A Texas family is trying to fight cyberbullying in court.
and Shellie Esquivel are filing a lawsuit this week against six of
their teenage daughter's schoolmates and their parents, alleging that
the students created an Instagram account aimed at humiliating her and
"When we opened up the web page on Instagram,
we opened up Pandora's box," Shellie Esquivel told TODAY's Janet
Shamlian. "There was a picture of her and all these vulgar postings of
her underneath the photograph."
Some pictures on the account were
normal and taken right from the pages of the victims, like the
Esquivels' daughter, a high school sophomore, but the page also featured
explicit photos of other children.
"Some of them were topless photos of females, bottomless photos of males," Shellie Esquivel told TODAY.
The Instagram page attracted nearly 900 followers before it was shut down last week after the couple sought a retraining order.
many children is it going to take to commit suicide, to kill
themselves, to hurt themselves … because of bullies out there? And the
parents don't want to take responsibility," Shellie Esquivel said.
The couple's lawyer, Tej Paranjpe, said the goal of the lawsuit is to set a precedent, and put a chill on future bullying.
"The idea here is not any profit for this family," he told TODAY. "The idea is just to make sure everything stops."
legal expert told TODAY that he believes a case like this will send a
message to other parents and students about cyberbullying.
idea that they now have to defend a lawsuit in court, I foresee it
getting settled pretty quickly," said David Schwartz, a former
prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. "But I also foresee the
lawsuit being used a mechanism and a vehicle to stop the conduct."