PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Two 12-year-olds in Florida have been charged with cyberstalking in connection with the death of a middle school student who killed herself two weeks ago.
The circumstances around the death of 12-year-old Gabriella Green on Jan. 10 led to the arrests of the two Surfside Middle School students, Panama City Beach officials said in a news release Monday.
Police did not release the names of the two children who were arrested because they are minors.
Investigators were made aware of the potential cyberbullying against the girl, which led them to examine several cellphones and social media accounts, the news release said.
They interviewed two suspects with their parents’ permission, and say both confessed to cyberbullying.
Gabriella’s mother, Tanya Green, told the Panama City News Herald the arrests “were gratifying” but added she puts the blame on parents and the school system.
“It’s going to help others at her school,” Green told the newspaper. “It’s going to start at her school. It’s going to help others around the world.”
Police said the two children arrested acknowledged their conduct was directed at Gabriella Green “knowing that said conduct would result in emotional distress.”
Even so, police said the investigation did not reveal that the cyberbullying caused the girl’s death, just that it was occurring at the time.
Police said that during the investigation, they discovered several middle school children with unrestricted and unmonitored access to social media apps, and said the department will hold a training in the coming weeks for parents about how to manage this access.
“These specific cellphone applications have been found to be the root of several dangerous and negative situations, such as cyberbullying, sexting and potential access by online predators,” police said.
The medical examiner is still working to determine Green’s cause of death, police said.