Judge rules Phoebe Prince settlement information to be released

Phoebe Prince

A Massachusetts judge has ruled that journalist Emily Bazelon, the Connecticut based reporter who wrote a controversial article in Slate in 2010 which appeared to suggest that peer antagonism toward young suicide victim Phoebe Prince may have had some justification, has won a ruling from a Hampshire Superior Court judge ordering the town of South Hadley to release the terms of a private settlement with the Prince family.

Judge Mary-Lou Rup granted public access to the details of the settlement and soon after, the Boston Globe reported that the family received $225,000 from Prince’s school district, according to a copy of the settlement.

Phoebe's parents, Anne O’Brien and Jeremy Prince, both claimed that the town and some town officials failed in their duty to protect Phoebe against sexual harassment at South Hadley High School.


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Prince, 15, hanged herself in January 2010 after a period of intense bullying and harassment by some of her classmates. Six South Hadley High School students were subsequently charged in connection with their treatment of Prince but none was sentenced to jail time.

Bazelon told the press on Friday that she was pleased by the decision to publish details of the settlement.

'I think it was right on the law and I look forward to publishing the settlement as soon as I get it,' she said.

Bazelon's critics claim she has re-victimized Prince after her death by writing an article that appeared to suggest she was an unstable boyfriend stealer, and in some ways the author of her own misfortunes. That characterization diminishes the culpability of the teens who bullied her and it makes Bazelon an apologist for their behavior, critics claim.