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Prince tragedy should represent a wake-up call to public educators

category international | education | other press author Friday April 16, 2010 21:44author by D. Grant Haynes - Self

A culture and educational system that permits a student like Irish teen Phoebe Prince to be bullied and harassed until driven to suicide needs to undergo vast systemic changes immediately.
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I have followed the tragic story of the Irish teen, Phoebe Prince, who hanged herself in January after a period of merciless bullying and harassment by her peers at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts.

The incident has drawn national attention and has prompted many in public education to discuss adoption of anti-bullying policies for their districts or schools. Whatever changes may come will, of course, represent too little too late for Phoebe Prince and her family.

Phoebe, 15, had enrolled in the freshman class at South Hadley High in September. She was a new immigrant to Massachusetts from Ireland.

Phoebe’s hazing and endless cruel harassment by certain fellow students is said to have begun after she dated a South Hadley High School varsity football player, and later another senior male, in the fall following her arrival at the school. Several apparently jealous female students set about to make Phoebe’s life hell each day thereafter. And they did so in full view of other students and, reportedly, teachers and administrators on occasions.

Phoebe was repeatedly threatened with physical violence from her tormentors who verbally assaulted her, calling her an “Irish slut” and worse in the cafeteria, the school library, the halls, the girls restroom, and wherever else she went on her daily rounds at the school.

Finally, on January 14--after an especially difficult day for Phoebe in which jeering vehicle-born students had thrown a beverage can at her as she walked home from school, she hanged herself in the stairwell of her family’s apartment.

No counselor, principal, or teacher employed at South Hadley High School had intervened effectively to halt the unspeakably cruel ritual destruction of Phoebe Prince that had been unfolding in their midst for several months.

Having been a high school student in the mid-20th Century and a high school teacher several decades later, I can well understand what Phoebe Prince probably encountered... .
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See complete commentary at: http://dgranthaynes.blogspot.com/2010/04/prince-tragedy....html

Comments (3 of 3)

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author by Mark C - Contact.iepublication date Sat Apr 17, 2010 00:11author address author phone

There was an audio about this on Today with Pat Kenny (whatever you may think about him) about 2 weeks ago. Have a listen at the related link.

Mark C.


Audio Interview on Today with Pat Kenny about Phoebe Prince

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/podcasts/2010/pc/pod-v-070410-07m11s-todaywithpatkenny.mp3
author by D. Grant Haynes - Selfpublication date Sat Apr 17, 2010 01:53author email grant_haynes at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone

I must admit that, as an American, I was not aware of Pat Kenny. I thought his interview with the Boston reporter to be informative and well done. I know more about the sad Prince tragedy for having listened. I do not know Pat Kenny's political positions in Ireland or the issues involved that cause such angst among his detractors. I might be one of them if I knew more. I am reading, listening, and learning. Thanks for the tip about the Kenny interview. -- DGH

author by Brian O'Kennedypublication date Sat Apr 17, 2010 06:34author address author phone

"I do not know Pat Kenny's political positions in Ireland."

Nobody does.
It is in his job spec. not to take sides in his interviews.

In fairness to RTE you never hear partisan politics from any of its presenters.

RTE's interviewers are equally tough on all sides.

There are no raving loony extremist right wing "shock jocks" in Ireland.

Not yet anyway.
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