Tuesday, March 24, 2009
On July 3, a beautiful young woman, Jessica Logan , hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18. According to news reports, Jessica sent a nude photo of herself via a cell phone to her boyfriend at the time, who then sent it to others at the school, and the taunting and name calling began. Understandably, her parents are distraught with the loss of their precious child, their only child, and rightfully so, because as parents, we expect that our child or children will bury us, not the opposite.
This is an awful tragedy, and as a parent, one I would never want to experience, but does it require a law as her parents are wanting? This is a difficult question to answer, but I am inclined to say, no, it does not, and her are my reasons.
Unlike the case in Missouri were a 14 year old girl hanged herself over 'cyberbullying', Jessica was 18 at the time, and thus lawfully capable of deciding to send the picture or not send the picture. In addition, Jessica decided, on her own accord, to not pursue the investigation, which she could do so at age 18.
And again, while I sympathize with her family, after reading the report in the newspaper, they are blaming the school for not doing enough to help Jessica...but the question in my mind after reading that snippet was..."Where were you?"
Her parents obviously knew what that this bullying was happening to their daughter, but what did they do? The article cites nothing except that when truancy notices started to appear, she would drop her daughter off at school, but fails to mention if the parents approached school officials with their concerns about this, just that the school did not do enough.
Her friends stated that she had changed was exceedingly distraught, and they witnessed it, but were the parents so obliviously to the emotions of their daughter that they failed to see the changes? As a Father of a daughter, I know first hand the emotional roller coasters that are teenage girls, but if a girl like Jessica described as being bubbly, carefree, suddenly becomes sullen and withdrawn for an extended period of time, I would think that as a parent, the alarm bells would go off, alerting you that there is a problem.
This tragic chain of events that lead to Jessica's suicide was entirely preventable, right from the beginning. I agree that educating our youth about this burgeoning problem of sending nude pictures, or posting them on the internet, and the consequences that can come from it, but will enacting laws from prevent this from happening again? No, it will not. There are already laws on the books regarding harassment, laws on the books regarding posting and distribution of nude images regarding minors, but the fact remains that Jessica was 18 at the time, and thus an adult under the law.