The criminal charges filed against Nine South Hadley teenagers in connection with the suicide death of 15 year old high school student Phoebe Prince, has taken center stage in the media. Phoebe, a pretty young girl who had recently immigrated from Ireland, was relentlessly bullied by a pack of mean girls and a few other male students pushing her to the brink of death.
Friends described her as a beautiful, charming and overall sweet girl to everyone who knew her. Why was she the target of their wrath? Because she had dated two popular boys in high school and their ex girlfriends didn’t like it. Phoebe’s beauty was outshining their own.
In Phoebe’s case, criminal charges were outlined by Northwestern District Attorney, Elizabeth Scheibel on Monday. They range from violation of civil rights to statutory rape. Phoebe, had briefly dated two different boys, whose ex girlfriends and five other students participated in “a nearly-three-month campaign” of verbal assaults and physical threats against Phoebe. Phoebe’s picture was scribbled out of a student-body photo hanging on a classroom wall.
The bullies slammed her on Facebook and sent her mean text messages. The attacks culminated on the day of her death in a “torturous day” during which Phoebe was harassed in the library, in the hallways, and walking down the street on her way home. On the afternoon of her death, a few of them reportedly drove by her while she walked home, shouted “Irish slut” and “Irish whore,” and threw a soda at her.
Bullying in this country has gotten out of hand but who is to blame? The students, school officials, or the parents. Is it all of the above? Bullying is an act of cowardice, it’s the mob mentality where a group of individuals take the right of free expression to the extreme. They turn bullying into a competitive sport and focus on an individual who is much weaker and vulnerable in the process.
Now the nine attackers will face a much tougher audience, a jury and if convicted they will surely get a taste of their own medicine in prison. I think the school officials should be held accountable for their actions, where were they? The principal, South Hadley High School Principal Daniel T. Smith, needs to be fired immediately because he obviously does not have his school under control.
Also, what about the teachers? They are hired to educate our children, provide guidance and to step in when something inappropriate happens. It seems our school systems have gotten lazy along with parents who are too busy to teach their kids right from wrong.
As a parent, I’m outraged by nine teens behavior. Parents need to be involved in their kids life, find out who their friends are and what they are doing. Now, not only was one young life lost, nine other lives will be ruined in the process. A very sad situation for everyone involved. Hopefully, Phoebe Prince’s death will not be in vain and our country will help get an anti-bullying law passed.