WTF? Fake Facebook Suicide Gets Teen Suspended From School
Posted by Katie Ostoich on May 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM
A Facebook page and a six minute video (above) tell the story of a 12-year-old girl whose mother died when she was 3 years old, grew up being abused by her father, is teased all day long and bullied on her Facebook page. Eventually, the girl commits suicide.
There’s just one problem: this is all fake.
The story was fabricated by a high school student who said she created the Facebook page and video for a class project asking students to highlight an important issue. The project resulted in 15-year-old Jessica Barba being suspended from school for five days.
A concerned parent saw the Facebook page after Jessica posted a message pretending to be the made-up 12-year-old saying, “I wanna be dead.” The police contacted the school and the teen was brought to the assistant principal’s office. Jessica said she included a disclaimer on the Facebook page and video, but when school officials confronted her with printouts of the pages, they did not include the disclaimers, she told Matt Lauer on TODAY.
The teen’s mother tried to show school officials that the pages included disclaimers, but that didn’t get Jessica out of trouble. She went before school officials yesterday to get the suspension revoked and to be allowed to turn in the project.
Our verdict: WTF? I am dumbfounded, as I’m sure she must be, that she got suspended for trying to spotlight an issue that’s so hot right now. I get that staging a suicide is a little over the top and insensitive, but a suspension? For doing a project?
Do you think school officials overreacted or should Jessica be punished? Sound off in the comments.