- Family and Parenting
Cyberbullying: Megan Meier's Story
Story of Megan Meier
Megan Meiers was 13-years-old when she hit the news because of committing suicide due to being bullied. Cyberbullied to be exact and it was a shocking story because an adult mother was allegedly involved and it really hit parents all over the nation over the idea an adult could do that to a child. While Amanda Todd's tragic suicide has just hit the media I decided that their stories are so important for humanity to hear and no matter how many people write the same thing on every network online, it still will not reach everyone. So, I thought I would spend some of my time writing their individual stories so that they are not forgotten and the cause for cyberbullying laws isn't lost.
Megan Meier is just one of many, of all ages, that have been bullied to a point that they don't feel they can live on. It is at school, through text messages, and online through social networking. It is every day and every night and they can't stop what people are saying or who sees it. It follows them when they move, if they stop going to school, and even if its ignored it doesn't stop. I hope her story is heard over and over again.
Who's to blame?
- Megan Meier (In Memory of Megan Meier) on Myspace
Megan Meier (In Memory of Megan Meier)'s profile on Myspace, the leading social entertainment destination powered by the passion of our fans.
MySpace Friend Request
Megan Meiers was a 13-year-old 8th grader who had been having a rough time because of struggling with a weight problem and living with Attention Deficit Disorder. She developed depression and in third grade had talked about suicide and since than had been seeing a therapist and seemed to be doing so much better. She had lost 20lbs and was going to a new school for 8th grade and was also playing volleyball. Tina Meier is Megan's mother and was a very attentive parent. She became aware of Megan and the girl four houses down had made a fake profile of a fake girl to talk to boys on MySpace and banned access of the account from Megan. Time had passed and Megan had cut off friendship from the Drew's daughter four doors down, after 7th grade was nothing but an on-again and off-again friendship, she was going to start fresh with positivity.
So, when Megan's 14th birthday was creeping up, she begged her mother to give her a second chance of having a MySpace account and reluctantly her mother agreed. However, Tina had set up clear boundaries and rules regarding the use of the social networking site and remained wary of her daughter's usage. She and her husband were the only one's with the password and Megan had to use the computer in the main room that they were in so a parent was there watching the activity. Megan received a new friend request from a boy named 'Josh Evans' and Megan was so excited an attractive boy wanted to be her friend. Megan had low self-esteem and hadn't received this kind of attention before but Tina was ware asking if Megan knew who the boy was. Megan didn't but begged her mom to let her add him. Tina reluctantly agreed but warned Megan you could be whoever you wanted on the computer and it might not be who he says he is. Megan just brushed her off with "Mom you don't understand".
Josh Evans claimed to have lived in Florida and had recently moved to their town of O'Fallon and was home-schooled. He played the guitar and drums and had come from a broken home. After talking for awhile back and forth on MySpace, Tina thought it odd that Josh never asked for her phone number. When Megan asked for his he claimed he owned no cell phone and his mother didn't have a land-line yet. Tina had that feeling something wasn't right and went to the police to ask if there was anyway to find out if a profile on MySpace was real or not, and they said no.
On Sunday October 15, 2006, Megan received a disturbing message from Josh,
I don't know if I want to be friends with you anymore, because I've heard that you are not very nice to your friends.
Megan was confused and responded back to Josh,
What are you talking about?
Tina was wary of the cyber world and kept telling her daughter you would be whoever you wanted to on the computer and make yourself be someone you aren't but Megan wouldn't listen to her believing Josh Evans was a boy who really liked her and now was upset with her and she didn't understand why.
On Monday October 16, Megan had handed out birthday invitations at school because she was about to turn 14. She went home and rushed to check her MySpace to see if Josh had responded to her last message. Tina was leaving to go to an appointment but saw that something was troubling her daughter and that she was upset. Josh now was sending troubling messages as well as sharing them with others online. Tina was in a rush and told Megan to sign off the computer and she rushed out the door. She called Megan from the doctor's office to see if she signed off and Megan said,
They are all being so mean to me
Tina insisted Megan sign off the website. 15 minutes later Megan called her mother crying.
They are posting bulletins about me. Megan is a slut. Megan Meier is fat.
Tina returned home angry her daughter hadn't listened to her and signed off. Megan was hysterical while responding to the bully's and using vulgar language her mother didn't approve of. Tina was aggravated and told Megan so. Megan ran from the room yelling,
You're supposed to be my mother. You are supposed to be on my side!
Megan ran into her father while running up the stairs, he tried to grab her and reassure her that it would be okay. He than went down into the kitchen to talk to his wife about myspace and what happened, getting ready to eat dinner. 20 minutes later, Tina stopped talking in mid-sentence and got a sinking feeling as she bolted upstairs to her daughter's room where she found Megan hanging in the closet. Her younger daughter had ran next door to get the neighbor boy who had been a lifeguard and he tried to do CPR on Megan. She was still alive when they got her to the hospital but died the next day.
- California Law Targets Cyberbullying - On Education (usnews.com)
Students may be suspended or expelled for harassing their peers.
- Megan Meier News - The New York Times
News about Megan Meier. Commentary and archival information about Megan Meier from The New York Times.
Who is Josh Evans?
Rob Meier, Megan's father, opened MySpace after her death to view what he believes was the final message to Megan. The message that the FBI was unable to retrieve later.
Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world is a better place without you.
Following Megan's death Tina and Rob saw grief counselors and went to after loss of suicide meetings to deal with the loss of their daughter.
They tried to get in contact with Josh Evans but the MySpace account had been deleted.
The day after the death of their daughter, they went down to the Drew's house because they girl used to be Megan's friend to let them know that Megan had once valued the girl's friendship. They attended the girl's birthday part and even went to the father's 50th birthday party. The Drews had asked the Meier's to hide a foosball table for them because it was to be a gift for one of the kids. They agreed to do that for them.
Six weeks later another neighbor they didn't know had called and insisted that they meet at the Meier's counselor's office. She was a single mother with a daughter around the same age as Megan. She told the Meier's that Josh didn't exist and that adult's on their block had created the fake MySpace profile. When asked who the family was, she divulged it was Lisa Drew. The woman's daughter had carpooled with the Drews and had been encouraged to get in on the joke and even had sent one of the messages herself. The girl had felt guilty about it. Lisa Drew had called the night the ambulance had come for Megan and told the girl that something had happened to the Meier's daughter and it was best not to mention the MySpace account.
The Drew's had taken Megan on vacation with them before and Tina Meier has repeatedly stated that they knew about Megan's depression and ADD and that she took medications for it. The police report stated:
She (Lisa Drew) stated in the months leading up to the suicide, she instigated and monitored a myspace account which was created for the sole purpose of communicating with Meier's daughter.
She said she, with help from a temporary employee, constructed a profile of a 'good looking' male on MySpace in order to find out what Megan Meier was saying online about her daughter. She explained the communication between the fake male profile and Megan was aimed at getting Megan's confidence and finding out what Megan felt about her daughter and other people.
She stated she, her daughter, and the temporary employee all typed, read, and monitored the communication between the fake male profile and Megan.
According to her 'somehow' other 'myspace' users were able to access the fake male profile and Megan found out she was duped. She stated that she knew arguments broke out between Megan and others on Myspace. She felt the incident contributed to Megan's suicide, but she did not feel 'as guilty' because at the funeral she found out Megan had tried to commit suicide before.
Tina Meier said that Megan died thinking that Josh Evans was a real person and never had attempted suicide before.
No criminal charges could be filed.
Aftermath of the Meier Tragedy
Tina Meier appeared in the media, taking her story public, because there was no laws that they could charge Lisa Drew with. The laws had not caught up with technology and they were still living four houses down from the family. No apologies had ever been made for Drew's involvement in pushing Megan over the edge to kill herself, and Tina eventually said it wouldn't mean anything to her if she did. A neighbor and friend of the Meiers, Christine Buckles, appeared as well on television and stated that few people know of Lisa Drew's involvement. That is, until the story broke in the media. After it broke, the neighborhood wanted the Drew family to move.
The Meiers ended up getting a divorce, but worked together to get laws passed so that someone could be charged criminally and this wouldn't happen to someone else's kids. They wanted something, anything, to hold Lisa Drew accountable for her actions. Yet, even going all the way out to California for a trial where Drew was going up against the charge of wire fraud, defrauding Myspace...the verdict received was later overturned. Calling it a dangerous precedent to set.
Ron Meier still believes the fake profile was the sole idea of the mother and not just acting on her child's behalf or request.
The first time the last message from Megan was disclosed to the public was in the court room in Los Angeles, California where Lisa Drew had pleaded not guilty to 1 count of conspiracy and 3 counts of accessing computer without authority. The jurors were reminded the case wasn't about the suicide, but if Lisa Drew violated MySpaces terms of service.
Megan's last message is heartbreaking and shows that she never knew of the myspace hoax/prank. That she thought Josh Evans was a boy that had really liked her.
You are the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over."
20 minutes after sending this last message, Megan ran upstairs and hung herself in her bedroom closet.
Lisa Drew has maintained through this that she wasn't the one that made up the MySpace or sent the messages. She claims, through her attorney's words, that she knew about the communication but it had all been nice. She claims to not have known about the mean messages or she would have told them to stop. No one had come forward, as far as I know, to claim responsibility for the message telling Megan the world would be better off without her.
Tina was a vigilant mother who did what every parent should do in monitoring their child's Internet usage. How do you explain an adult even condoning or allowing another child to create a fake profile to hurt or deceive another child when you know they child's history of depression? Let alone be the one that actually did it? This is a question the Meier's will probably never receive from Lisa Drew.
The Drew Family
After the neighborhood found out about the Drew Family's involvement; she went to the sheriff's department,
“the neighborhood…found out her involvement in Megan’s suicide and her neighbors have become hostile toward her and her family.”
Drew wanted it documented in case their was any damage to their property. When the Meier's had found out about her involvement from the neighbor that came forward, they went home and destroyed the foosball table and put it on their lawn. She filed three reports after that for harassment and damage to property. Someone yelled at her, "Are you going to kill any teenagers today?", someone hit her house with paint-balls, and a brick was thrown threw her windows. She also has stated that they have received death threats. They had to change their phone numbers after someone posted their address and phone numbers in a comment on a blog. They were receiving so many calls that she recommended to their carrier they don't issue their numbers to another customer.
In November of 2007, Dardenne Prairie passed a law making harassment online a crime. It is a misdemeanour and punishable by a fine of 500 dollars and 90 days in jail.
They had actually proposed the measure before Megan's death says the mayor.
A website emerged saying Megan had it coming, and an investigation went underway but was unlikely that Drew had any part in it. Unfortunately I just looked it up and all these years later it is still up. I haven't checked out if there are comments but I think that it is twisted that people could make light of this young girl's death.
First jailed under "Megan's Law", in St. Peters-burg Missouri, was a woman named Elisabeth Thrasher. She was having some arguments with her ex-husband's new girlfriend and the girlfriends 17-year-old daughter. They went back and forth on Myspace for awhile until the teenager told Thrasher to "grow up". Thrasher retaliated by posting a picture of the teenager in skimpy or provocative clothes in the Craigslist section called, "Casual Encounters" where she also posted the girl's phone number and email address.
The teenager started getting vulgar messages and calls to her cell phone.
Thrasher had been freed under a 10,000 dollar bond and was forbidden to have a computer in her home.
© 2012 Abigayle Malchow