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  • Megan Meier was a 13 year old from Missouri who struck up an online friendship on the popular social networking site MySpace with a person she believed was a new boy in her hometown. In actuality, the “friend” was a group of individuals, including adults, who were intent on humiliating the poor girl because of a friendship with another child that had gone awry. Megan was very upset when she found out the truth, then later committed suicide once the friendship had terminated. The horrifying case stunned the community and caused state government officials to pass some of the harshest cyber bullying laws in the country.
  • Soccer star Alexis Pilkington, 17, took her own life March 21 following vicious taunts on social networking sites -- which persisted postmortem on Internet tribute pages, worsening the grief of her family and friends. Alexis' parents downplayed the role the Internet played in her suicide, saying their daughter was in counseling before she ever signed up with FormSpringMe.com, a new social networking site, where many of the attacks appeared.
  • In South Korea, a female college student was riding the train with her dog when it defecated on the floor of the subway car. After the girl refused to clean up the mess, another passenger on the train took her picture using her cell phone and posted it online. In the months to follow, it became an Internet sensation in South Korea and “Dog Poop” girl became the target of extreme harassment. Individuals found out her name and address and soon she was forced to withdraw from school and move to another part of the country.
  • This year in Clinton Missouri, charges were filed against a teenager who allegedly created a fake Facebook account to serve as a competition against a young girl who was interested romantically in a male student. The account was created by another girl who wanted the boy all to herself, the suit claims. As a result, the targeted individual underwent significant levels of stress which affected her studies and her ability to attend school regularly. The case is one of many that feature phony accounts on Facebook or MySpace that are used to harass young people or stir up trouble among friends.
  • After years of bullying, Vermont eighth-grader Ryan Halligan took his own life in 2003 when a rumor about him spread across the Web. His father, John Halligan, says it was “like a feeding frenzy. Kids who normally didn't bully got in on the fun, both at school and online.”
  • While making the transition to a new town and a new country, Phoebe Prince, officials believe, became the target of intense cyber-bullying, which may have contributed to her apparent suicide. A friend who did not want to be identified told CBS News, “She was being bullied because she was pretty and people were just jealous.” Her friend said she was called an “Irish slut” and a whore. According to a letter from the high school principal, what began as “mean-spirited comments” at school soon found their way online, something experts say is far more dangerous.
  • Eleven-year-old Jessi Slaughter is now under police protection after receiving death threats from several cyberbullies. It all started when Slaughter encountered several “haters” in a live, online video chat room using a site called Stickam which hosts real-time, streaming videos. Slaughter subsequently recorded a response video to the bullies from her bedroom webcam and posted it on YouTube. The video has been dubbed an “emotional breakdown” and features her angry father threatening the cyberbullies with criminal charges. To date, the video has been seen by over 1 million viewers.
  • Megan Gillan, 15, took a fatal overdose of painkillers after bullies waged a hate campaign against her on Bebo. She swallowed the tablets after classmates posted spiteful messages on the social networking site. In the run-up to her death, Megan had been taken out of class to keep her away from her tormentors and studied alone in a “support room.” But her father Mark said: “This is not a support room - it is an exclusion room where pupils are taken out of mainstream rooms because they are disruptive. My daughter, who was being bullied, was put in the same room as people who caused problems at school.”
Charles Leitch

CHARLES LEITCH

Charles P.E. Leitch, Esq. is a Founding Principal of Patterson Buchanan Fobes Leitch & Kalzer, Inc. Mr. Leitch provides general counsel to various public and private entities, with a particular emphasis in the areas of electronic harrassment, intimidation and bullying in both the workplace and educational settings and critical response to workplace violence, boundary invasion and abuse, and catastrophic events. He provides policy guidance and implementation oversight to clients on matters within his practice. Licensed in Washington and Oregon, he speaks throughout North America on the topics of bullying, cyberbullying and school response and intervention.