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Phoebe Prince

Phoebe Prince’s father pleads with Irish politicians to combat bullying

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Phoebe Prince

The father of tragic bullying victim Phoebe Prince has issued a heartfelt plea to Irish politicians to combat the threat of suicide in his homeland.

Jeremy Prince addressed members of the Irish parliament on the day his daughter would have celebrated her 17th birthday.

Witnesses say members of both Irish houses were visibly upset as the County Clare resident spoke of his 15-year-old daughter’s suicide after she was bullied at school in Massachussetts.

Phoebe’s father urged politicians from all parties to tackle the issue of bullying in Irish schools and ensure that suicide is no longer seen as an option by victims.

Backing the new Safe School project, which would see teachers tracking instances of bullying on a special computer, Prince pleaded with the deputies and senators to urgently provide funds for a nationwide anti-bullying campaign.

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“My family’s ordeal has given me certain insights into how widespread bullying is and how it affects people for decades after they leave school,” said Prince to a gathering of 40 politicians.

“These instances were not just recently, but 10, 20, or 30 years ago, and they were talking about how it is still affecting their whole lives.

“Their educational opportunities, feelings of lack of self-confidence, lack of self-worth and isolation; these are exactly those feelings that lead young people to take their own lives.

“It is a massive, massive social problem and like an iceberg the vast bulk of it is hidden below the surface.”

A supporter of the new National Anti-Bullying Coalition, Prince told the meeting that teachers need to lead the campaign against bullying.

“Using a computer in the staffroom, teachers who witness incidents of aggression could type the aggressor and the victims’ names into a computer program which uses analysis software,” he added.

“This would show up the names of repeat victims and also show up the names of serial aggressors. At this point the parents should be called in.”

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Labor Party deputy Gerald Nash, who had invited Phoebe’s father to address the meeting, described the talk as ‘inspirational’.

Nash said: “To see anyone who has suffered such pain as Jeremy respond in such a positive manner is quite remarkable.

“I’ve been involved with the NABC campaign for some months now and I wanted my colleagues from across all parties to get the opportunity to hear the message.”

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