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Florida Law Governing Juvenile Bullies who Behave Criminally

In recent years, the media has devoted a great deal of attention to the subject of bullying. Research indicates that bullying can have a devastating effect on those who are targeted. In addition, bullying behavior can scar those who target others as well. It is important for Florida parents to teach their children to refrain from bullying not only because it is cruel but also because such behavior can lead to criminal charges.

In one recent case, Florida prosecutors charged a 12-year-old female and a 14-year-old female with bullying-related felonies. The girls had targeted another 12-year-old girl with bullying behavior for months. After the young girl could stand no more, she jumped off a high cement factory tower and died.

Parents may think, "Well, that is just one tragic and extreme case." However, bullying-related deaths are more common than many adults believe that they are. When bullying juveniles charged with crimes are compelled to face serious consequences for their actions, their lives can be as forever changed as those individuals whom they target.

The criminal charges that may be levied in response to bullying vary with the situation at hand. Cyber bullies may be charged differently than violent bullies are. However, Florida law does protect children against various bullying behaviors regardless of how they are perpetrated. As a result, it is critical that parents ensure that their children do not participate in the bullying of others.

Sometimes, despite parents' best efforts, children behave in ways that are not expected of them. If your child has been accused of bullying another child and may be facing criminal consequences, please contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your legal options.

Source: USA Today, "Two girls arrested on bullying charges after suicide," Doug Stanglin and William M. Welch, Oct. 16, 2013

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