Published: Oct 15, 2013 6:04 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 15, 2013 6:44 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- The tough anti-bullying law being used against the two girls in Lakeland actually has its roots in Southwest Florida.

Debbie Johnston helped push for the law that led to the arrest of two Central Florida teenagers in the case of Rebecca Sedwick. The 12-year-old girl committed suicide last month after relentless bullying.

Johnston was the catalyst for the passing of the Jeffrey Johnston law, named after her son, Jeffery. The Cape Coral boy took his own life in 2005, after years of being bullied.

Debbie said, "I never take joy in seeing a young life ruined, but if it's truly going to be a deterrent force, then we really need to hold these young people accountable for these actions."

Debbie added that parents need to talk to their kids about bullying and let them know it's OK to tell them if they're getting bullied, because it could make the difference in saving their life.

"Every time I hear a success story of a child who gets help or a bully that turns him or herself around, I want to say, 'Jeff, we got another one.'," said Debbie.