100 South Hadley parents demand action on bullying after Phoebe Prince suicide
Group wants strong measure to be taken to avoid similar tragedies
Coloroso also visited the school in September 2009 and said South Hadley High has not implemented the measures she suggested then.
“They said they had a warning and suspension policy in place,” she said. “But it was nebulous. And the policy didn’t include cyber bullying.’’
She added, “There’s got to be a procedure in place to determine how they handle the bully, how they protect the target, and what they are going to do with any bystander who may have contributed to this mess and protect them if they are a witness. They don’t have that yet.”
Last week two students were suspended from South Hadley in connection with their role in an assault days after Phoebe’s death. It is believed these are the same students who taunted Phoebe at school and in cyberspace through websites like Facebook and through text messages on her cell phone. Their punishment has not been disclosed.
State Representative John Scibak, a South Hadley Democrat and former selectman, is seeking answers from Sayer.
“You have a community looking for answers, and they should get them,” Scibak said.
“It’s reasonable for parents to ask what they’re doing and what they intend to do to address this particular incident.”
A spokesperson for the Northwestern district attorney’s office investigating the role of bullying in Phoebe’s suicide told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that the case is still open and an investigation is still continuing.
An anti-bullying legislation bill, which was already in the works since a hearing before the Joint Committee on Education last November, is to be released into the Massachusetts House and Senate later this month. The bill plans to crack down on cyber bullies.
Phoebe, who was born in Bedford, England but moved to Co. Clare when she was two, spent most of her life there.
Last summer Phoebe relocated to South Hadley with her mother, Anne O’Brien-Prince, and sisters Lauren, Tessa and Bridget and brother Simon, so she could, according to her family, “experience America and be near her family in Massachusetts.”
She was a freshman in South Hadley High School since September. The young Irish girl found it difficult to settle into school. She engaged in school counseling sessions to adjust to her new settings.
The bullying apparently started when Phoebe began dating a senior football player. Other students didn’t like this and began posting snide comments on her person Facebook page.
According to reports, they also sent her vile text messages and verbally abused her in school and, when the opportunity arose, outside of the classroom.
According to Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, the bullies would call Phoebe a “slut,” or an “Irish slut.”
It is believed that shortly before her death, Phoebe received another text message saying, “Go kill yourself.”
Even after her death, bullies continued to harass Phoebe in cyberspace. A Facebook page dedicated to her memory and initially flooded with condolences from all over America and Ireland was removed after several vindictive messages were entered on the site.
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