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.
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... .
See complete commentary at: http://dgranthaynes.blogspot.com/2010/04/prince-tragedy....html