Luke Gelinas, a friend of the Phoebe Prince’s family, laid into South Hadley school officials in an interview with CNN Thursday morning.
Gelinas, whose son sat next to Phoebe Prince in French class and was the subject of bullying himself, was forthright in his criticism of school officials over the suicide of the Irish teenager.
“It never had to be this way. These administrators had control of the situation from the beginning and they chose not to act. They chose not to act beforehand and they choose not to act now. They are not serving the best interest of their own children, they are serving their own selfish interests,” said Gelinas, who added they should do the respectable thing and step down.
When asked if he believed the school was only made aware of the Phoebe Prince bullying situation one week before her death, Gelinas said that was “preposterous” and that information garnered from school teachers and students that the situation was known for months, as detailed in the DA Elizabeth Scheibel's statement.
“It is absolutely abominable the way they have handled this. All they had to do was to confront the media, be forthright with their information, which they are still not being forthright with, and none of this would have occurred.”
Gelinas didn’t go into the details of his own son’s bullying situation, but went on to say that the condescending treatment of concerned parents who met with school officials after Prince’s death spurred the parents into action
He argued that the school gave the students too much latitude to the bullies, and they took advantage to go to extreme lengths in their abuse of the Irish teenager.
When asked if the parents of those charged in connection with the death of Phoebe should shoulder some of the responsibility, Gelinas said:
“I can only speak for a couple of the families that I have had the privilege over the years of meeting and knowing, and I know that if those parents got a phone call when they were supposed to, way back in November, this would not have happened with their kids. They would have done something about it, but they did not get that phone call."
Gelinas finished up by saying that parents need to be vigilant about how they interact with their kids,
“All I know is that we all, America, Ireland the world, we need to be examples to our kids. When we are around the dinner table, we have to be careful about what we are saying about other people’s children and other people. We have to be an example.”