Also last month, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act. The tough anti-cyberbullying law came after the 2005 suicide of 15-year-old Jeffrey, who his mother says had endured three years of torturous harassment over the Internet.
To those who say bullying is just part of childhood, Jeffrey's mother, Debbie Johnston of Cape Coral, Fla., says that's "like saying rape is part of marriage."
Jodee Blanco, who grew up the victim of bullies, agrees with the sentiment. An author of two books on her own bullying experience, she now is a consultant who travels the country to talk to schools — including Ricky's.
"It's not that bullying is any worse today," she says. "The impulse for cruelty is the same impulse. The only difference is that the tools to achieve that have become more sophisticated."
But all the attention over cyberbullying is "a double-edged sword. In one respect, America is finally waking up. And yes, it's due in large part to the Internet. The flipside of that is it's also motivating a lot of kids to be meaner. Because in their minds, it is such a cool tool to show off how mean they can be."
READERS: What kind of advice would you give kids who are getting 'cyberbullied'? What did adversity of this kind teach you when you were younger? Share with us in the comments.