Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phoebe Prince Commits Suicide Cyber-Bullying Students

Nine Massachusetts teens were indicted Monday for driving a pretty 15-year-old "new girl" from Ireland to suicide in a case that has become a symbol of high school bullying. The sweeping charges - which come after months of complaints that the bullies weren't being punished - include statutory rape, violation of civil rights with bodily injury, criminal harassment and stalking.

Phoebe Prince

"The investigation revealed relentless activity directed toward Phoebe designed to humiliate her and to make it impossible for her to remain at school," District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel said. Scheibel said she had drawn the ire of the "Mean Girls" by briefly dating a popular senior football player in her first freshman weeks at the school. One student later said it felt like the whole school ganged up on her.

At a news conference today, Northwestern Massachusetts District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel detailed the charges against Prince's fellow students at South Hadley High School. They included statutory rape, violation of civil rights, criminal harassment and disturbance of a school assembly, The Boston Globe reported. In the wake of Prince's suicide on Jan. 14, residents of South Hadley have demanded that school Superintendent Gus Sayer resign from office, the Boston Herald reported. Until Monday's indictments were handed down, no action had been taken against the students accused of bullying Prince.

Phoebe Prince

"Apparently the young woman had been subjected to taunting from her classmates, mostly through the Facebook and text messages, but also in person on at least a couple of occasions,'' school superintendent Gus Sayer told the Boston Globe. It was an especially tragic ending for the Prince family. Anne O'Brien Prince and Jeremy Prince had moved from County Clare to Massachusetts with their five kids last year. In Phoebe's death notice, they said they moved in part so "Phoebe could experience America.''

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