Read more: Bully writes ‘accomplished’ on Phoebe Prince’s Facebook page on day of death
On January 14, 2010, County Clare student Phoebe Prince committed suicide after an alleged barrage of bullying in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Nearly one year on her family are calling for a greater awareness about teenage suicide.
Speaking to ABC news Eileen Moore, Phoebe’s aunt said “I think the truest justice for Phoebe is to speak out on her behalf against the despair and the pain that our children are holding inside and to make it better ... for another child…I don't have the answers, I just know we have a crisis and we need to do something."
She said “Our children are in desperate pain…We're not listening, we're not hearing their pain, we need to start an active conversation."
Phoebe and her family had only recently moved to South Hadley from Ireland. She was found dead in her family home. Friends and family came forward after her death to describe the torment she endured.
Kate Broderick, Phoebe’s friend said “A lot people just would always like taunt and tease her, just call her names." Phoebe was bullied via text messages and harassment on social networking sites such as Facebook as well as being shouted at school and in the street.
This July, Anne O'Brien Prince and William Allan Jeremy Prince filed a discrimination suit against the South Hadley Public School. They claimed that they “failed to adequately address or remedy the harassing conduct of the school's students, which had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with Phoebe's education by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating and sexually offensive educational environment." They settled outside court.
The document cited incidents when Vice Principal William Evans learned of multiple acts of bullying and failed to follow disciplinary procedures. Officials from the school have always maintained that they acted in accordance with school policy and could not have prevented her suicide.
Six former South Hadley High School students are awaiting trial. The could stand to serve up to 10 years in prison. The charges against them range from harassment to rape.