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School officials are backing South Hadley principal Daniel Smith for his action in the Phoebe Prince bullying tragedy.
Schools Superintendent Gus A. Sayer said Wednesday that Smith identified the same students who have been indicted for the fatal bullying of the 15-year-old Irish immigrant.
“What they found seems to corroborate what we found in our school investigation by Dan Smith,” Sayer said.
District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel Monday has indicted six teenagers in the fatal bullying of ninth grader Phoebe and taken out complaints against three juveniles.
Sayer says the D.A. concurred with Smith that there were two groups bullying Phoebe over her dating relationships.
Sayer says Smith first learned of the bullying on Jan. 7 just seven days before Phoebe hanged herself in her family's apartment building.
“The principal acted immediately on that instance and brought an end to bullying by that group,” Sayer said.
Sayer said Smith disciplined two students before Phoebe died and said an unspecified number of students would also be disciplined and would not be returning to school.
However, he would not confirm if those students were expelled.
Scheibel said the bullying, which started in September, had been common knowledge among students, faculty and administrators.
But she would not pinpoint when the school staff became aware saying only that the school district’s behavior was “troubling.”
School Committee Chairman Edward J. Boisselle said they want clarification on the "troubling" reference.
School Committee member William Adams said any school staff who knew of the bullying and failed to take action should be sacked.
“I’m shocked, just shocked,” Adams said.