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Amanda Cummings was a teenager who was reported dead after throwing herself in front of a city bus in December of 2011. The news of her death became a cyberbullying controversy after her Facebook memorial page “R.I.P. Amanda Cummings” was vandalized with offensive comments on the wall.
An article published on the news blog Opposing Views reported that Cummings posted a status update contemplating her suicide on December 1st, 2011. On December 6th, Cummings posted a status update that read “When i say im ok i want that one person t[sic] look me in the eye, hug me & say no ur not.” According to the news blog Silive, Cummings jumped in front of a city bus while clutching a suicide note on December 27th, and passed away 6 days later at the age of 15.
Vandalism on Facebook
After her death was reported, some Internet users began posting offensive messages on the Facebook memorial page “R.I.P. Amanda Cummings,” similar to the “An Hero” incident. According to Silive, the trolls came from both 4chan’s /b/ (random) board and from the comedy blog 9gag after a bulletin message calling on people to raid Cumming’s Facebook page began to circulate.
News Media Coverage
On January 3rd, NBC New York published an article revealing that bullying may have been the cause of the teen’s suicide.
Keith Cummings, her uncle, told NBC New York his niece was tormented by bullies and was dealing with romantic problems. “Supposedly, before Christmas recess, there was a girl in school that pulled a knife on her,” he said. “And she had to be picked up in school for three days because the girl was going to beat her up.” He said the bullies mocked her and took her phone, shoes and jacket.
In the following days, many local and national news publications picked up on the story, further highlighting the issue of cyberbullying on social networking sites. Following the news coverage, the Facebook memorial page was taken down due to complaints about the trolls.
On January 6th, a petition titled "Tell Facebook to End Cyber-Bullying Now: Prevention of “Trolling” by adults and peers" was posted to the site Change.org and received over 650 signatures within 5 days.
On January 10th, The Huffington Post reported that Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (D – New York), was sponsoring a bill that would create harsher penalties for cyberbullies. The legislation would add electronic communications to the crimes of Third Degree Stalking and Aggravated Harassment, Class A misdemeanors that can lead to up to a year of imprisonment. The article cited a 2007 study by The National Crime Prevention Council that showed 43 percent of teens, and 53 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths are subject to cyberbullying.
After Cummings’ death, several YouTubers uploaded memorial videos and vlog responses addressing the bullying issue.
Search queries for “amanda cummings” rose sharply following her death in early January of 2012.
The Huffington Post – Amanda Cummings’ Suicide Prompts Cyberbullying Bill In New York