How many can relate to the mom from St. Petersburg, Florida who was arrested last week for choking her daughter’s online tormentor?

From the NY Daily News Report:

“I just snapped,” Piscitella wrote on Facebook. “Yes I shouldn’t have done that, but you all do not even come close to understanding all the torment they have put my child through.”

Piscitella said the boy wrote “disgusting” comments below a photo of her daughter, calling her “a fat f—ing whale” who “didn’t deserve to live because she is so nasty that he wouldn’t even rape her.”

“When someone is CONSTANTLY BULLYING YOUR DAUGHTER for no reason what so ever and NOTHING is done about it EVER is that ok?” Piscitella wrote, adding that her husband had reached out to the student to ask him to stop commenting about their daughter and been met with obscenities.
“It was just vulgar,” the girl’s father Jim Piscitella told the Times. “It’s just mean.”

A few hours after the incident Piscitella was arrested on a charge of child abuse, but she was released on bail on Tuesday. The boy’s mother decided to press charges after seeing red marks on her son’s neck.

It’s actually hard for me to read this story and not want to be violent myself…and to be honest, I’m a pretty mellow person.
What drives me insane is that the boy’s “red marks on his neck” may be nothing compared to the scars on this girl’s — and mother’s (and probably father’s) hearts. It will be a horrible memory for the rest of their lives.  No one ever talks about the long tail of pain — and now embarrassment — that this family feels because this boy has crossed every line possible when it comes to civility.
Debbie regrets what she did which brings up another really important issue.  We tell kids to tell their parents or another trusted adult.  In this case, the daughter told her mother and it didn’t end well.  This is one of the most important gaps in bullying prevention efforts.  Most adults are well-meaning…but we don’t always know how to handle this emotionally filled and complicated issue.  Kids don’t tell adults because they fear things will get worse and they are often right.
Kathryn Otoshi, award-winning author of One, and I developed the Be the One Go-To Adult certificate and tips for parents of kids in K-5 and there is additional advice on what parents of older kids can do.
Many of us can relate to how Debbie reacted but we can learn from it, too.  After this horrible incident, what’s her advice?  Go through the proper channels…and monitor your kids on Facebook.  (But she had something interesting to say about the proper channels, which she says she tried first.  “They have all these bullying laws but when it comes down to it, it falls on deaf ears.”  Do you hear that schools?  These laws will backfire if we don’t start training administrators and teachers about bulling — offline and online.)
If there is anyone who has watched their child be demeaned and emotionally crushed, I think you can relate to the rage Debbie Piscitella felt when she saw that boy.  Of course, I’m not saying she should have choked him.  I’m saying that I understand the pure anger she must have felt at that moment.
For anyone going through something similar, you have my empathy.

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