John Borgen says he knew as many as 15 classmates were ganging up on 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick before she took her own life in September.
LAKELAND, Florida - They were two young classmates, both with feelings for the same boy. The Polk County Sheriff's office says 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw turned to name calling and bullying. Deputies suspect her younger classmate, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, ended her own life as a result.
10 News does not usually publish the names of charged minors but the names are being released in this case because of the nature of the charge and the fact that it involves a death.
"It shocked me, it made me mad because she should have just told somebody," said John Borgen, the young man at the center of the dispute and the former boyfriend of both girls. He knew as many as 15 girls from school were teaming up against his former girlfriend, but never expected what happened.
"They need to take life seriously," said Borgen. "Why do you need to be bullying somebody?"
Investigators say shortly before the suicide, Guadalupe even turned some of Rebecca's own friends against her. On Tuesday, deputies arrested a second classmate, 12-year-old Katelyn Roman, who investigators say admitted to bullying and intimidating her former friend.
"I feel horrible about the whole situation, but like I said, there's two sides to every story," said a man who answered the door at Roman's home identifying himself at Katelyn's father.
After losing a daughter himself years ago, he says his whole family is devastated over what happened to Rebecca.
"The day that this happened, we all felt super horrible. I've even brought my daughter numerous times to the grave where she jumped. She even went over there and prayed at night, but that's all that can be done right now and I can't really say too much more," said Katelyn's father.
Parents and students hope victims and those who see bullying speak up in the future. Many people, including parents, wish they'd done more in this case, before a 12-year-old girl was driven to take her own life.
You can read more about your school district's bullying policy by clicking the links below:
Bullying Prevention tips from the FL Department of Education
SafeCircles- Tricia Norman launches online social media site that protects registered users from bullying
Rebecca Sedwick, 12, took her own life because of bullying
Mother says school district could have done more to stop bullying
Arrests made- 2 girls arrested after bullying victim's suicide
Rebecca's mom speaks after teen arrests in bullying suicide case
PHOTOS: Rebecca Sedwick's story