The real villains in the Phoebe Prince suicide are not just be the kids who bullied her but the counselors who failed to act despite knowing her history, even the morning before she did the terrible act.
We now know that Phoebe Prince had a history of cutting herself when at school in Ireland, had a previous attempt at suicide and was clearly deeply depressed.
The bullying at school was certainly taking its toll and she had been cutting herself again.
Her mother Anne O’Brien had given an extensive history of Phoebe’s problems to school administrators.
Yet Eileen Kakley,one of the School Assistance team that helped troubled kids admitted to police that Phoebe Prince’s name had never surfaced when they discussed at risk kids that Fall or in the New Year term.
Principal Daniel Smith also admitted this and told Slate magazine that "Individual support was being provided to Phoebe by the counselor and the nurse. It was happening at that level."
But that same counselor and nurse failed Phoebe too.
On the morning that she died Phoebe, distraught by the bullying had cut herself again, jagged cuts that she was not able to conceal.
Counselor Sally Watson Menkel interviewed her but seemed to take no action other than telling Phoebe’s mother about “our medical and mental concerns,"
Here is a young kid abut to commit suicide that day and the one person who is trained to spot such imminent behavior completely misses the warning signs.
As Robert King, a professor of child psychiatry at Yale told Slate “Did the counselor ask if Phoebe was thinking of hurting herself? Did she ask to talk to Phoebe's therapist?”
The answer, incredibly seems to be no.
A young girl with a history of mental illness, a previous suicide attempt and a well known pattern of being bullied by as many as six people was allowed to walk away to her death.
That is the ultimate indictment of South Hadley High School and the administration there.
Raise a glass to Robert Emmet, the Irish rebel leader executed on this day in 1803