St. Pete teen to be held for 21 days in bullying case - WFLA News Channel 8

St. Pete teen to be held for 21 days in bullying case

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Gabrielle Rogers in a Pinellas County courtroom on Friday Gabrielle Rogers in a Pinellas County courtroom on Friday
Pinellas County -

Gabrielle Rogers, a 15-year-old from St. Petersburg, who was charged on Thursday with several counts of aggravated stalking and tampering with a witness after St. Petersburg Police say she sent hundreds of threatening text messages to three girls, was ordered to be held for 21 days in a juvenile detention facility and to undergo a behavioral evaluation.

Related story: St. Pete Police arrest 15-year-old in cyberbully case
 
Rogers looked very small as she entered a very large courtroom in Pinellas County on Friday morning.

Judge Mary Fleming quickly set the tone in the hearing.

Fleming called Rogers name and the teen responded with a quiet voice saying, "yes."

Fleming shot back, "We say yes ma'am here."

Rogers replied, "Yes ma'am."

Judge Fleming then read the list of charges against the teen and ruled there is probable cause to hold her on all counts.

Cases like this and the Rebecca Sedwick case out of Polk County strike a nerve with Tampa attorney David Tirella who helped write an anti-bullying law in Florida.

Related story: Sheriff Judd announces arrests in cyberbullying case

Tirella says, "The Jeffrey Johnson stand up for all students act is a great law on paper. What it did and supposed to is put the burden back on the school teachers, administrators."

Tirella says the law is designed to deal in a complete fashion with bullying.

Tirella says, "By Law a committee is supposed to be set up. A number of individuals from law enforcement, school councilors, teachers administrators, parents, they are all supposed to circle the wagon around the victim and the bully to educate both and to stop the behavior."

Tirella admits the law is having little impact.

"If the school didn't document it, it wasn't a problem," says Tirella.

He hopes recent arrests for bullying in Polk County and now in Pinellas County, will help.

"I think our last great hope to help in Florida to help victims and also to reeducate the bully, which is half the equation, you have to educate both the victims and the bully, this behavior is not acceptable, law enforcement is the last great hope," said Tirella.

Help available: Bullying resources and experts

 
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