A Massachusetts law firm is taking an aggressive stance on school bullying following the suicide of 15-year-old Irish girl Phoebe Prince after bullying from school peers allegedly led her to take her own life last January.
A Worcester based law firm, Abigail Williams & Associates, has been working hard to stop bullying for the past two years and has stepped up its game in recent months.
The firm is offering its services statewide to parents who have been unable to move schoolteachers and administrators to step in on bullying cases.
In a print ad headlined, “Step Up & Stop It: The Commonsense Solution to Bullying,” Williams & Associates promises to help parents of bullied children put the weight of the law behind their efforts to effect change.
“Our firm is formed around a core belief that legal action should help bring about positive change,” the ad reads, noting that recent deaths resulting from school bullying, including the death of Prince, inspired the firm to take action.
The Prince case in South Hadley, which has made national and international news, has provided a wake up call on bullying for many including Williams.
For Williams, the move is about helping families and serving justice. Prior to getting into law, Williams worked as an ER nurse, always motivated by a desire to help others. Taking on bullying, she says, is a natural extension of that.
“This isn’t about making money. This is about making a difference,” Williams said in a press statement.
Prince, from Fanore, Co. Clare, was found dead in her South Hadley home on Thursday, January 14. She hung herself in her bedroom. Prince, who was born in Bedford, England but moved to Co. Clare when she was two, spent most of her life in Ireland.
Last summer Prince relocated to South Hadley, a small town in Western Massachusetts with her mother, Anne O’Brien Prince, and sisters Lauren, Tessa and Bridget and brother Simon, so she could, according to her family, “experience America and be near her family in Massachusetts.”
Prince was a freshman in South Hadley High School since September and was relentlessly bullied by peers for months leading to her death.
Nine teenagers have been charged with various degrees of bullying.