Mother of cyberbullying victim to speak at three local schools this week

Sunday, January 9, 2011

By M.D. Kittle

Southeast Missourian

The St. Louis-area mother whose teenage daughter committed suicide following an Internet hoax is the featured speaker at a Cape Girardeau Central High School forum on cyberbullying this week.

Tina Meier, founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, will address a parent and community event titled "How to Protect Our Children." The event, open to students in grades five through 12, parents and community members, begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the high school library.

Meier also is scheduled to speak at students assemblies for Cape Girardeau Central Junior High and Cape Girardeau Central Middle School this week.

The sessions are sponsored by the high school's chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and the All-School Booster Club.

"We are very excited to have her on our campus, but we regret it is that kind of topic we have to address," said Mike Cowan, principal at Cape Girardeau Central High School. "It's just the reality of the day we live in."

The mission of the Megan Meier Foundation is to bring awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyberbullying in the lives of children, according to the foundation's website.

Missouri legislators passed a cyberbullying law after the 2006 suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier of St. Charles County. Megan killed herself after an Internet hoax that drew international attention.

In the case, an adult neighbor, Lori Drew, her daughter and a friend were linked to a MySpace page concocted to appear to be that of a teenage boy. "Josh" initially flirted with Megan but then made hurtful comments shortly before she hanged herself.

A jury in California, where MySpace has its servers, found Drew guilty of three federal misdemeanors, but a judge overturned the verdicts and acquitted her.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

mkittle@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

1000 S. Silver Springs Road, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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