NINE High School Students Indicted In Bullying Case Of Phoebe Prince

CJ Westerberg, June 23, 2010 2:39 PM


What Parents & Schools Should Know:   NPR Podcast & Helpful Links 
Judge:  Pervasive & Repetitive
No Adults Charged

"Some kinds of bullying can start to seem too normal to us"

As reported extensively in the press, Phoebe Prince, a student who moved with her family
from Ireland to western Massachusetts and attended South Hadley High School committed suicide from hanging herself after being bullied by fellow classmates.

51RCRIPHfKL._SL500_AA300_.jpgCheck out NPR podcast below which is a quick round-up of the major issues surrounding this explosive story,
interviewing both Bridget Berman (click for Amazon), the ninth grader who authored "Dorie Witt's Guide To Bullying" before entering high school, and Emily Brazelon, reporting on bullying in an informative recent multiple-story series for Slate (see story below podcast for links).

The podcast below is from NPR's "The Take-Away's" week-long series Getting Schooled with John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee.  Link Here.  Podcast below in red runs 7 minutes:

In addition, Slate has an informative series on bullying, aptly titled "BULL-E  2010:  The New World Of Online Cruelty" by Emily Brazelon with link here. Topics include:

  • Suicide in South Hadley Nine teenagers have been charged with bullying Phoebe Prince. What about the adults who knew it was going on?
  • How Should Facebook and MySpace Handle Cyberbullying? Plus: Which site is better at it.
  • How Not To Prosecute a Sexting Case.   A federal court rebukes a district attorney who cracked down on three girls over seminude photos.
  • When Should Sexting Be Illegal? Predators must be punished, but what about good kids who make a bad decision?
  • Could Anyone Have Saved Phoebe Prince? She was tormented by bullies at school and online. Here's what we can learn from her suicide.

One article in particular of interest is the background information of the town in the aftermath
here.  An excerpt:

" . . .In the initial uproar over Phoebe's death, there was also pressure on the high school and the school district from the press: in the Boston Globe, where columnist Kevin Cullen expressed outrage over South Hadley's "mean girls"; in People magazine, which ran an article sympathetic to the Prince family; and on Facebook, where a group called "expel the three girls who caused Phoebe Prince to commit suicide" has 25,841 fans. For a moment, at least, South Hadley was portrayed as the bullying capital of America. To some people in town, that's a monstrous, unrecognizable image. . ."

See previous The Daily Riff story with link here, titled "Guilty:  Teenage Cyberbullies NOT Protected By Free Speech" - what every parent and school should know about new legal action.

Update:  The Daily Beast has a bullying series today here.

More on Bridget Berman here (interview).

Tell us your stories . . . and what you did about it . . .
  • Erika Liston

    Do you think that media has a major influence on the roll of setting the sterotypes in schools for what is "acceptable" and then the bullying is a consequence from what students have seen? Also, students themselves have control over the networking media. They are faster and they know whats new constantly. The older generation is still learning. So the students have already set the standards for what is acceptable because the adults are just now getting adapted with social networks like "facebook", and they are asking their kids for help. The social networks are targeted at the kids first and then parents realize, this is also something for them too. Why has it come down to the Kids having control over the media?

    Also, isn't school supposed to be a "safe haven" for students? When I was in HS 3 and a half years ago, we had teachers and aids out side with the students monitoring at all times, is there a lack of teachers at the school to also have that? Do teachers feel that the students lunch break is also their time away from the students and what happens then isn't "under their watch?"

    I don't understand how tormenting a student can get so out of hand on school grounds. As Bridget Berman said, when you go into work you dont have to worry because there are rules that protect you against harrassment. Why has this never been estiblished in schools?

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