Fear and loathing in South Hadley over Phoebe Prince suicide
“Kids kill themselves in every town across the country but it’s the media that’s keeping the focus on our small town and it’s not very fair,” said Francis Ambrose.
Not wanting any more disruptions to life as she knows it in South Hadley, Ambrose asked the media to leave the school, its staff and the kids alone.
Ambrose was not alone in her feelings.
Robert Castro said South Hadley “is a good town where people are nice.”
“It’s getting an awful reputation and it’s not justified,” added Castro.
When I asked him if he thought the school should take responsibility he immediately defended them.
“They didn’t know it was going on so what could they have done,” he said.
I quickly tried to tell him the facts that have come to light since the Northeastern District Attorney’s office concluded their investigations but he didn’t want to know.
“The kids are getting enough slack for what they did, isn’t that enough,” he asked, waving a hand in my direction and walking away.
A woman in her early forties spoke to me on the condition of anonymity.
She admitted her children – now in their early 20s- attended South Hadley High School and they were bullied.
“My son more so than my daughter and when I reported it to the principle he said he would put a stop to it,” she said.
Nothing happened. The bullying continued until this woman took matters into her own hands and approached the parents of the bullies themselves.
“Even at that, my son still got abused both physically and verbally,” she said.
After a few more encounters with people of the same minds as Castro and Ambrose I knew it was time to leave South Hadley.
I had enough.
I drove back out of town, past Phoebe’s old home and past the school where nightmares were created with a sick feeling in my stomach.
Will the school authorities ever stand up and take responsibility?
Well if the likes of O’Brien keeps the fight up – and I sincerely hope he does- then it’s a possibility.
Watch this space.
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