Why didn’t someone save Phoebe Prince from unrelenting bullying?

The fierce response of a Massachusetts district attorney to the suicide of a teen bullying victim — the prosecutor brought charges today against nine teenagers — reflects the increasing concern over school bullying, concerns that have grown as intimidation and taunting have gone viral over the Internet.

Nine teens face charges in the suicide of alleged bullying victim Phoebe Prince

Nine teens face charges in the suicide of alleged bullying victim Phoebe Prince

Pursued with unusual cruelty by a group of students at her new high school, Phoebe Prince, 15, hanged herself in January. She had enrolled at the school in the fall after moving  to the United States from Ireland, which may contributed to her victimization at South Hadley High School.

According to the AJC story:

Phoebe, ostracized for having a brief relationship with a popular boy, reached her breaking point and hanged herself after one particularly hellish day in January — a day that, according to officials, included being hounded with slurs and pelted with a beverage container as she walked home from school.

Now, nine teenagers face charges in what a prosecutor called “unrelenting” bullying, including two teen boys charged with statutory rape and a clique of girls charged with stalking, criminal harassment and violating Phoebe’s civil rights.

Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel, who announced the charges Monday, said the events before Phoebe’s death on Jan. 14 were “the culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally assaultive behavior and threats of physical harm” widely known among the student body.

School officials won’t be charged, even though authorities say they knew about the bullying and that Phoebe’s mother brought her concerns to at least two of them.

For those of you who work in schools, why would administrators and teachers let this persecution go unchecked?

Research shows that bullying occurs in all schools, private and public, and that it is often unseen by adults. In an earlier blog on bullying, I cited a 2005 U.S. Department of Education report that found 14 percent of students ages 12 through 18 said they had been bullied in the past six months.

In the early grades, bullies direct their attacks at almost anyone. As they get older, they target certain kids. Bullies go after younger and smaller kids, but victims also are chosen because they are more anxious, sensitive, cautious and quiet.

Bullying is often a spectator sport, with 85 percent of  incidents involving other kids who watch the torment without stopping it. On the day of her suicide, Phoebe was abused her in the school library, the lunchroom and the hallways, according to the charges. Classmates threw a canned drink at her as she walked home, where her sister found her hanging from a stairwell at 4:30 p.m.

While Phoebe’s bullies used texting and social networking sites to harass her, the prosecutor said most of the bullying occurred on school grounds during school hours.

In the next few days, we will likely see the families of the nine teens charged defend their children, who are already being depicted as monsters.

What is happening that such cruelty could be tolerated? Why didn’t other students speak out? Why didn’t the adults step in?

243 comments Add your comment

Mike

March 30th, 2010
12:01 am

Was she? Come on….

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Was Irish teen driven to suicide by unchecked bullying in her new American school? http://bit.ly/9iTows [...]

Ole Guy

March 30th, 2010
12:42 am

Yet another reason to bring the paddle back into the classroom. Most kids, afforded the right guidance, influence, and leadership, are capable of making the right behavioral choices. Those who insist on being hard asses should have theirs’ warmed up.

Once upon a time, kids handled their own problems…good, bad, right, or wrong…with a sporting event known as the school yard fight. That had to have been a generation of honor and code, for no one, in these “sporting events”, dared possess an advantage, in terms of weaponry, or “unsporting behavior”, such as sand/rock/trash can throwing. These were toe-to-toe encounters, generally observed by bunches of kids. Deviations from behavioral norms were sure to garner peer disapproval, something which no kid was going to invite. Combatants would square off and mix it up…until a teacher put a stop to the melee…paddlings generally followed, after which it was back to normal. No guns, knives, lasting dirty looks, etc…and in most cases, mine at least, combatants, over time, became buds (many of my Army buds were one-time hs adversaries).

Were there bullies…of course…and they were generally handled “internally” within the student body. As terrible as bullying is, I just don’t recall those being bullied as reaching such a level of dispair as to take their lives. There was always someone who would approach the bully and take command of the situation. Somehow, I just don’t see any level of honor or self-discipline in these kids today. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they were never allowed to behave like kids on the playground. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because teachers aren’t allowed to maintain control. just a thought.

Rest In Peace, Phoebe.

Roadtoad

March 30th, 2010
12:45 am

I am a 50 year old man, still dealing with this very issue in web forae and in the workplace. At one point, I was forced out of my most recent job because of the bullying by a supervisor, as I was by another in 2008. This is not an isolated issue, and the consequences are damnable.

Anyone who thinks this doesn’t happen needs to spend some time talking to their kids and their employees. I am presently losing my house because I had an employer who kept threatening to “kick my ass.” How do you deal with that and still keep your head on straight? Especially when if you retaliate, you become subject to criminal charges? And where is the law in this? Most of the time, the courts are MIA, and asking you to act like an adult.

Never mind that your boss is acting like a thug. You’re the one with the problem.

Someone needs to make sure these kids spend some serious time behind bars. Maybe after two or three years, we’ll see just how funny this whole thing is.

Anna Stewart

March 30th, 2010
12:46 am

About time prosecutors get hard on these children and teens – they all deserve to pay the consequences of their actions. Parents should also always discourage their children from bullying and that also goes for witnesses, teachers and school personnel. If they do nothing, they are careless and thoughtless individuals and should also be made to step up to their social responsibilities. I would suspend any personnel and/or students who witnessed it, knew of it and did absolutely nothing.

Glenn

March 30th, 2010
12:46 am

As I’ve said before, we need more male teachers in schools. The female teachers just can not stand up to the mean gang like kids, therefore, they say nothing. The bullies not only should be punished, but charged with a misdemeaner. It has to stop somewhere.

Anna Stewart

March 30th, 2010
12:50 am

As a female teacher, if I couldn’t deal with make bullies, I’d not only report it to the school management which can/should be able to do more about it, I’d also report it to the police.. people have to get up and find ways to intervene.

Harry

March 30th, 2010
1:13 am

I drove a bus for several years for different schools and different ages. I would never allow any sort of bullying on or anywhere near my bus. My kids always knew they had a safe place. The rule was, treat others the way you want to be treated, and I made sure they knew it, and lived it. Any teacher that knew about it and ignored it, should be incredibly ashamed of themselves.

Truthpaste

March 30th, 2010
1:56 am

Reports said, with the exception of the accused nine, she was a well-liked student and classmate. My question is, why did her “friend” stand by and let it go on. I’m not requesting that they got involved in physical manner, but maybe if the principal had more than one or two complaints about the abuse, it could have been curtailed before it came to this.

Quinn

March 30th, 2010
2:09 am

I just read about on the CNN newspage. It said that this bullying before the suicide was done in the presence of several faculty and students who did not report until after the fact of her death. This is abhorring to me. There are so many crimes that happen in an informal space (bullying, domestic abuse, sexual assault) that never get the punitive attention it deserves. The previous comments suggest going to the police. I may be generalizing but I can imagine those officers shrugging off the complaints and putting it on the very bottom of their caseload. Bullying is considered to be an unfortunate part of schooling. This incident shows that now only is unchecked bullying unfortunate, it can be fatal.

Claire

March 30th, 2010
2:19 am

our society doesn’t teach our kids to be empowered. Back in the 80’s there used to be programs in the schools teaching kids how to say NO to unwanted sexual touch. Part of the discussions and training was to enable children to be able to plan strategies for getting help when needed. Not too unlike training children on how and when to use 911. Unfortunately many of these programs have been suspended in the schools by groups who didn’t like the idea of children being educated to say no.

It’s problematic because many parents due to work, or lack of awareness aren’t training their children how to stand up to bullies, how to stand up for friends, how to get adults to take these matters seriously.

I suspect that what it will take will be a series of tragic cases where the school board and townships have the beejeezus sued out of them and fear of fiscal tragedies will cause them to take these matters seriously.

Melanie

March 30th, 2010
2:22 am

I’m a teen myself.I mean yes the schools do get a little out of hand every now and then.I’ve personally never been apart of any bullying or anything.People now a days can be so cruel though i seen it happening.Shes not the first and not the last teen to be a victim of bullying.Theres nothing you really can do to stop it .You have to learn to ignore..

sickofit

March 30th, 2010
2:25 am

bullies dont just become bullies it starts when they are young and get away with telling the other kids how to play, who to play with etc. They are very insecure cowardly people and only bully with a audience and only those they know will not challange them back. I want to know when parents will be held accountable, this is sad that once again the adults in the school ignored a parents plea for help and are not being held accountable. If the children are being chged then so should the school officials. They knew and failed to take measures to protect the child. I know my opinions are strong regarding this issue, I homeshcooled my child who is now in college because her school ignored my pleas for help as well. I felt leaving my child with adults who ignored her safty was neglect on my part so I brought her home, I dont regret my decision. My prayers to the family of the young lady, and to the guilty parties whoever they may be I want to know when they get to prison how it feels to be bullied.

Mike

March 30th, 2010
2:47 am

You people have got to be kidding me! There is no way these kids should go behind bars. That’s what kids do they bully. Kid’s have been doing it since the dawn of time. Whatever happened to teaching your kids to have some self esteem and self respect? Whatever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones but words could never hurt me? What ever happened to standing up for yourself? Now I’m not saying these kids should go unpunished, but jail is a bit harsh. It’s a sad thing that happened to this young lady but ultimately the blame falls on her and the school. I’m appalled that everyone is saying these kids are dirt and the school is blame free. That’s what’s wrong with America today, all this kinder gentler crap. My boy knows if anyone touches him or throws something at him, he better knock them out…not come home and hang himself.

And for the gentleman that is complaining about his boss bullying him, the courts didnt fail you sir because you never went to court. You failed yourself. You should have told him to try it, and if he touched you, you could do what real men do and protect yourself, or take it to the courts. Now your losing your house, survival of the fittest sir…and you’re weak.

free market educator

March 30th, 2010
2:48 am

Bullies exist because parents and school authorities allow it. This is almost NONEXISTENT among home schoolers. Why? Socialization takes place amongst families. The children learn to interact with adults as well as older and younger siblings (including the handicapped). Any aggressive behavior is not tolerated. Most families do not allow their children to use “chats”, cell phones, or Facebook, until they have proven their maturity to handle such. The older siblings are given responsibility and often help care for the younger ones. The old-fashioned way still works.

kat

March 30th, 2010
2:56 am

I feel so bad for that poor child and her family. I work for a non profit that does child sexual abuse prevention work in our community. There is another group in town called KIDPOWER, that does amazing work teaching children and adults safety skills, from using their words, getting help, how to deal with bullies, right on up to major self defense. Their website KIDPOWER.ORG is a great site. If you go to their website, they have a library of articles, and a TON of articles on bullying. There is the link for the bullying articles. All children have the right to be safe at school and at home. I dont understand why the school officials didnt put an abrupt stop to this. Maybe what it is goign to take is very serious consequences like jail sentences for these kinds of tormenting behaviors to stop.

http://www.kidpower.org/resources/articles/index.html#bullying

Josey

March 30th, 2010
3:10 am

This is ludicrous. Another worthless district attorney looking to make a name for himself.

Sad truth is kids commit suicide, especially high school kids who on average are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than the other ages. Internal factors such as hormonal changes, depression, self-esteem, family issues such as moving – all these things can be contributing factors.

It’s a travesty for some rogue prosecutor to ruin the lives of nine high school kids solely to make a name for himself as “the guy that stood up for picked on teens.” Frankly, the judge should throw the case out and admonish the DA to stick to prosecutions he knows about, maybe DUIs or B&Es.

Anthony

March 30th, 2010
3:18 am

You rednecks that think she got what she deserved because she didnt fight back are monsters. But im willing to bet all I have youre regular church going folk! I would torture and humiliate the bestards in public. Oh, and heres the kicker Im a Former US Marine, Recon Commando, a liberal democrat and from NYC. Go ahead and have your convulsions now. But im one of those liberals that fights and can shoot back so be careful.

angel

March 30th, 2010
3:23 am

So what Mike is saying is that if you’re weak, that gives someone else the right to be cruel to you??? Yes there will always be mean people but there will also always be weak people and there will always be those of us who believe in standing up for the weak. These are CHILDREN and it’s our job as adults to guide them. If the parents won’t do it, and the teachers won’t do it, then someone has to. These bullies need to learn that being cruel has its consequences. I have news for you: if you’re a jerk in high school, you’ll probably always be a jerk and the only thing that might possibly change that is a few lessons in humility.

Aamina Nawaz

March 30th, 2010
3:25 am

I disagree, there can be plenty done to reduce extreme bullying- even the slightest initiation of some kind of program that promotes awareness on this issue can help. It is very rare that school faculty and staff members are aware of students who are being harassed at their schools ( kids just don’t speak up ); but in this case they [faculty] were aware, even the parents, and the fact that this concern was ignored worries me. NOT EVERYONE CAN DEAL WITH HARASSMENT, teenagers are not made of steel armor–everyone of them is different, everyone of their emotions are dissimilar with one another, what hurts one may not hurt another, so can we really say “oh, just deal with it”. No, that it absurd- and ignorant to state. People are people, even adults are sensitive– some people can’t handle being rumored or joked upon (and one should not have to experience the severe torments—especially if you are a child- knowing that children have identity crises, fragile self-esteem, and undeveloped cognition)- some are tough overlook rumors or harassment, others find it complex. And, that is reasonable- no one should be tortured mentally or physically, no one should have to put up with people shattering their self-esteem, and certainly not left alone to deal with it- they deserved to be heard and aided.
Parents send their children to school being assured their child will be looked after and protected; in return the child expects that same comfort. But, what happens when someone starts abusing it? They should make the help line more available to students- where a student can go and complain about their issues, where faculty is aware that someone in their institution is being damaged- and actually give a shit. Schools can promote their help hotlines, encourage students to visit their counselors and school psychologists, identify with their teachers as helpers rather than authoritarians, educate parents to pick up on signs of distress , teachers to follow up with academic performances- show u care– give a shit- communication is the key. Student to Teacher; Child to Parent.

In my opinion, this event could have been avoided in several ways:
Obviously, she felt isolated- she didn’t have anyone to go to, anyone to talk to- to get another insight or perspective, or receive words of care and comfort—that’s why she committed suicide.
Teachers could have held a conference with the prime aggressors (the 9 students), psychologists could have been incorporated, programs on harassment and rumor starting could have been placed (educating children on not being assholes, not hurting someone, not making them cry, the golden rule theory). Parents could have taken a much more aggressive approach (move, when worst came to worst) , fought with faculty and staff members until something was done, call the parents of the children, stood by their child and comfort them.
SO, many things to prevent this death.
Yes, children are children; teenagers are teenagers- they do stupid shit (we all have). Some make it in life without having anyone harass them, but does that mean we should see it as punitive because you didn’t experience its extremes? Or, maybe u have been harassed but didn’t care much–does that mean that others would deal with it the same way? NO- we are humans; we are fragile- we can be damaged so severely that we lose our sense of reasoning, and begin to think we are insignificant. The fact behind suicide is–these people actually want to LIVE- but they CAN’T; they feel alone, like they are the only ones who deal with issues as such—no one is there to tell them that rumors happen, no one was there to help build their self-esteem, no one was even there when other people laid their filthy hands on them (physical abuse). If the verbal aggression didn’t seem as severe, then what about when the physical abuse kicked in—why were they [adults] so blind to see this student in distress?
Damaging the human soul in any kind of way or form is unjust.

Septic

March 30th, 2010
3:46 am

First, this story is tragic. I empathize for the family. If only people realized that it doesn’t cost any extra to be nice.

To Mike, 3 posts earlier…

If someone causes a death, they’re responsible. If you’re driving and you blow thru a stop sign and accidentally kill someone, guess what. Guilty! The fact that you didn’t mean to do it might be considered, but how do we keep people responsible for their actions? I would bet that everyone in America has been the victim of bullies in one form or another, and you’re right that it’s part of growing up. But, like everything else, some dumba$$ will take it to an extreme and that is where the law needs to step in. Giving these kids community service or probation is not going to make the next ‘extreme bully’ think twice, a jail sentence might.

And as for your comment to the guy losing his house…
You mentioned survival of the fittest and that he is weak? Please remember that almost all bullying behavior is rooted in insecurity. Bullies quickly back down when challenged by a real dominant figure..and that (in my humble opinion) is the ultimate declaration of weakness.

And good luck de-conditioning you son away from violence as he gets older. Oh, and you may want to start saving now for the lawsuit.

bptr

March 30th, 2010
3:54 am

“Pursued with unusual cruelty by a group of students at her new high school, Phoebe Prince, 15, hung herself in January.”

So it’s true that The South is illiterate!

She “HANGED” herself !!!! DUH !!!!

Rashi

March 30th, 2010
4:05 am

You people who think the nine bullies should NOT be locked up are blaming the victim, and it’s absolutely insane thinking! Those comments are most likely from the patents of the nine monsters who drove this poor girl to death! Bullying is a very serious crime that causes permanent harm that never goes away!!! It should most definitely be considered a serious crime and kids should have all the education and resources to recognize abuse and how and where to report it immediately! The adults to whom our children are entrusted during school hours must never allow this abuse to happen, and they as well as the abusers should pay a hefty price each and every time abuse to a child is allowed to occur! Self esteem has ZERO to do with how abuse affects a victim, and those who made comments otherwise, are indeed child abusers…and most definitely the weakest links in society. To the guy dealing with bullying at work…you are a victim of abuse and that does not make you weak. You have every right to speak to an attorney and sue for damages. But, like you said, it’s nearly impossible to do anything about it. The demon who called you weak was certainly your previous abusive boss.

Mike

March 30th, 2010
4:05 am

Septic, there is a tremendous difference between blowing through a stop sign causing someone else to lose control of their vehicle, crash, and die, and teasing someone and that someone having CONTROL of the situation going to kill themselve. That was a terrible analogy. Those kids didnt cause her death, her low self esteem caused her death. Those kids didnt wrap the rope around her neck, she did.

You are most certainly right that most bullies will back down when challenged by a dominate figure, however the gentleman above backed down from a “weak” bully, instead of asserting his dominance. So if we work this equation out…the gentleman above is weak and he’s losing his house because of his weakness.

My son is very well mannered and he’s not a bully. He has been taught though that nobody is ever going to put hands on him without repercussions. He’s never started a fight and he never will. So I laugh in the face of your lawsuit, weakling, we’ll counter sue if need be.

nehme

March 30th, 2010
4:08 am

RIP Phoebe Prince, its not just the school who failed you,its idiots like the one above who think its okay for kids to do that. Unfortunately for you Phoebe you want be here to see that someone cares about that. I feel those kids should be jailed and some of the school officials as well. I have 5 kids who have been harassed because the were good kids and brought complaint to the school and nothing was done about it. I was lucky enough to move my kids to good schools. the bottom line is that some people in the USA never grow up and don’t now how to teach their kids to do that either .

Mike

March 30th, 2010
4:18 am

Septic, there is a tremendous difference in blowing through a stop light, causing some else to lose control and wreck, and bullying somone and that peron going to kill themselves. That was a terrible analogy. Those kids didnt wrap the rope around this poor girls neck. I think it would be safe to say that she was not the only child at this school being bullied. Jail for these kids will not stop other kids from bullying because its a natural thing. It’s part of socialization. It’s like trying to stop highschool kids from having a sex drive.

As far as the weakling guy up there, you are absolutely correct that bullies will back down when confronted by a dominant figure. This guy however, backed down from a “weak” bully, and he’s losing his house over it. Now you seem like a smart individual, so let’s work this equation. Weak guy no.1 bullies weak guy no.2. Weak guy no.2 backs down = weak guy no.2 is weaker than weak guy no.1

My son is very well mannered. He’s never started a fight in his life and he never will. He has been taught though that no one will ever lay hands on him with out repercussions. To be quite honest with you, I would rather have to pay for a lawyer than for a funeral. But I laugh in the face of your law suit regardless weakling, being that my son will never start a fight, we’ll counter sue.

Aamina Nawaz

March 30th, 2010
4:26 am

I disagree, there can be plenty done to reduce extreme bullying- even the slightest initiation of some kind of program that promotes awareness on this issue can help. It is very rare that school faculty and staff members are aware of students who are being harassed at their schools ( kids just don’t speak up ); but in this case they [faculty] were aware, even the parents, and the fact that this concern was ignored worries me. NOT EVERYONE CAN DEAL WITH HARASSMENT, teenagers are not made of steel armor–everyone of them is different, everyone of their emotions are dissimilar with one another, what hurts one may not hurt another, so can we really say “oh, just deal with it”. No, that it absurd- and ignorant to state. People are people, even adults are sensitive– some people can’t handle being rumored or joked upon (and one should not have to experience the severe torments—especially if you are a child- knowing that children have identity crises, fragile self-esteem, and undeveloped cognition)- some are tough overlook rumors or harassment, others find it complex. And, that is reasonable- no one should be tortured mentally or physically, no one should have to put up with people shattering their self-esteem, and certainly not left alone to deal with it- they deserved to be heard and aided.
Parents send their children to school being assured their child will be looked after and protected; in return the child expects that same comfort. But, what happens when someone starts abusing it? They should make the help line more available to students- where a student can go and complain about their issues, where faculty is aware that someone in their institution is being damaged- and actually give a s—. Schools can promote their help hotlines, encourage students to visit their counselors and school psychologists, identify with their teachers as helpers rather than authoritarians, educate parents to pick up on signs of distress , teachers to follow up with academic performances- show u care– give a s—- communication is the key. Student to Teacher; Child to Parent.

In my opinion, this event could have been avoided in several ways:
Obviously, she felt isolated- she didn’t have anyone to go to, anyone to talk to- to get another insight or perspective, or receive words of care and comfort—that’s why she committed suicide.
Teachers could have held a conference with the prime aggressors (the 9 students), psychologists could have been incorporated, programs on harassment and rumor starting could have been placed (educating children on not being a–holes, not hurting someone, not making them cry, the golden rule theory). Parents could have taken a much more aggressive approach (move, when worst came to worst) , fought with faculty and staff members until something was done, call the parents of the children, stood by their child and comfort them.
SO, many things to prevent this death.
Yes, children are children; teenagers are teenagers- they do stupid s— (we all have). Some make it in life without having anyone harass them, but does that mean we should see it as punitive because you didn’t experience its extremes? Or, maybe u have been harassed but didn’t care much–does that mean that others would deal with it the same way? NO- we are humans; we are fragile- we can be damaged so severely that we lose our sense of reasoning, and begin to think we are insignificant. The fact behind suicide is–these people actually want to LIVE- but they CAN’T; they feel alone, like they are the only ones who deal with issues as such—no one is there to tell them that rumors happen, no one was there to help build their self-esteem, no one was even there when other people laid their filthy hands on them (physical abuse). If the verbal aggression didn’t seem as severe, then what about when the physical abuse kicked in—why were they [adults] so blind to see this student in distress?
Damaging the human soul in any kind of way or form is unjust.

Whiskey Charlie

March 30th, 2010
4:33 am

It may be unjust, but it doesn’t warrant jail time for the 9 kids. That would be cruel and unusual punishment.

CP

March 30th, 2010
4:34 am

Sad that moral outrage over the causes of a young girls’ suicide has to be defended. Unfortunately it shows how out of balance our country has become, for whatever reason. Maybe there was a time these bullying situations could be settled with a physical altercation but those days have passed and we’re here talking in a virtual medium. Mob mentality is part of human nature and some don’t have the insight or tools to overcome it (bully and bullied), especially when it’s magnified and spread over wide areas by technology and media. Maybe cases like this (and many others) show that the problem has grown bigger than an individuals ability to handle it.

From what little I know, I’d guess Phoebe was a relatively normal girl in a new country, a new school with a whole range of hopes and fears; more vulnerable than most because of that (and any other factors unique to her situation – financial?). I’d hope we can return some balance, maybe some empathy, to our national situation without compromising our ability to be honest, tough and staightforward.

FWIW Put the most responsible kids in jail for a couple of weeks (no criminal record) and let them experience the other side of bullying.

Jared

March 30th, 2010
4:37 am

Septic, there is a tremendous difference in blowing through a stop light, causing some else to lose control and wreck, and bullying somone and that person going to kill themselves. That was a terrible analogy. Those kids didnt wrap the rope around this poor girls neck. I think it would be safe to say that she was not the only child at this school being bullied. Jail for these kids will not stop other kids from bullying because its a natural thing. It’s part of socialization. It’s like trying to stop highschool kids from having a sex drive.

As far as the weakling guy up there, you are absolutely correct that bullies will back down when confronted by a dominant figure. This guy however, backed down from a “weak” bully, and he’s losing his house over it. Now you seem like a smart individual, so let’s work this equation. Weak guy no.1 bullies weak guy no.2. Weak guy no.2 backs down = weak guy no.2 is weaker than weak guy no.1

I would bet Mike’s son is very well mannered. He’s probably never started a fight in his life and he never will. He has been taught though that no one will ever lay hands on him with out repercussions. To be quite honest with you, I would rather have to pay for a lawyer than for a funeral. I’m sure this girls parents feel the same way.

James

March 30th, 2010
4:40 am

Septic, there is a tremendous difference in blowing through a stop light, causing some else to lose control and wreck, and bullying somone and that person going to kill themselves. That was a terrible analogy. Those kids didnt wrap the rope around this poor girls neck. I think it would be safe to say that she was not the only child at this school being bullied. Jail for these kids will not stop other kids from bullying because its a natural thing. It’s part of socialization. It’s like trying to stop highschool kids from experimenting with sex and drugs.

As far as the weakling guy up there, you are absolutely correct that bullies will back down when confronted by a dominant figure. This guy however, backed down from a “weak” bully, and he’s losing his house over it. Now you seem like a smart individual, so let’s work this equation. Weak guy no.1 bullies weak guy no.2. Weak guy no.2 backs down = weak guy no.2 is weaker than weak guy no.1…does that work out correctly?

I would bet Mike’s son is very well mannered. He’s probably never started a fight in his life and he never will. He has been taught though that no one will ever lay hands on him with out repercussions. To be quite honest with you, I would rather have to pay for a lawyer than for a funeral. I’m sure this girls parents feel the same way.

Aamina

March 30th, 2010
4:46 am

Mike- u are an idiot. “it what kids do”— bully around- abuse a 15 year old teenager younger; they stalk her, harass her, physically abuse her, torment her mentally–and u think its ok?– They should be charged, severity of the charges are debatable– obviously the charges are set— jail time and psychological help should be enforced—one way or another they need to institutionalized (whether that be jail.. or rehab center– considering the fact they are teenagers, they are idiots, they did stupid sh-t, they have undeveloped brains causing them to go about their abusive manners—but does that mean they should be ignored? Hell, no. If u ignore the conditions of this case today- “as children being children” then tomorrow there will be another suicid–someone elses son or daughter— how many deaths does it take to realize this is significant and serious?—this is not the first—).

These teenagers tortured a girl- caused her death.
You Need to start educating yourself on the notion of “verbal” agression in the end result of a death.

THink about it, your being a parent, your busy at work, trying to make it through with ur family in this tough economy, you can’t pay attention to your childs every need, you trust the school as an institution that could help aid you and mold your child into a sucessful, strong, caring individual–[but instead they ignore the signs of a distressed teenager]. and now ur child is being bullied in school, stalked, harassed, abused, and then kills herself—> and you say “well– gee…children bully- big deal”—->?

I agree, yes they are children, they make mistakes, they should be given a second chance at being able to better themselves, but their actions were so extreme– they should be held accountable for something– no?

also the school should have been investigated and charged or liable in some manner– the are the authority figures, somebody should have stepped in.

spetic- i agree with you. Abuse ending in death= guilty. Charges? should not be as harsh as an adult would get— bit chargers are a must.

Aamina

March 30th, 2010
4:49 am

It is not cruel and unusual, but the severity of the charges—> could have been negotiated to an extent where these teenagers are not condemmed for life as being bad individuals—but what they did was sick, it was ill, performed in ill intent and motive— u touch someone= ur guilty.

nh

March 30th, 2010
4:53 am

Mike- I suggest that you go find a history book and learn about the Holocaust. Social Darwinism did not work for Nazi Germany, and there is no reason to expect that it will work in America. Besides, how does fighting a bully actually demonstrate any strength? Mostly, not wanting to be confrontational is just a byproduct of being intelligent and civilized. People who are aggressive are generally pretty ignorant.

John N

March 30th, 2010
4:54 am

To those saying the 9 shouldn’t be prosecuted: Are you just ignoring the statutory rape charges?

Regarding just standing up to bullying: Yes, that is a good idea and it often works. In my own case, my father recommended giving the bully a bloody nose. I didn’t manage that, but a swift broomstick across the shins was just as effective. He never bothered me again. [We were hiking and the broomstick was my hiking staff. It was in my hands when the bully began one last time] I wouldn’t tell a kid to use a broomstick today. Someone would probably charge the kid with assault.

Thousands of kids are bullied each day. Very few hang themselves. If this child did not leave a note, then bullying as the cause is only an assumption. Life is complicated at that age and there could have been other reasons. Even so, u believe the 9 deserve some punishment.

Hanged/hung. Hanged is preferred, not solely correct. The south is not illiterate, but some people on intolerant of regional differences, except their own of course.

nh

March 30th, 2010
4:59 am

BTW, these kids laughed and joked about the suicide at a party 2 days after it happened. If I were on the jury, I would have no sympathy for them.

Aamina

March 30th, 2010
5:01 am

Hank

March 30th, 2010
5:33 am

Very few things make my blood boil. This does. So what if the bullies were identified and so what if they’re given the guilty verdict in court? They’ll just get a slap on the wrist.

You know what justice is? Let the bullies have their day in court. When they’re proven guilty, each of them should get 50 lashes each in the public square and 2 years in a forced labor camp. Both parents and children should have “Murderer. Rapist. Bully.” burn-branded into their foreheads. On lashing day, their parents should be in the front row, gagged and bound with their eyes pried open and their heads fixed in place so they can’t help but watch and listen. The rest of the high school population should be present as well. The message? If you’re a bully and you’re caught, the state will give you something to cry about.

Of course, that won’t happen. After all, terrorists, rapists, murderers, and all the other monsters out there have all the rights and the victims have none of them.

Morgan

March 30th, 2010
5:36 am

@Mike: So it’s the victim’s fault that these kids hounded her? Get real; I’ve seen monsters like these brats go after mentally and physically disabled kids, poor kids, rich kids, outcasts, each other. It’s not the responsibility of the victim to prevent illegal behavior.

I’d just LOVE to see how funny they think that crap still is when they see how hardened criminals look at them.

JJ

March 30th, 2010
5:40 am

Septic makes some very sensible comments, especially those he directed at Mike, who I believe was NEVER picked on, or bullyed in his school years.

When you are picked on or bullyed, it does play with your confidence, and your self esteem. In some cases it takes years to overcome those damaging and hurtful feelings.
I know, because I was a victim of bullying.

As an adult, I know now that many of those who chose to bully me (and some of my other class mates), mostly did so out of insecurity and to make themselves feel more superior.

Some of the bullying I received, could have been stopped with a punch, but that would have landed me in hot water with the school administration. So, I usually just did my best to stay away from those who picked on me, and tried to keep them from messing with me, as best I could. That chain of survival allowed me to finish my education and eventually move on to college. Maybe I was lucky, but it took years for me to garner the inner-confidence I have now.

In the case of Phoebe, who knows what she had to deal with. The fact that she was in a new country may have had her scared. The fact that she was tormented by a network of nine to 12 kids, may have given her the feeling of being completely outside the inner circle of acceptance and her only way to deal with it, eventually, was to hang herself.

This story makes me sick. A beautiful young girl snuffs her own life out, because she can NOT deal with the horrible torment that a few kids were doing to her. However, the idea of being accepted and being allowed to go to school with-out fear from our fellow classmates, is a luxury that many who have not been bullied in life, take for granted on a daily basis.

Something tells me that this goes way beyond a can of soda being thrown, or name calling etc… but everyone, has a breaking point. Some kids break, (as we have learned over the past several years), by bringing a fire arm to school and killing their classmates. Others act out in less violent ways, but they do act out. Others do what Ms Prince did.. they kill themselves.

I have ZERO compassion for the kids who tormented this girl, to the point where she killed herself. Why did they do it?.. What did Phoebe do to them to make them hate her so much?… Did they ever once consider how they would have acted had they been in a new country, unfamiliar with the customs and culture, only to be ridiculed and abused for being different?… really big of them to do this to a girl who they could have learned from. Instead, they drove her to suicide. Make no mistake about it, this girl would still be alive if some of these brats would have taken the time to get to know her and be respectful of her culture and accent, instead of pushing her around so mean and hurtful.

I also believe, from watching talk shows that dealt with kids who bullied from years ago and now were confronted by their victims 5-20 years later, that most bullies have ZERO remorse or even an inclination of the harm their horrible actions do (and even did) to their victims.

Therefore, I don’t know how far this prosecutor can go, but I think that some form of punishment should be handed down to make these kids realize that their harmful actions can lead to more than any of them thought. Phoebe’s life was worth something… and yes.. these kids did not kill her, but their acts were contributing factors to her suicide.

Something else to consider, perhaps next time, they will bully the WRONG kid, and that kid will do what Mike suggests, only this time the victim of the bullying will take things MUCH further than any of us would ever want to see a kid take things, and there could be another incident of gun violence at a school, sparked by so-called “routine, or harmless, bullying”.

The bullying today is probably no worse than it was back in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc… only now, the internet and other devices (cell phones/ emails/ texting etc..) make it easier for kids to broadcast their hurtful remarks to a much wider audience and through the cowardly position of anonymity.

My prayers go to the girl’s family who came here looking for the American dream, only to lose their daughter to a reality that is growing worse every year in American society, … Teen suicide. (and to make it more tragic, her suicide was as a result of the bullying she suffered from her fellow classmates).

I know that bullies have always existed, and maybe our grandparents had a much more sensible way of dealing with the bullying, (good old fashioned butt whipping), but today, we are training our kids to utilize “conflict resolution” as ways of dealing with their bullies.

A girl is dead, and yes, it was by her own hand. But the actions of those who tormented and abused her, are as guilty as if they put her head in the noose and hanged her themselves., and those who treated her in that manner, and made her feel so worthless and beaten down, that her only resolve was to kill herself.

Well, I’m not sorry for them and they need to be held accountable, unless schools are willing to allow for corporal punishment along with kids being able to fight back in physical ways, to stop the bullying. Because, quite frankly, the “conflict resolution” route, is NOT working.

As for Mike…. some day, you will understand what its like to be bullied, and just remember your own advice pal. Whether its you or a significant other in your family, someday you will see that its not that simple and easy to confront bullies, beause our schools really don’t allow you to take such matters into your own hands, and are increasingly ignoring such problems, rather than to stand up and stop them.

I just wish that someone, anyone, a student, a parent, a kid, a school administrator, a teacher, could have put their arm around Phoebe and told her she was somebody, she mattered, she is a good girl, she has something to contribute and was important to the overall well being of the school, what that might have done. Sadly, now, its too late for that.

Like someone posted ealier, please remember how our words can and do affect others, and if we have power to stop horrible acts of unkind treatment, we need to do it.

God bless Phoebe Prince, her death was unecessary and she is hopefully at peace and hopefully her parents and loved ones and friends, will some day be able to find some solace to this horrible and maddening tragedy.

hardworkingal

March 30th, 2010
6:12 am

To roadtoad: ‘bullied’ out of two jobs by supervisors? In my office we call it termination for cause, or getting FIRED!!!!!!!! How dare you, comparing what this child went through to your shortcomings, and using it as a personal soapbox in a pathetic attempt to mask your obvious inability to perform your job. Might I suggest that YOU grow a pair?

Sarah H

March 30th, 2010
7:02 am

I resent this statement; For those of you who work in schools, why would administrators and teachers let this persecution go unchecked? We can’t deal with bullying unless we witness it ourselves. Many of these teens are so sneaky. They make sure that there are no adults around before they bully anyone. Around here, if we accuse anyone of bullying without actually seeing it, we can be disciplined.

Don

March 30th, 2010
7:07 am

To all the people that think Phoebe Prince was the one at fault here I bet you were/are a bully yourself and most likely your kids are also. I have a news flash for you, not only should they have to stand before a court for their actions they should have to do it as an adult and receive the maximum amount of time in a State prison. Then we can see just how tuff they really are.
Then any teacher that knew of this and did nothing about it should have their teaching certificates revoked and should never be allowed back in a classroom again. As for the administrators they should also lose any and all teaching certificates they hold and face prosecution too. After all, they were made aware of the bullying and did nothing about it. This makes them just as guilty as the 9 thugs that carried out the bullying.
Until administrators and teachers are prosecuted and made to do their job (keeping our kids safe) this will continue to happen. Put a few principals and teachers behind bars and I bet this behavior comes to a stop! Maybe if the principal and teachers at Columbine had stopped the bullying that was going on, two boys would have not felt the need to do what they did. After all, according to the way some of you think they just stood up for themselves when the school and police failed them. Think about that for a minute then ask your kids if they are being bullied or are bullying others, get on their my space and facebook or any other networking sites and see what is going on. You just might keep this from happening to you and you’re family.

ANON

March 30th, 2010
7:25 am

Survival of the fittest, all she had to do was wait till she was out of high school instead of hanging herself which is completely irrational. After HS she would never see those people again, ya know? Also, why the hell would anyone move to the USA?! gosh that sucks if I lived somewhere in europe and had to move to this hell hole, already filled with militia wanting to murder the gov.

NotAngelWest

March 30th, 2010
7:26 am

Just wait until Neanderthal Mike or his son, by Darwinian example, overstep their bounds and end up in prison. After he is gang raped by a bunch of “bullies” I bet he won’t have the audacity to say the “blame falls on her and the school” or in his case ‘him and the prison.’ I bet he will be crying like a little girl about his victimization. Shame on you for blaming this poor girl with so much potential, who didn’t even have time to acclimate to our American culture being recently from Ireland. It’s the law that students be mandated to attend these bastions of hypocrisy (school), and in doing so our citizenry deserves to be safe. PS. There are alot of men in prison who luuuuve a tough guy.

Jessica Lucens

March 30th, 2010
7:28 am

I want to know where the teachers and administrators were during all this? Why didn’t they intervene. And if this girl was so popular, why did none of her friends defend her during this bullying. I was bullied in school, but my friends stood up for me, escorted me to classes and walked or drove me home until the bullies got tired of trying to get around them. Pay attention, kids: if you are not strong enough to physically discourage bullies, you can take names & kick a** later with your parents, school administrators and even the cops.

Cathy

March 30th, 2010
7:29 am

@ Mike, and hardworkingal BULLIES!

A mom

March 30th, 2010
7:30 am

the fact that there are so many posts proves this is a very common serious problem. My son was harrassed in med school by a sociopath – a fellow student. he went for help and was told HE needed therapy and yes, the creep, who’d had run ins with others in the school is still there. My son withdrew and this sicko will be a physician some day. It happens at every age and the sad thing is these sociopaths can smell a kind gentle soul a mile away. Satan does walk on this earth in the form of evils like this. I hope for these nine students that they spend their life remembering what they’ve done. A beautiful vibrant young girl is now gone – hopefully to a better place than this pathetic world which only seems to get sicker by the day.

Moe Moe

March 30th, 2010
7:36 am

This sort of bullying happens everywhere. My own kid was categorically harassed because she had dyslexia, and one of the teachers called her “stupid” in front of the whole class! From that point on, her days in this school were nonstop harassment, jeering, and bullying. My prayers go out to this poor girls family! They should have pulled her out of this hell hole of a school. That’s what I did, and my kid is much happier and HEALTHIER for it.

sean

March 30th, 2010
7:39 am

Iam so sorry for phoebe and for her family to have encountered the ugly side of this world, these kids are 100% responsible for their actions and should be punished to the full extent of the law, we are responsible for eveything we say and do in this life and should learn the the power of our words as well as our actions.