A South Hadley High School official was warned last August by Phoebe Prince's aunt — before the 15-year-old had even arrived at the school — that she had been bullied in Ireland and was 'susceptible' to getting picked on by classmates, a family spokesperson told the press Tuesday.
Months before Prince's tragic January 14 suicide her aunt, Eileen Moore made a point of urging the official to look out for her vulnerable niece.
“She told him Phoebe had been bullied over there and was susceptible to bullying. Nowhere near to this degree,’ Darby O’Brien, the man who first contacted the media about the tragic case, told the Boston Herald.
“I don’t think anybody imagined anything like this would happen,” he added.
Superintendent of Schools Gus Sayer refused to address the alleged warning when it was broached to him on Saturday, saying, “I can’t verify that right now; it’s the weekend.' He then added, 'It is not appropriate for me to discuss anything from Phoebe’s personal file.”
But Luke Gelinas, a parent and frequent critic of South Hadley school administrators, told the press on Monday that Sayer confirmed the alleged warning from Prince’s aunt during a recent conversation.
It's understood that Prince’s family have hired an attorney. If the family files a civil suit against the school district, Moore's alleged August warning could greatly bolster a civil suit.
If the warning is established as a fact, it placed increased responsibility on school officials to take extra precautions to ensure Prince's safety.
The more specific the assurance that Phoebe would be safe, the more likely it is that the administrators can be held liable, sources said.
Meanwhile, three of the nine teens implicated in bullying Prince faced arraignment yesterday. Lawyers for Sean Mulveyhill, 17, Kayla Narey, 17, and Austin Renaud, 18, entered not guilty pleas on behalf of their clients.
Three more teens are to be arraigned today. The remaining three students are juveniles.
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