A teen who was exonerated in connection with a Massachusetts classmate’s bullying-related suicide says he’s grateful to her family for asking prosecutors to drop the charge against him, the Associated Press reports. Austin Renaud expressed condolences to 15-year-old Phoebe Prince’s family Thursday and called the case “a very difficult and emotional experience for all involved.” The South Hadley High freshman hanged herself last year after incessant bullying. Five former classmates accepted plea deals last week in their criminal cases……Read More
A graduate of the same Western Massachusetts high school where Phoebe Prince’s death shined a national spotlight on the evils of schoolyard bullying has taken up the cause—and created powerful software to help victims report attacks and give officials the tools to track responses, reports the Boston Herald. “Our product was a direct result of the terrible tragedy that happened to Phoebe Prince,” said Edward Wall, a South Hadley High School grad and founder of Earshot Technologies. The start-up’s software, which costs about $2,200, provides a web-based tool for parents and students to anonymously report incidences of bullying. It also provides schools with a tracking and record-keeping system for responding to the reports. The product, called Behavior Systems, comes seven months after Prince, a 15-year-old freshman at South Hadley High School, committed suicide after months of bullying. Following her death, Massachusetts lawmakers enacted legislation that bans bullying at schools, on school buses, and through electronic devices. It also requires that schools devise plans for students, educators, and parents to report bullying by the end of this year. Wall’s company is providing the software to South Hadley school officials free of charge. Wall’s firm joins other software companies that offer similar products, including Awareity, a Nebraska-based firm, and Orchard Software, a Missouri company……Read More
A teen’s suicide in bucolic Western Massachusetts has resulted in several of her former classmates being charged with crimes ranging from disturbing a school assembly to civil-rights violations, harassment, and statutory rape. And now the school system finds itself at the center of a heated controversy over its response to the ongoing abuse.
Tormented daily at school and online by a group of “mean” girls and boys, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hanged herself in January, just two days before the school’s winter cotillion.
“It appears that Phoebe’s death on Jan. 14 followed a tortuous day for her, in which she was subjected to verbal harassment and threatened physical abuse,’’ said Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel. “The events were not isolated, but the culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally assaultive behavior and threats of physical harm.”…Read More
School officials in South Hadley, Mass., are disputing claims that they had long known about the hazing of a 15-year-old student who committed suicide, reports the New York Times. On one point, everyone agrees: the high school students who taunted and threatened Phoebe Prince for three months, until she hanged herself, deserve to be punished. But acrimony over what school officials knew and how they dealt with the bullying of Prince, 15, has intensified since March 29, when the district attorney announced that nine students who hounded her would face criminal charges. School leaders said the district attorney had gotten it wrong when she said that teachers and officials had long known about the hazing of Prince, a newcomer from Ireland who was relentlessly taunted as an “Irish slut” by some students after she briefly dated a popular senior football star. The district attorney, Elizabeth D. Scheibel, issued a terse statement on April 1 suggesting that the school superintendent did not know the facts. Lending support to the district attorney’s account, some students said in interviews that they had seen teachers witness bullying incidents or had seen a teacher console Prince as she wept. On the day she committed suicide in mid-January, she was seen crying in the nurse’s office, according to students……Read More
Nine teens have been charged in the “unrelenting” bullying of a teenage girl from Ireland who killed herself after being raped and enduring months of torment by classmates in person and online, reports the Associated Press. Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel said 15-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley, Mass., was stalked and harassed nearly constantly from September until she killed herself Jan. 14. The freshman had recently moved to western Massachusetts from Ireland. Six teens—four girls and two boys—face charges including statutory rape, assault, violation of civil rights resulting in injury, criminal harassment, disturbance of a school assembly, and stalking. Three younger girls face delinquency charges. Scheibel said school officials knew about the bullying, but none will face criminal charges. Some students accused of participating in the bullying have been disciplined by the school and will not be returning to classes. The Massachusetts Legislature cited Prince’s death and the apparent suicide of 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover of Springfield last year when members passed anti-bullying legislation earlier this month……Read More
Nine teens have been charged in the “unrelenting” bullying of a teenage girl from Ireland who killed herself after being raped and enduring months of torment by classmates in person and online, a prosecutor said March 29.
Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel said 15-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley was stalked and harassed nearly constantly from September until she killed herself Jan. 14. The freshman had recently moved to western Massachusetts from Ireland.
“The investigation revealed relentless activities directed toward Phoebe to make it impossible for her to stay at school. The bullying for her was intolerable,” Scheibel said.…Read More