What you are about to read is the Megan Meier Story, She was 13, he was 16, he added her on MySpace and he was cute, no, he was HOT!
The Megan Meier Story started when, Megan, a 13-year-old with ADD ran to her mom, very excited about the fact that a hot teenage boy named Josh sent her a friend request.
Her mom asked her if she knew the boy and when Megan answered in the negative, her mom was wary of the decision but finally allowed her daughter to accept the request.
Josh started talking to Megan and told her that he was home-schooled and had no access to mobile phones so she never got to hear his voice or see him in person, but she was smitten. The boy was irresistible.
For a girl who had ADD and battled with depression and weight issues, Megan was in therapy but still a happy easygoing kid who loved people and tried to work on her issues.
She was heavy and for years had tried to lose weight. She had attention deficit disorder and battled depression. Back in third grade she had talked about suicide, Tina says, and ever since had been seeing a therapist.
Megan had always been friends with a girl who lived down the street and the relationship between the two girls was always on and off due to several issues that her mother saw as normal; teenagers are always hot and cold about everything, she thought.
For several months, all that Megan did was go to school and rush home to go online to talk to Josh; she was happy, she was glowing, and she was in love with a boy who told her she was pretty.
Things turned around…
On a Sunday in October 2006, Megan received a message from Josh saying he didn’t want to be friends with her anymore because he heard she wasn’t nice to her friends. Megan asked him what he was talking about and the next day he replied with hateful messages and started posting them publicly on Megan’s page and some others had joined the hate party.
Before Tina, Megan’s mother, could get out the door it was clear Megan was upset. Josh was still sending troubling messages. And he apparently had shared some of Megan’s messages with others.
So she asked her daughter to sign off MySpace and left to run a quick errand, she even called her daughter to make sure she had signed off; Megan Meier’s reply was “No, Mom. They are all being so mean to me.”
Fifteen minutes later, Megan called her mother. By now Megan was in tears.
“They are posting bulletins about me.” A bulletin is like a survey. “Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat.”
Megan was sobbing hysterically. Tina was furious that she had not signed off.
Once Tina returned home she rushed into the basement where the computer was. Tina was shocked at the vulgar language her daughter was firing back at people.
“I am so aggravated at you for doing this!” she told Megan. Then, the Megan Meier story took a turn.
Megan ran from the computer and left, but not without first telling Tina, “You’re supposed to be my mom! You’re supposed to be on my side!”
On the stairway leading to her second-story bedroom, Megan Meier ran into her father, Ron.
“I grabbed her as she tried to go by,” Ron says. “She told me that some kids were saying horrible stuff about her and she didn’t understand why. I told her it was OK. I told her that they obviously don’t know her. And that it would be fine.”
Megan went to her room and Ron went downstairs to the kitchen, where he and Tina talked about what had happened, the MySpace account, and made dinner.
Tina recalls the moment “I had this God-awful feeling and I ran up into her room and she had hung herself in the closet.”
Megan Meier died the next day, three weeks before her 14th birthday.
Later that day, Ron opened his daughter’s MySpace account and viewed what he believes to be the final message Megan saw – one the FBI would be unable to retrieve from the hard drive.
It was from Josh and, according to Ron’s best recollection, it said, “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 would be a better place without you.”
It is worth noting that while MySpace has over nine pages of terms and conditions and prohibits a list of illegal content including sexual material and hate speech, it still does not do enough to protect young users from the effects of cyberbullying.
Megan’s parents began trying to message Josh Evans, the alleged reason behind hateful words that drove Megan to suicide, just to tell him the power of his mean words, but they were shocked to realize that his MySpace account had been deleted.
The Truth Comes Out…
Six weeks after Megan died, on a Saturday morning, a neighbour down the street, one they didn’t know well, called and insisted that they meet that morning at a counsellor’s office in northern O’Fallon, their hometown.
The neighbour from down the street, a single mom with a daughter the same age as Megan, informed the Meiers that Josh Evans never existed.
She told the Meiers that Josh Evans was created by adults, a family on their block. These adults, she told the Meiers, were the parents of Megan’s former girlfriend, the one with whom she had a falling out.
That neighbour also told the Meiers that her daughter, who had carpooled with the family that was involved in creating the phoney MySpace account, had the password to the Josh Evans’ account and had sent one message – the one Megan received (and later retrieved off the hard drive) the night before she took her life.
“She had been encouraged to join in the joke,” the neighbour said.
She also said her daughter feels the guilt of not saying something sooner and for writing that message. Her daughter didn’t speak out sooner because she’d known the other family for years and thought that what they were doing must be OK because, after all, they were trusted adults.
On the night the ambulance came for Megan, the single mother said before it left the Meiers’ house her daughter received a call. It was the woman behind the creation of the Josh Evans account. She had called to tell the girl that something had happened to Megan and advised the girl not to mention the MySpace account.
According to Tina, Megan had gone on vacations with this family. They knew how she struggled with depression, and that she took medication.
“She wanted to get Megan to feel like she was liked by a boy and let everyone know this was a false MySpace and have everyone laugh at her.
“I don’t feel their intentions were for her to kill herself. But that’s how it ended.”
In the Megan Meier story, no criminal charges were filed against that family or any participant in the Josh Evans hoax, partly because there were no laws drafted to criminalize these kinds of behaviour.
The Meiers do not plan to file a civil lawsuit. Here’s what they want: They want the law changed, state or federal, so that the Megan Meier story is not repeated.
The Meiers have, since then, taken it upon themselves to educate teens and youth about bullying and cyberbullying; they created the Megan Meier Foundation to share Megan’s story and say one essential message, Megan Meier did not die for anything. Her tragic story should continue to be a reminder against the evil waves of cyberbullying and bullying taking over lives all over the globe. According to the Megan Meier Foundation, Megan Meier’s story was shared with over 126,000 students all over America. It is estimated that the Megan Meier story could be happening to millions this year, millions of students will face bullying or cyberbullying this year.
With all the talk about changing laws and prosecuting the founders of social media networks, the truth remains that one hateful word against a teenager could have a deadly result and scar a life forever. Help us spread the word about the Megan Meier story as a reminder of how innocent lives could get lost to cyberbullying.