The school committee chairman for South Hadely, Massachusetts is standing for reelection today and no challengers have emerged even as shockwaves from the bullying-related death of 15 year old Phoebe Prince continue to rock the community.
Committee Chairman Edward J. Biosselle is seeking a second three-year term, just a week after he publicly questioned how District Attorney Elizabeth Schiebel determined that most of the student body knew that Prince was being bullied.
“I don’t know how that’s factually based,” Boisselle told the press. “Did they go interview all 700 kids at the school and found out that more than 300 knew about it? Isn’t that the only way you could tell that they factually knew about it?”
Boisselle did not return calls to speak with the press yesterday. Dale Carey, another candidate, is running unopposed for a seat vacated by committeeman William Adams, who also did not return calls.
Despite Boisselle’s dismissal of Scheibel’s case, South Hadley selectman Chairman John Hine said he is supporting Boiselle's re-election bid. "They’re trying to do their best in terms of dealing with this issue and solving the issues, and unless I hear otherwise, the school committee will continue to have my support,” Hine said.
Nationally recognized bullying expert Barbara Coloroso said administrators failed Prince, an Irish immigrant who withstood brutal harassment before hanging herself in a stairwell at home on January 14.
“Had they had a strong anti-bullying policy in effect that included cyber-bullying, and had they had a policy in place to keep Phoebe safe we would not have a dead girl and there would not be criminal charges,” Coloroso told the press.
“What in the world kind of message does that send if all these people are crying that they want new leadership?” Dawn Berard, a member of the town’s anti-bullying task force, told the press. “As a resident we’re kind of forced to write in someone’s name and hope they get elected.”