Indianapolis teen suspended for bullying classmates on Facebook
An Indianapolis teenager is in big trouble tonight for cyber bullying using her social media account. Several of her classmates say she threatened to beat up classmates, unless they paid her off.
The mother of one of the victims tells Eyewitness News she thinks no one should take the case lightly.
"Not to be picked on, not to be bullied," said Unique Bridgeman.
Bridgeman says her 11-year-old daughter was one of at least five students at her school that weren't just bullied, they were forced to pay up or get beat up. She says she knew something was wrong when her sixth grade daughter not only didn't want to attend Charles Warren Fairbanks School (IPS School #105), she became afraid to even set foot on the school bus.
"It got to the point she was crying that she did not want to go to school anymore. She wanted us to change schools, she wanted to move somewhere else," Bridgeman said.
The problem was a 13-year-old girl threatening over Facebook to beat up younger students if they didn't bring her money.
Bridgeman's suspicions grew when her daughter started asking for money.
"You're asking for $5, $10, $15. What do you need $15 for school? You are not getting anything out of the snack machine that costs $15," she said.
Bridgeman says her daughter wanting to bring money to school wasn't the only red flag. Her behavior changed, too.
"Like her grades, the teacher saying she was not paying attention, she was more afraid of who was going to be her friend," she said.
What worries Bridgeman the most is the growing number of suicides involving young people, where bullying may have been a contributing factor. She hopes every parent has had a heart-to-heart talk with their kids about reporting bullies, especially at school.
"Don't ever feel like that is your only option, to take your own life, because it's not," Bridgeman said.
One of the victims was brave enough to share those Facebook messages with their teacher and that's just what IPS wants students to do - report bullying to an adult right away.
IPS has a zero tolerance for bullying of any kind.
The 13-year-old girl got suspended for five days the first time for bullying, returned to school and did it a second time and is suspended again.