Georgia Teen Sues Cyberbullying Classmates

PHOTO: Alex Boston, 14, center, poses with her mom Amy, and father Chris and a screen shot of the phony Facebook account that was set up in Alexs name, April 26, 2012, at their home in Acworth, Ga.
Share
Copy

A Georgia teenager is suing two of her classmates for creating a cruel Facebook page in her name after school officials and authorities said the matter was out of their control.

Alex Boston, 14, of Acworth, Ga., was enjoying her school's Field Day celebration for the end of the school year in May 2011 when annoyed classmates began to approach her.

"A little bit into the morning, her friends started coming up to her and saying, 'Why are you saying nasty things on Facebook about me?'" Alex's father Chris Boston told ABCNews.com.

"She took off to the bathroom and hid," Boston said. "When she got home, she was crying."

Alex told her parents what had happened and they sat down at their home computers to find the page. When they did, they were horrified by what they saw.

Next to a distorted photo of Alex, it said that the languages she speaks were English and "Retardish." There were posts about false sexual exploits, links to racist videos on YouTube and implications of drug use. And the creators of the page were using the account to post insults on the pages of other friends.

The "About Alex" section said, "I don't have many friends because I'm annoying and I poke people on my way to lunch so I get beat up a lot."

"It made me feel horrible because I didn't think it would happen to me," Alex Boston told ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSBTV.

Alex had never been the victim of bullying before, and her family immediately took action. Their first stop was Alex's school, Palmer Middle School. Chris Boston said school officials spoke to the two teens that made the page and they admitted to making it, but the school could take no further action since the cyber bullying was done off school property, from the students' home computers.

Meanwhile, they were repeatedly using Facebook's "report story or spam" function to try to get the page taken down, but it remained up.

"For the first several months, she kind of went into a shell," Chris Boston said of his daughter.

The family then went to the Cobb County Police Department to file an incident report.

Police notes on the report said: "Boston was advised to notify "Facebook" and request that the web page be shut down. Report was requested and generated for documentation purposes only. No further action required."

Most states, including Georgia, have laws against cyberbullying, but most of these laws do not cover bullying that occurs off of the school's campus.

"[We were] ticked off," Chris Boston said. "It was very frustrating to sit there and see your kid go through this and you can't get it to stop."

After all of the dead ends, the family sought legal help. Numerous lawyers turned down the case before Georgia attorneys Natalie Woodward and Corey Stern decided to meet with the family to hear their story.

"It was impressive to me that [Alex] very much knew what the point of this was that it should not happen to any other kids," Woodward told ABCNews.com. "This is not the kind of case you retire on or get to go to college on. You're suing people who just have normal personal assets. She understood that and felt that it was important and worth doing."

Woodward and Stern said that though the case did not have great financial benefit for anyone, they did not have the heart to turn Alex away after she and her parents had done everything right.

"That would send the wrong message to hear and that would impact her forever," Woodward said.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...