Save Cynthia Logan

If Def Leppard were around today, maybe they would name their album "Sexting"

If Def Leppard were around today, maybe they would name their album 'Sexting'

I have great compassion for Cynthia Logan, but she must be stopped. Well, more to the point, it is time to save her from those who are exploiting her for their own gain.

Cynthia Logan is the mother of Jessie Logan. Jessie Logan made what some might call a “bad decision.” She took sexually provocative photographs of herself and sent them to her high-school boyfriend. When the two of them broke up, he childishly sent them to all his buddies, and they forwarded them, and so on. Jessie recently took her own life, and as often happens her mom has been making the talk show circuit calling for “tougher laws.”

Jessie’s parents are attempting to launch a national campaign seeking laws to address “sexting” – the practice of forwarding and posting sexually explicit cell-phone photos online. The Logans also want to warn teens of the harassment, humiliation and bullying that can occur when that photo gets forwarded. (source)

I don’t want to cause any pain to the Logans, but lets assign blame where it is due before we start running off at the mouth that we should add new laws to the web of idiotic laws we already have. Why would Jessie be so despondent? Was it really all about “sexting?” Is the “sexting can kill” statement a whole lot of BS? Parry Aftab says that Sexting Can Lead to Death! On the other hand, Dr. Marty Klein tells us “Sexting” Can’t, Repeat, Can’t Kill Anyone.”

For the record, I’m going with the Doctor over the lawyer on this one.

What gets conveniently buried in this story is that just before Jessie Logan committed suicide, she attended the funeral of a 16 year old classmate who took his own life. What is completely omitted from the coverage is any call for personal responsibility — or perhaps any mention that our society’s absolute paranoia and erotophobia might have contributed to Jessie’s death. Why? Because the “fear of sex for profit” industry wouldn’t have anything to sell if those factors were taken into account.

The fact is that every damn kid thinks about suicide — it is a normal part of teenage hormone-driven angst – and teens require advanced parenting. Teen suicide doesn’t need an engine like “sexting,” and Jessie Logan is unfortunately not special. She’s just one of many teenagers whose parents didn’t see the warning signs and now they are looking to find someone, anyone, but themselves to blame — an eminently normal and forgivable reaction. I’m not saying that Jessie’s parents are to blame. They are as blame-worthy and blame-less as any parent of a teenager who commits suicide. They are blame-worthy for not seeing the signs, but blame-less because frankly, they can be almost impossible to interpret until after the fact – as virtually any parent or friend of a teenager who has taken his or her own life will tell you.

Do we need new laws? Is “sexting” really “dangerous” as those in the fear-mongering industry want us to believe? No, it sure isn’t. Lesson 1 is to communicate with your children about the over-arching issue here — teen suicide. When I was a kid, my parents suggested that if I ever wanted to kill myself, I could just decide to fuck my life up instead. I always kept that in mind as a backup plan.

Lesson 2 is to teach your kids to either not sext, or if they want to be comfortable with their sexuality and do so — to be prepared for the consequences. If those consequences arise, they just might need to understand that high school is only four years long, and once they get to college they can be whoever they want to be. I know a lot of girls who got tagged with the “slut” or “whore” label. You know how they dealt with it? Some reinvented themselves when they left for college. That’s part of the wonder of going away to college. Some just reinvented themselves in high school, turning Goth or some such silliness. Others reveled in the label and enjoyed their youth in a shower of promiscuity. Lets face it, sluts have more fun, and usually those doing the taunting are at their life’s unhappily low peak. You want proof? Go to your next high school reunion and look where the bullies are today.

Jessie Logan’s epitaph should not be written by the fear-mongering industry. If it is, there will be more Jessie Logans, they’ll just use stupid 18 year old logic to make permanent decisions about another temporary problem. But, if her epitaph is written by the fearmongers, we’ll have exactly the same number of teen suicides, but at least one more dumb law that encroaches on our liberties.

The bigger problem is the fact that the “fear of sex” business, both the right-wing religious nuts and the left-wing “junior anti-sex league” types has turned any exposure of a healthy interest in sexuality into something that an 18 year old girl needs to fear and be ashamed of in the first place. Instead of running around the country with shrill “warnings” about the “danger” of sexting — maybe Cynthia Logan’s message should be to tell kids that their interest in sex is normal and that there are options to suicide.

Losing a family member does not make you an authority on anything except grief. Cynthia Logan has the right to lecture on how to cope with losing a daughter — but losing a child does not give anyone the mental capacity to draft laws nor to lobby for other fools to draft them. In fact, it does the opposite.

Cynthia Logan should be forgiven for reacting foolishly. Any mother who loses a child shouldn’t be expected to think clearly. However, it is clear that she’s being exploited by people with a vested financial and political interest in fear mongering. It is up to us to stop that exploitation.

31 Responses to Save Cynthia Logan

  1. Tatiana says:

    Excellent post.

  2. Clint says:

    God… Her mom is an idiot! So clueless.

  3. Ahcuah says:

    This whole thing is even stupider than you suggest.

    The two bills were just recently introduced. The Senate version is Senate Bill 103; the House is House Bill 132.
    The House Bill is here (I sure hope embedding works.)

    “Nudity” is defined by statute. It includes things like showing the buttocks. So if a 17-year old kid takes a picture of his 17-year old girlfriend at the beach wearing a thong and sends her a copy–zapped! Not only that, but topless if legal in Ohio, so she could even be topless, legally, but sending the picture would be a misdemeanor. Oh, and if you take a picture of your 1-year old baby sister in the bathtub and send that? Zapped again. Writing this bill takes a level of moronity that is just unbelievable.

    And what caused a lot of this problem? The use of a minor in nudity-oriented material is a felony. See the Ohio Revised Code § 2907.323. So these legislators and busybodies are thinking they are doing these minors a favor by giving them a lower-penalty alternative.

    There is just one big problem with this. A little thing called the First Amendment. You see, the nudity oriented material statute as written is horribly overbroad. (Ya think?) In fact, it is so overbroad that the Ohio Supreme Court limited it in State v. Young(1988), 37 Ohio St.3d 249, 525 N.E.2d 1363 (reversed on other grounds in Osborne v. Ohio (1990), 495 U.S. 103, 110 S.Ct. 1691). The limiting construction is that “R.C. 2907.323(A)(3) prohibits the possession or viewing of material or performance of a minor who is in a state of nudity, where such nudity constitutes a lewd exhibition or involves a graphic focus on the genitals, and where the person depicted is neither the child nor the ward of the person charged.”

    So, all those prosecutors who have threatened all these teenagers for photos of mere nudity were blocking smoke. And the teenagers, fearing real prosecution, for a felony, accept diversion programs instead of fighting (and having to pay their lawyers) for a fight. Also, from what I’ve seen from newspaper stories, many of the prosecutors don’t even know about the limiting construction. No wonder this poor girl committed suicide if she thought, due to the malfeasant aggressiveness of a prosecutor, that she would be charged with a felony and have to register as a sex offender the rest of her life.

    The legislature (or at least some of them) are well-aware of the problem. I have lobbied some of them to get it changed (in particular, Sen. Bill Seitz, one of the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 103), to add the specific limiting language right into the statute and they were just not interested in doing so.
    Hell, I had Sen. Tim Grendell, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, during a committee meeting, promise to work with me. And then ignore me.

    This new bill uses the same overly broad description that the existing law uses. The limiting construction will have to apply to it, too, in the very least. But did the legislators put that in? No, of course not. They are more interested in looking like they are “doing something.”

    Finally, what with the internet these days, I really doubt that there are more than a few kids over the age of 12 that haven’t seen naughty bits. “Sexting” is in the news because it is so popular and the kids don’t see what is so wrong about. Parts is parts.

  4. M. Stewart Pearl says:

    Bravo.

    Well said!

    M

  5. Cynthia says:

    I’m the idiot one of your responder’s refers to, sir.

    Hey, here’s a thought, if you are an attorney? Why don’t you revise the soverign immunity laws that protect our county schools. So the professionals can’t behave like the three monkeys’ “I see no evil- I hear no evil- I speak no evil.” My child was hazed and her character was assassinated for over 2 months in that school. Not one notice came to parents stating two photos, one being my child and other which happened to be floating around a month prior to my daughters incident.
    My kid even went on a local T.V. station trying to help other.

    Your first line does nothing but allow you to insult me and my child. I hope it gave you and your “small” audience GREAT satisfaction!

    • I don’t think you understand what an attorney does. You say “Hey, here’s a thought, if you are an attorney? Why don’t you revise the soverign immunity laws that protect our county schools. So the professionals can’t behave like the three monkeys’ “I see no evil- I hear no evil- I speak no evil.””

      Attorneys don’t revise the laws. Legislators revise the laws. Why don’t you call your legislators? I’m not entirely against your proposal (but haven’t really thought a lot about it), but have at it. That would be a lot more constructive than a worthless new “sexting” law.

  6. Cynthia says:

    This site is a joke. Who are you people? Are you parents? Do you understand what actually took place?

    Do you realize there is more to the story than you are actually seeing-reading.

    Shame on all of you.

  7. Cynthia says:

    My mistake. Yes,Lesigislators do this. I am working with a representative and other’s to help us. I am not exactly sure what attorneys do other than make much ado over something that should have changed long ago.

    Our family and my child suffered because of the old laws. Attorney’s in Ohio are refusing to give us any guidance other than what this brilliant attorney suggests–shut up and back away. How easy to print such arrogant hogwash when you haven’t lost as we have.

    We lost our most precious soul and know what took place is absolutely,without a doubt wrong.

    My child knew she what she did. She was only eighteen. “Do you process your thoughts the same way you did when you were a teen?”

    The laws we have now are for “sex offenders”

    Jessie did her part. We, as her parents tried our hardest to do ours. Two attorneys we talked with said “What took place was mishandled and wrong.”

    Thats all we received from this wonderful legal system.
    Where were the professionals, meaning school officals, and the resource officer?
    This information needs to be heard. Harassment laws need to be heightened. We are doing this help create another law. The present law is meant for sex offenders. We are introducing a law softer for teenagers. (I explain it below)

    Did you also know 4 attempted suicides occurred at this very school just months after my child passed?

    Kids were being caught in other school districts with nude photos. I was told of another child, a 16 year old girl is being harassed at yet another school in our county. She is pressured,and bullied into taking a nude photo of herself by peer boys. Her mother went to the school. They want NO PART OF IT! She went to the local police station, nothing was done. This child continues to get harassed. Totally absurd.

    When my child took her life, I was thrown into an arena I knew nothing about. If you have read any of the new laws which are being proposed, they only state children would be put on probation. They would have to do community service (my hope is an assembly in front of their peers stating what they have done and how it effected that person.) Counselling is also offered.
    MY child was SO devastated. She tried EVERYTHING to make others understand her plight. I am following in her very bright footsteps. You have NO RIGHT to judge us. You haven’t walked down my path!
    If you don’t like it, you have every right to do as you please.
    I am only doing this to protect kids. The world is a much different,harsher place than when I was a teenager.
    Technology is a wonderful thing. It can also destroy someone. Kids need to be monitored.
    This includes the school systems!

    • In no way ever would I wish to diminish your loss, and as a parent I feel the utmost compassion for you.

      But, when someone says I am only doing this to protect kids. my reaction is “WATCH OUT!”

      Sexting didn’t kill Jessie. You say “Harassment laws need to be heightened.” I say they don’t, and the last person we should take advice or leadership from is a grieving parent.

      You say “When my child took her life, I was thrown into an arena I knew nothing about. “. You still know nothing about it. You are an expert on grief now, sadly. But on legal issues? Liberty issues? No, you’re not. You are a lashing-out sad and angry parent reacting, I might add, in a completely understandable manner.

      But the “lawyers” you consulted with have their own agendas, I suspect.

      If this school has a problem, it is because the children haven’t been taught compassion or acceptance at home.

      If Jessie was devastated that her picture was being sent around, perhaps the problem is that she has been raised in an environment of erotophobia. Read Dr. Klein’s piece. I think you’ll find it illuminating. Perhaps she was despondent at the death of her classmate? Why won’t anyone acknowledge how much of an impact that might have had on her?

      I have EVERY right to judge you. You are using (mis-using) your position in the spotlight to try and change MY laws. That’s part of the bargain. In fact, I not only have the right, but the responsibility to judge you.

      Grieve as you must. But you are being used by people who sensationalize the deaths of children for their own political and financial benefit. You are being manipulated and used in a way that will backfire. You aren’t honoring your daughter. You are letting fear-mongers and profiteers make a spectacle and a mockery of her death.

  8. Cynthia says:

    How ridiculous..Erotophobia. I was the most open parent when it came to sex.

    • Perhaps your *home* was not an erotophobic environment, but what I was referring to is that she was raised in that *environment* — her environment goes far beyond her mere home, just as a bird’s environment goes beyond its nest.

  9. Cynthia says:

    I agree about the environment. We could go on for days debating this…but I shall leave it at peace for now.

    I want all your reader’s to realize they really can’t comprehend the thoughts of my child at the time this abuse was taking place.
    She had a good life in our care. She was a compassionate,good girl. It should never have happened. And as I stated previously, two attorney’s agreed–it was “wrong and mishandled.”

    Ciao for now.

  10. Cynthia says:

    I just read what Dr. Klein wrote. I think he went on a tangent. I’m so far from Adam Walsh, or any other parent trying to make a buck..that statement is absurd.

    I’m dealing with my daughters death every single day.
    Only another parent that lost the way I did would have the right to say what they thought on this subject. All of you have no clue.

    Dr. Klein..there was no where I could leave you a message. I would love to have the opportunity to say a few things to you.

  11. Jessica says:

    Cynthia,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Truly. And, while I have not lost a child, I did lose my only brother to suicide. I know that there is no end to the questioning that you do — what could I have done, how could it have been prevented, what could someone, anyone, have done? So, I understand your deep desire to create meaning out of your daughter’s choice by doing something to ensure that others don’t have to suffer the same experience.

    But, there are very good reasons that in our legislative systems, we don’t let our grief dictate the laws we make. It’s because we understand that with grief as the guiding force, we end up with laws motivated by fear and aimed for vengeance.

    Reading the posts here, and doing a little research, it seems to me that what happened with your daughter had little, if anything, to do with sex. Or nudity. She was bullied, horribly, and the photos were simply the most convenient and available vulnerability that the bullies could exploit. Had there been some other attribute, incident, or difference that they could have used to bully her, chances are, they would have.

    I don’t think that anyone here at LS (I am a writer for this blog), nor any of our readers, would disagree that bullying when taken to extremes can indeed be dangerous. As social creatures, it can be among the worst experiences of our lives to be targeted for ridicule and harassment by our peers. It strikes at the core of our identities as part of a group or community, and that need for belonging is fundamental to our beings.

    The thing that we – our writers and our readers – take issue with is the (however understandable) desire to create restrictive and punitive laws in response. For a number of reasons:

    First, because laws such as the one’s introduced in Ohio are going to be ineffective. Kids, teenagers and adults alike are interested in, curious about, and will communicate about sex. If there’s a camera and a way to transmit a picture, then people will take nude and sexual pictures of themselves and others. It’s part of who we are. Criminalizing this behavior will only serve to take our normal, and unless abused, entirely healthy sexual self-interest and make it into something seen as (even more than we already do) something shameful and prohibited. That hurts everyone – especially teenagers, who are just discovering the meanings of their own sexuality.

    Second, it takes the bullying your daughter faced out of the realm of morality, and tries to shove it into a legal box that, had that been the law, wouldn’t have saved your daughter. Your daughter felt humiliated because her peers treated her sexuality, and her nudity, as something to be sneered at, mocked, and ridiculed. You may well have been able to prosecute the people who distributed the material, but I doubt that would have made your daughter feel any better about being the target of their harassment.

    Were it the case that teenagers were in fact discouraged from conduct because of the law, then no one would smoke pot and drunk driving wouldn’t be the leading cause of teenage deaths. The pictures of your daughter would have been circulated no matter what the law is.

    The very legitimate bone that you have to pick is with a social morality that treats a young woman’s sexuality as something scandalous, as a reason to ostracize her. The issue you have is with cultural norms that views your daughter’s nudity as a reason for her to be embarrassed. A cultural morality that tolerates (and even encourages) bullying.

    I applaud and encourage your efforts to educate, to instill in people the principle that they should think before acting and understand the consequences of their actions, to create a new social morality that doesn’t tolerate bullying.

    Those are noble goals. But, they’re not goals that should be achieved through legal regulation. They’re goals that are achieved by changing hearts and minds. By educating parents that they have to teach their kids not to be bullies. By educating kids, and especially young women, to be fierce in their sexual pride and to rebuke the judgments of others.

    I for one don’t think you’re an idiot in reaching for these goals. But, I do think that if you do so by trying to legislate the change, your efforts are misguided, and, in the end, won’t get you what it is you really want.

  12. Tatiana says:

    Cynthia,
    I’m on the road unable to respond properly here or on my blog though I’ll come back for that in a few days. However I must take a moment to comment on this:

    “All of you have no clue”.

    Grief is relative to circumstances. I do in fact have a clue at how the system fucks over innocent kids and parents and I do have a clue as to “loss”. Do not assume others do not empathize just because they disagree. That said, I also know that a grieving mother cannot think as rationally as a calm mother. If a mother really wants to make a difference she has to calm down first and *then* get to work. Until then everyone just thinks she’s irrational even when she knows she’s not and that only makes everything more difficult in the process of achieving a goal.

    Respectfully,
    Tatiana von Tauber

  13. Cynthia says:

    I wish she could’ve lifted her head and said “Go to hell,you jealous bitches!”

    Let’s face it, teenagers can be and always have been cruel, vicious, however you want to interpret their behavior.

    I send my condolences to your loss. It is a terrible loss. But you didn’t mention if your brother was suffering from Bi-polar disorder or any other type of disease ie alcohol and drugs.

    My child didn’t die because of sex-ting. She was hazed and tormented. But in order for this to come forward, the other needed to take front seat. I’m not a Represenative nor do I run one of the largest on-line organizations for bullyng. I’m a mother that lost their child to suicide because of the harassment and hazing she endured and VOICED to me and others on a daily basis. There definitely should be a law to heighten harassment.

    I never want to read a story or hear of another young person taken away because of the ignorance of parents not teaching their children what should come naturally. Your words don’t compute. They are too soft. The parents you speak of won’t or don’t care. If they did, they would have made sure their children learned this lesson years ago. They were to busy making the mighty dollar. They hand these children credit cards for companions. Lets get real here, please.

  14. Jessica says:

    I never want to read a story or hear of another young person taken away because of the ignorance of parents not teaching their children what should come naturally.

    Me either. But, I think what everyone here, including Dr. Klein, is saying to you is that you need to get real.

    If my words are too soft, then I will put my thoughts to you more directly…

    If you are going to take the spotlight, in your daughter’s name, and call for new laws that will govern everyone – and will have consequences for everyone – then you need to make sure YOU know exactly what the consequences of your actions will be.

    It’s not okay for you to say “I’m not a lawyer” or “I’m not a legislator,” “I’m just a grieving mother.” If you want the laws changed, for people to go to jail, to be labeled sex offenders – then you need to do better. You need to be more informed. You need to become an absolute expert.

    Do you know really know and understand what the First Amendment ramifications of what you propose are? Have you become well versed in sex-offense law so that you are SURE that no one can become labeled a sex offender undeservedly? Are you sure that the laws you’ve stood up for will do exactly what they’re intended to do, and no more than that?

    I have empathy for the fact that you have lost, and sympathy for the fact that you’ve lost a child. But, the reactions you’re getting here are because – whether unwittingly, or by your own choice – the tragedy of your daughter’s suicide is being used to further goals that will not prevent this from happening again, and will likely cause a lot of collateral damage. And, you’re getting THIS feedback from lawyers (myself included), doctors and scholars who work in exactly this area all the time.

    There is no justice to be had for your daughter. There just isn’t. And what you’ve proposed, on your own or encouraged by others, will most likely result in future injustices to others.

  15. Cynthia says:

    So ms. attorney, As you and I both know a boy (19 years old) was wrongly accused. He is serving a sentence we “both” agree is wrong. The boy in florida, if I didn’t make this clear. And I will make sure I read the First Amendment much more clearly. What I’m doing is for the best of all concerned.
    You are saying “Harassing a child in continuance is of no consequence.” Then I will make sure that there is a law for just that!

  16. troopm says:

    There is a major issue here everyone is over looking!

    I have spent more time than I wish, studying suicide prevision, and training others as part of my job. It is expressed that care givers recognize that those considering or committing suicide do so out of desperation. Not because of one event in their lives but rather from a combination of compounded events which give them the feeling of helplessness and desperation.

    The bulling was just one minor factor in the life of this young girl and the parents, bless their souls are focused upon only the obvious. What was hidden in her closet that they have not found or revealed? What secreats did she keep from them? End the end, it does not matter, for it lead to the loss of a beautiful child.

    BUT…The path this grieving mother has chosen is not doing justice to this girl, just increasing the pain and anger within family.

    I would suggest trying to educate others about the dangers of teen stress (not sexting)…..or speaking to schools about bulling and hazing, which has become more prominent in High School than in College….but to focus upon “sexting can kill” fails to address the true issues this child had.

    I am saddened for your loss, please do not allow anger to direct you path. Re-focus, do good in her name…..

  17. Jessica says:

    The boy in Florida is exactly the point.

    The Bill in the Ohio House of Representatives says this:

    Sec. 2907.324. (A) No minor, by use of a telecommunications device, shall recklessly create, receive, exchange, send, or possess a photograph, video, or other material that shows a minor in a state of nudity.

    Under this law, if a teacher had found on your daughter’s cell phone the pictures she had taken of herself, your daughter would have been guilty of a misdemeanor, as:

    (B) It is no defense to a charge under this section that the minor creates, receives, exchanges, sends, or possesses a photograph, video, or other material that shows themselves in a state of nudity.

    As would her boyfriend she sent the pictures too – even if he never forwarded them to anyone.

    The misdemeanor charge, it appears, would be an adult charge.

    If charged, your daughter would have then forever had on her record that she was charged with having explicit pictures of a minor — something that would have haunted her into adulthood.

    Is this really what you mean to be doing?

  18. Cynthia says:

    Actually the misdeanor charge is for 12-17 year old teenagers. The law you speak of is in the process of being changed to a misdeanor in the first degree. And by a case by case manner. Did you watch the press conference last week?

    My child– if still alive, and with the law as it is now, would be a sex offender.

    I wouldn’t want this for her or any child, of course not. The law system makes no absolutely no sense for teens. If I could change the law to 21. I would do that too.

    I’m not here to hurt anyone. You are all saying I am.
    Not true. I know what I’m doing. I am grieving, but can still function. If parents truly cared about their children, they would have taught compassion and tolerance at a young age.

    We wouldn’t have to deal with bullying or all the garbage my poor kid had to deal with.

    I really don’t care what Dr. Klein says. He doesn’t know me or my family intrinsically. He can come to his own conclusions by reading the newspaper or seeing clips of my story. This is not enough information to write what he wrote, not in my book. He doesn’t know me,Jessie or the dynamics of how our family works.

    He took a broad step with his article.

    You know I’m not an attorney. You have read more law books than I could possibly try to fit in at this time.

    All I want is justice for what took place. My child suffered a great injustice. There was no one there to help her.
    Step off your high horse and look at the real issue.

    She suffered because of the laws they have in place.
    Legislators need to revise the Sovereign Immunity laws that protect our School Systems. They watch the bullying, hazing, defamation of character. These professionals are deaf, dumb and blind. They want nothing to do with it. They feel they are doing the correct thing by staying out of it. I say why not send a letter home to parents and allow them to do as they please when they find out about the disseminating of photos?

    We aren’t given this choice. I guess I’m just another parent that is left out in the rain.
    No one sees what I see.

  19. Cynthia says:

    excuse my misspellings~I am typing fast without spell check

  20. Jessica says:

    It is very apparent that you’re grieving, and you have my every sympathy. But, whether its on the front page of the local newspaper or on the Today Show, your daughter’s tragedy is being used to put laws into place that are going to end up hurting people, and not at all addressing the problems that you’re REALLY trying to talk about.

    That’s why you’re getting the reaction you’re getting here (and perhaps elsewhere). I guess it just seems to me that if you want to take the tragedy of your daughter’s death as an opportunity to make positive changes, you’re focused on the wrong thing.

    In taking the pictures of herself and sending them to someone else, your daughter did what (in my opinion) is perfectly healthy, but sadly, was also poor judgment because she didn’t know how those pictures would be used. With the proposed law, another boy or girl who also has a moment of bad judgment (which all teenagers do!) could end up being labeled a sex offender for life. I just don’t see how that helps anyone.

    And, at least it appears, that there may be others who are taking advantage of you, and your daughter, to further political/legal goals. That’s a real shame. Because your daughter’s death could be the catalyst for schools to begin to take the problem of EDUCATING about bullying more seriously. And for parents to do so. Instead, they can all just pass the problem over as “handled” by this new law. So, the schools and the parents can all go right on ignoring the problem, because it’s being taken care of by the legislature.

    In the end, lots of very innocent teenagers could end up suffering the life long consequences of a badly drafted, badly conceived law, and neither the parents nor the schools will have changed.

    The change you want – for people be better to each other, and to demand better behavior from one another – can’t be mandated by law. It has to be taught and learned.

    I want for there to have been help for your daughter too. But, this law wouldn’t have helped her at all, won’t help anyone else, and will very likely hurt a lot of people who don’t deserve it.

    Again, I agree with you that there is a huge need for education. Just not legislation. I don’t have to walk in your shoes to see that.

  21. Cynthia says:

    So, Jessica what do you propose? Really? Give me something solid.

  22. Jessica says:

    Ok, though, I’m not sure you’re going to like my answer. But, please take time to consider it anyway.

    First, I get that you’re looking for something “concrete,” “solid” and “definite.” I do, and I understand why. You want to feel as though your efforts produce tangible results. And, I can understand the urge to make a rule, that everyone has to follow, or face well defined consequences.

    But, as this discussion has pointed out, making a rule is not simple, and bad rules have many, usually much worse, unintended consequences.

    It seems to me that there are 3 audiences you want to communicate with: schools, parents, and teenagers.

    From your comments about “sovereign immunity” (which means something different than how you’re using it) I’m going to guess that you looked into suing the school related to your daughter’s death, and found that the school had immunity.

    A (much!) better option than a law that criminalizes kids would be to develop a curriculum for schools on the subject of bullying. Work with teachers, and psychologists, and parents to create a training program for schools so that teachers can teach students and parents about what bullying is, what the effects of it are, and how to respond to it. In other words, a curriculum aimed at both educating, and at the same time, changing the culture of the school.

    Bullying is only effective if (1) people pay attention to and respond positively to the bully, and (2) if no one stands up.

    I understand that your daughter, for whatever reason, couldn’t stand up for herself in a way that protected her. But, what would have happened if 5 or 10 of her classmates had stood up for her? Not only would the bullies have been put in their place, but your daughter would have received the acceptance and support of her peers, and wouldn’t have felt so isolated. What if, in response to being notified of the bullying by the school, the parents of those kids had sat their children down and made it clear that such behavior is unacceptable, and explained why.

    At the same time, if there’s a school program (that involves parents too) that teaches kids how to respond to being bullied – what might that have done for your daughter. While parents like to think they can teach their kids everything they’ll need, you and I both know that’s not true. Community is important. What if your daughter was encouraged to stand up for herself – by the school, by her teachers, by the overall message that is taught to all students that it’s good to stand up to bullies. What if, when your daughter stood up for herself, the other kids applauded? (literally, or more likely, figuratively).

    (And, while I didn’t know your daughter at all, I can only guess that whatever insecurity, depression, etc. that she might have been experiencing – getting the encouragement and acceptance of her community in response to standing up for herself would have done wonders for her self-esteem).

    So, at this point, we have a curriculum that is aimed at teaching (1) what the dangers of bullying are, and why its not acceptable, and (2) how to respond to bullies, giving the message that standing up for yourself if the socially acceptable response.

    If this isn’t concrete enough, then perhaps the law that needs to be passed is a law that says that schools *must* have a anti-bullying curriculum? Maybe the rule you make is that schools and parents must pay attention to this issue, in a way that actually educates and changes both individuals and the school culture.

    Perhaps the next step is that the school board, the county or city, or the state legislature sets up a committee to design an effective anti-bullying program to be used in all the schools?

    And, there is one more ingredient missing: teaching boys and girls that there is no shame in their sexuality, no reason to be embarrassed by nudity, and that the expression of one’s sexuality does not mean you’re a whore, or a slut. Teach kids to be proud of their bodies, and confident (and in control of) their sexualities. (Now, I gleaned that you’re no fan of Dr. Klein – but consider, one response you can give him is “ok, then help me figure out a better way, help me figure out how to teach kids how to have a healthier attitude about sex and nudity, so that it’s not a vehicle for bullies.” Dr. Klein is an expert at this.)

    Is this a quick fix? No. But the bill in the Ohio legislature is no fix at all, and it’s simply true that changing how people think, how they behave, just isn’t going to happen overnight.

    There are experts, educators, professors, doctors out there who will help you do this.

    So, I guess my response to you is, wouldn’t a better legacy for Jessie (instead of Jessie’s Law – a criminal law) be a cutting edge, truly effective, educational program that is proactive, rather than punitive? One that actually leaves the world a little better off, that teaches us to be better people?

    Isn’t that the legacy she really deserves?

  23. Cynthia says:

    This is so ridiculous. I won’t respond any further.
    Judge as you may.

  24. Cynthia, the grieving parent, says she wants something “solid.” That’s the whole point. There ISN’T going to be anything “solid,” certainly nothing that will bring your daughter back.

    People who experience unspeakable tragedy always want the tragedy to have meaning. What makes an event an unspeakable tragedy is that is has NO meaning. It simply points out that life is unfair, with pain randomly scattered among both good people and bad people.

    And so when we suffer terrible loss, we suffer two losses: the tangible loss (a child, a leg) and the existential loss (life is unfair, it contains random violence and pointless tragedy).

    Every adult who experiences loss has to decide what to do—1) attempt to give the loss meaning, even if it hurts the rest of the community; or 2) bear the pain of meaningless loss with dignity and without seeking revenge.

    Cynthia, your fellow adults are waiting for you to choose #2. Until you do, your attempts to create meaning out of your loss are going to hurt other people–and these people will hold you accountable, whether you’re an expert or not. Because all adults need to be held accountable for how they deal with pain, loss, and sorrow.

  25. Regarding Dr. Klein’s point about the randomness and unfairness that comes into our lives, both to good and bad people, I’d like to say that what Mrs. Logan may wish to consider (though she probably won’t come back to read this) is to not view it as a random act. I think it’s extremely difficult to many people to look at these things w/o meaning. Perhaps that’s just me. I’m Freudian minded.

    Rather, look at it as “random” (specifically in quotes) in the sense that one is being handed a new deck of cards in life. The game has changed. Now what? We can’t go back in time but how do we use the past to project ourselves forward? What has been learned from the past deck of cards and game play that can help one win the next game? Life is a strategically minded game and everyone is out to win. That’s not bad, greedy, egotistic or immoral: it’s survival. The way in which the game is played by the individual is the key difference. Meaning, one can easily cheat but then that only creates more cheaters: everyone else is doing it. If more had courage to play fairly in an unfair game, eventually the game itself becomes more and more fair.

    We all have a talent and potential. Sometimes those external “random” happenings are simply necessary to get us to ignite them. No one has answers why randomness and coincidence happens but the message here is that one needs to *pay attention*. Forget the unfairness aspect, though justifiable, and focus instead on that it’s an as-is, can’t change it, deal with it and use its experience to be better, to help others, to grow, to do good.

    I have my own “All I want is justice for what took place” that I share with Mrs. Logan and I empathize with her on a level no one here might. Thing is, over time and after the healing I realized that I can’t change laws to prevent the suffering for others that I faced in my family. What I *can* do is educate my children and others. That, unexpectedly, turned into a passion.

    Education can’t guarantee salvation to everyone but neither can laws. What bothers me most about laws is the way they’re written based (sexual crime laws particularly) on current social standards and morality but those are the very things upon which we base laws! Change people’s thoughts *first* and the laws will eventually be changed.

    Many laws need revamping and had the laws and definitions been different, my family would never have been victimized by the pathetic justice system but to try to change that isn’t for the unqualified. Jessica is absolutely correct. However, every school and every teenager could use Mrs. Logan’s story and the BEST way she could help right now is to use her story as a means to educate other teens about this problem. GIVE SPEECHES IN SCHOOLS! I cannot see how she wouldn’t make a tremendous positive difference to teens and parents opposed to trying to alter or create mandates. In that process I think she’d learn so much about herself and find new perspectives on the dynamics of her family, though none of that needs to be shared but it would serve *her* greater good.

    It would be in the best interest of Mrs. Logan to read The Legal Satyricon on a regular basis if she were to truly wish to educate and make a difference in the area of law.

    That said, specifically to Mrs. Logan herself should she dare to read more of the professional opinions thus far given to her – freely and with some amount of care, respect and love: tragedy sometimes paves paths we never considered going on. Using it as a propelling force to do good is a wise use. You seem to be trying to do that. I agree with everyone’s opinions here though.

    Having once been a grieving mother I can *assure* you that educating yourself is priority. You may find that what all of the professionals above have said may contain truth and that is a painful moment. I remember mine. My heartfelt suggestion is to not allow truths like that to bring you down or be insulted by them. There is a lot of wisdom on these pages worth thousands of dollars. Use it.

    It is a responsible decision to allow time to heal enough wounds and create enough knowledge so that the propelling force of tragedy slings you into the direction that would benefit in ways which ensure the new generation continues to live in freedom. Without freedom America is fucked and so are the children you’re hoping to save.

    Tatiana von Tauber

  26. [...] on my blog post, Make the Jump, Vermont, I’d rather direct my readers to what has been an interesting discussion at The Legal Satyricon about it.  If you don’t know, Mrs. Logan wishes to change laws after her 18 y/o daughter [...]

  27. DOMINO says:

    From my perspective (in Canada) anti-bullying policies and legislation are a joke. There is no actual enforcement and no accountability at all.

  28. [...] Miss Logan’s parents for their daughter’s suicide, or their grief.  As Marc Randazza, discussing this case earlier, pointed out, the warning signs are generally obvious only in hindsight.  But as Scott Greenfield, [...]

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