Five New England teens are facing criminal charges having bullied a student to the point where she committed herself to a mental health facility.
Carla Carey, the Salen victim’s mother, said “Phoebe Prince's suicide saved my daughter's life."
Prince’s tragic case has changed the way that many schools and parents are viewing adolescent bullying. Prince, an Irish immigrant, committed suicide after she was viciously bullied by six of her schoolmates.
The 16-year-old victim from Salem used language that was frighteningly similar to Prince’s own just before she committed suicide.
Carey said “I learned the warning signs.”
“My daughter said things like, 'I can't go on,' and 'Nobody will help me and nobody can help me'."
Though the harassed teen had been lodging complaints with her school officials in Salem for months none of the incidents could be corroborated.
The situation came to head when Carey overhead a number of phone calls which left her daughter in tears. This coupled with the terrifying language her daughter was using left her mother shaken.
Carey contacted the police and got her daughter into a facility to deal with her “emotional distress” for six days. Though he daughter remains in a very fragile state Carey is extremely happy that she was able to intervene before the worst happened.
Research throughout the United States does not show an increase in teen suicides but this does not mean that teens are not suffering from humiliation and harassment. Teens who are suffering from bullying might want to skip school or school events and may feel isolated.
Psychiatrist Henry J. Gault said “The pain in their lives is horrible. It has to be actively addressed right away that this will not be tolerated."
In the case of the 16-year-old girl from Salem, she had been verbally abused about her appearance and sexual orientation over the past couple of months by a group of teens who had previously bullied her.
Capt. Shawn Patten said “There's a fine line between good natured teenaged teasing and an attack.” He also feels that a positive reaction has come from Prince’s tragic death. People are now thinking about the effects of bullying throughout the country.
Richard Lovette, 17 and four other minors were arrested. Last week, Lovette handed himself into the police. He faces one count of criminal harassment, a misdemeanor and was released on a $300 bail bond. His arraignment will take place next month.
All four others will have their cases heard in juvenile court. The five students have been suspended from school.