The six South Hadley High School students who are being charged over the suicide of, County Clare student, Phoebe Prince, are dealing with their upcoming trial and trying to get on with life as normal.
After months of relentless bullying, 15-year-old, Phoebe Prince, had one bad final day of bullying and found herself unable to cope. She went home to her South Hadley home and killed herself in January of this year.
In March, Northwestern District Attorney, Elizabeth Scheibel, charged the teenagers as adults. The charges against them range from statutory rape, to violation of civil rights, criminal harassment, disturbance of a school assembly and stalking, assault with a deadly weapon and delinquency.
Sean Mulveyhill (18), Sharon Velazquez (17), Austin Renaud (18), Kayla Narey (18), Flannery Mullins (17) and Ashley Longe (17) are all still living in the area, near South Hadley High School, and according to Velazquez's attorney, Colin Keefe, they are now the victims of bullying, of a sort.
Keefe told People magazine "Public disdain and reprimand have run rampant." He said that his own client Velazquez "has and continues to suffer severely on virtually all levels of her life, emotionally, socially, educationally, physically. She has essentially become a social prisoner in her own home."
Currently Velazquez is working towards her GED however the situation has taken its toll on her education. "They won't let her back in school and they won't give her a tutor" said Keefe. "Her mother has been going to school to get her books. She'll have to repeat the year, or a substantial portion of it."
He also added "Even if she is acquitted, she might never recover from the derogatory effects this case has caused." The other five accused appear to be in the same situation.
Flannery Mullins is currently completing her education although no one will say where. Her attorney has said that she has suffered "substantial death threats". Also it is not only the accused students who are suffering but their families too. Flannery's mother Jennifer Mullins, joined the South Hadley High anti-bullying task force but had to leave due to threats.
In August, Ashley Longe, was arrested for drunk driving. She pleaded not guilty. She has completed her GED and is looking for a job.
Sources told People magazine "she is nervous about the charges and wishes [it] never happened." Recently she was run out of a party by a local group of girls.
Austin Renaud has not completed his senior year. Sources say that "he's living in the area, working full-time and dealing with the day-to-day pressures."
Sean Mulyveyhill who according to South Hadley High School sources still wears his Phoebe Prince campaign, purple bracelet. He has lost his college football scholarship and is currently not in school. However he recently attended a football game at the High School to support his old team. According to sources "He is struggling."
Although many, such as Phoebe's father, Jeremy, feel that the charges set against them are severe. These teens situation and the tragic suicide of Phoebe Prince are being used to highlight the issue of bullying in high schools around the U.S. and the world.
In an interview with Slate magazine over the summer Jeremy Prince said "I think the district attorney is setting an example: this behavior will not be tolerated, it is against the law, and the law has consequences. The charges are warranted and should have been brought. That said, I would be opposed to the young people charged in this case being made an example of. There’s a big difference between setting an example and making an example of someone. I don’t want disproportionate punishment."
It is thought that the males accused of statutory rape could receive up to 10 years in prison and the females something slightly less. Now that pre-trial hearings have been completed it is believed that their trial will take place during the beginning of next year.
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