the girl posted . . . 'Yes I know, I bullied her, I don't care.' I said, how can a 14-year-old be that desensitized, that uncaring that another child dies and she cares that little?

"We have to start looking to the only place that we can, the family, to try and make them more responsible."

O'Mara said the Internet can be a "great tool" as well as a "devastating weapon."

"When it gets to the point where it can be a weapon, then parents have to look at it and be responsible," he said.

"This is a reality check on us as a society with a brand new tool that we know precious little about how to handle."

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