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Phoebe Prince's aunt has spoken out on national television about the teenagers tragic death on the eve of what would have been her niece’s 16th birthday.
Eileen Moore said her family are still grasping to come to terms with why the teenager took her own life, after what investigators have described as months of relentless bullying, by her South Hadley High classmates.
“We are doing the best we can and trying to understand,” Eileen Moore said on the "Today" show.
Moore said she “desperately wants to see” Massachusetts schools drafting bullying policies that she hopes will go beyond just phoning parents.
Up until now only a small number of the state's 393 school districts have filed plans to deal with bullying. A new law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in May, school must file comprehensive bullying prevention and intervention plans.
Lawmakers formally adopted the ant-bullying measures after several serious incidents including the death of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince last January.
“We need to also give them resources, give them knowledge, as to where do they move forward with that. And to the child being bullied, we need to do the same thing and to follow up. And to say, these are great support services. There are places where your daughter, your son can express and learn not to hold those feelings in.”
“The person whose child is a bully, for example, the parent may not know what to do with that information,” Moore added.
Moore who lives in South Hadley, helped her sister's family get settled after they immigrated from Ireland.
She believes that school are finding it difficult to grasp the issue of what constitutes bullying.
“How do we explain what is appropriate behavior? When have you crossed the line to being upset or not at someone and to bullying. I think that might be part of the problem, too, defining crossing the line,” she said.
Moore believes that the bullys who taunted her niece right up until the day she took her own life, should be held responsible.
“I think there should always be responsibility for some one's behavior,” she said. “And I think we have to really get in and teach our children what it is when you berate, you belittle, you abuse somebody. We have to do that for person being bullied, not to hold that in, not to take ownership of someone else’s meanness, and to express it, and talk to a trusted adult.”
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