9 Teenagers Accused of Bullying That Led to Suicide

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is not clear what some students at South Hadley High School expected to achieve by subjecting a freshman to the relentless taunting described by a prosecutor and classmates.

Certainly not her suicide. And certainly not the multiple felony indictments announced on Monday against several students at the Massachusetts school.

The prosecutor brought charges Monday against nine teenagers, saying their taunting and physical threats were beyond the pale and led the freshman, Phoebe Prince, to hang herself from a stairwell in January.

The charges were an unusually sharp legal response to the problem of adolescent bullying, which is increasingly conducted in cyberspace as well as in the schoolyard and has drawn growing concern from parents, educators and lawmakers.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologySuicideTeens / Youth

Posted March 30, 2010 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Henry Greville wrote:

Parents and educators have to teach and model for all young people a social culture that not only says mutual respect and kind tolerance are social goods to be applauded, but also shames bullies and collectively stands up against intimidators. Both carrot and stick are necessary. Don’t blame just “the media”; if the fault is in “the culture,” then the responsibility belongs to all of us.

March 30, 1:47 pm | [comment link]
2. MKEnorthshore wrote:

In light of the press going after Pope Benedict’s handling of clerics accused of sexual abuse, shouldn’t they now focus on Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Education for this and similar cases?

March 30, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
3. Catholic Mom wrote:

In many public schools, principals are mainly just trying to “get by” —collect their not insubstantial checks and avoid as much hassle as possible.  Calling these kids in and disciplining them almost certainly means hassling by their probably equally aggressive parents, possibly their parent’s lawyers, and of course, the kids themselves who are perfectly willing to turn their terroristic activities on the principal if provoked (e.g., slashed tires, paint thrown on car.)  Therefore, many, if not most, principals in this situation respond to the complaints of the victim and their parents by saying either “it’s just kids being kids” or “there’s nothing we can do.”  A couple of good lawsuits with million dollar settlements and you’d see a sea change.

March 30, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
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