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Has justice really been done for Phoebe Prince?

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The papers are full at the moment of the idea that justice has been done in the matter of Phoebe Prince's suicide. Criminal charges have been brought against nine teenagers, including statutory rape, violation of civil rights with bodily injury, harassment and stalking.

The New York Times report stated, "The charges were an unusually sharp legal response to the problem of adolescent bullying, which is increasingly conducted in cyberspace as well as in the schoolyard and has drawn growing concern from parents, educators and lawmakers."

But one of the shocking pieces of information to emerge from this tragedy is that school teachers and administrators were indeed aware of the bullying and did little or nothing to prevent it. While Prince lived, the crimes were known about, but went unpunished.

Given that some teachers were already aware of the bullying, what would have happened if Prince had reported it to them? Would they have punished the bullies or reported their activities to the police? And if Prince had gone to the police, would they in turn have brought charges, or seen it as a school problem?

It seems that the main reason why these teenagers have been charged is not because they committed crimes of statutory rape and harassment, but because Prince died.

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