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March 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Making bullies accountable

(CNN) – It appears to be a tragic case of bullying at a Massachusetts high school. Nine teenagers were indicted Monday for allegedly tormenting 15-year-old Phoebe Prince so relentlessly that she committed suicide.

The charges include criminal harassment, stalking, statutory rape and violation of civil rights To dig deeper into the story we were joined on Tuesday's American Morning by Parry Aftab, executive director of Wiredsafety.org.


Filed under: Crime
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Capt Stokes

    Parents are and should be legally responsible for their offsping,; however, recently there seems to be a lack of enforcement of this responsibility by the leal communitiy. If the parents wantto rut out a bunch of hoodlums then they shoud be made to suffer the legal fines and /or imprisionment for their consiquences of their issues' actions

    April 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  2. Monty G

    Years ago, when my son was in 3rd grade he came home obviously disturbed and did not want to go back to school. It took some time, but, I was able to get him to tell me that some students were bullying him. I asked him if he talked to any of the teachers about it. He stated that one of his teachers saw the whole thing and didn't do anything.

    The next day I went to the school and told the administration that I needed to speak to the teacher. When I asked the teacher, she stated that she had seen the incident. I asked her why she did not stop it and punish the bullys. Her answer was that kids have to learn to fight for themselves so that they will be ready for the "real" world. I explained to her that I have taught my son that fighting does not solve problems, it usually makes it worse. She told me that would just make him weak. I then told her that the school policy is to suspend students for fighting. She said that she would not enforce that.

    I told her that if it happens again I would sue her personally and the school. I then talked to the principle and told them everything that was said. After that the teachers were out on the school grounds during recess and lunch breaks and they stopped the bullying, from on campus.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  3. Capt Stokes

    Personally I think it is a "sign of the times". Two parents are engaged in either making a living or finding the wherewithal to do so. As such neither have time for the youngsters. Personally I was at sea most of my children's development, but my rapier tongued wife, ran the household,, was at home when the children came home from school! And if they encountered any bullying she flayed the Principal,, School Board Member,etc., as well as attracting the attention of law enforcement if her children were threatened or bullied in any way
    I believe that if couples are going to have children, one parent should elect to stay home to protect and rear them. And, They should have a sufficient income to care for the family finances.on a single workers'!
    That is what President Obama is attempting to accomplish.

    March 31, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  4. Charlotte W.

    This is a FACT. Children who bully other kids, also bully their parents. They talk back to their parents, they storm out of the room, when their parents tell them to do something. They stay out as late as they want to. They don't respect, their parents, their teachers, or any adult.

    This can usually be STOPPED at home. When a kid tells their parents what they are not going to do, and when they find that they can take control over the adults in the home, they spread it outside of home. They feel entitled to make someone miserable. They have NO fear of their parents, so they want someone to fear them.

    Bullies act out on inner emotions. They are usually unhappy, so they feel justified to make someone unhappy. Their power is in groups. They hang with other unhappy kids, and build an army with them. They boost each other on, and NEVER have compassion for anybody else, who they feel, is not of their equal.

    Stop these kids at home. Don't let them bully you. If they are unruly, then they should face a consequence. It's gotta come from in the home. If a kid is happy at home, he will spread it abroad.

    March 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  5. hldrofhs

    What happen to this girl, is happening in a lot of neighborhoods, around the country, complete families harassed, stalked and torture in their own homes, the psychological torture done by Organized Criminal groups, which the Department of Justice sponsor, with their "neighborhood watch program" "Seed and Weed" among others, have become a very profitable bussiness for this " entities" that call themselves "Agencies". This groups are made of "low lives" "parasites" losers, that happen to live in the "Target individual" neighborhoods, and that includes the teenagers that lives in those neighrborhoods, and they use the same tactics that this teenagers did to this girl, including the "Street theater" that is a major tactic of torture, look for ""Organized Stalking" ingoogle or for electronic harassment, just for education, this is a felony, President Obama has acknowledge of this crime, but he is not doing anything.

    March 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  6. Evan

    Thank you, Thomas I agree. In school most of us were bullied to some extent and made to feel uncomfortable in different situations by our peers, maybe even physically. I would consider it to be an important part of growing up. But when I was a kid there adults to counsel us to give us tools for coping and to offer perspective. The adults had sense of responsibility in teaching life skills, stopping would be bullies before things went to far and turning these situations into learning opportunities for both the bully and the victims.
    For these administrators and teachers to just pass the buck and let these kids just be prosecuted is absurd, where is the a sense of responsibity, do we just not teach our kids any more? Do we just let them get into trouble ( as kids do) and prosecute them without hope of leanring to deal with life.

    March 30, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  7. K. McCarrie

    I had to Endure bullying for a time in school and it changed my life. I was physically and mentally abused and have since been dealing with anger issuse and have even spent time in prisson for them. I think those kids should be held accountable for their actions.

    March 30, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  8. Thomas

    I guess if you think parents have no responsibilities after birth, you can blame lots of things. This bullying happened long before "threats" were made against Congressmen/women. Bullying as been going on since there were schools. Just how they were handled has changed. Not saying it was right or wrong but vice prin. seemed to be the trough guy to handle those who were unruley, remember. Teachers spoke not about "inservice days off" or spring break but assignments and getting grades. Principals actually prowled the halls and look to handle problems before they got to bullying. Did it always work, no, but their were efforts not hiding in the corners hoping nothing bad would happen before they could go home.

    March 30, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  9. Melon

    It's a sad ordeal for all involved.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  10. Lou Heck

    Bullying is a lethal problem, The victem suffers physical and psycological damage, the perpetrators run the risk of violent reaction (ie "Carry"). Almost all states reguard bullying as a crime, yet the victem, the perpetrators are children.

    Bullying seems to be a part of the "pecking order" routeen gone wrong. It is a socialogical, psycological problem and will be controlled by time and money, neither of which is available to schools.

    As a substitute for the time and money, the administation of the schools have come up with such devices as assemblies and written promises. They are burocratic solutions that do not work.

    I wish i could think of something other than intervention (meaning parents have an idea what is going on) and therapy to attack the problem where it lives, in the mind and psychy of the perpetrators

    March 30, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  11. Anne

    Having kids sign a 'no suicide pact' at school merely provides school administrators with something they can wave around to show they did what they could should a suicide occur on their campus.

    If parents ask their child to sign such a pact in conjunction with talking with them about suicide in a loving, supportive way? Anything parents can do to assure their children know they are loved and valued is a good thing.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  12. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    @Tom May, I agree with most of what you are saying. However, regarding the "nasty mongers" being listed and denied will not realistically happen. We need to find a way to discredit them in the eyes of their peers. Stick around, they'll be around. Try to understand what they are saying and ask them simple questions.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  13. Tom May

    I'm wondering if the students are simply copying what they see on TV and Political wars? Like the most recent issue to surface, If we can't buy the vote, lets just shoot the voters! Case in point, threats against our own congressmen and senators. There was a time on public airwaves when we saw the bad guys lose and put to justice but nowadays it's just a blog away from seeing it my way? Power to the (whatever) you feel deserves the power. The child should have been protected much in the way we protect our children against sexual predators. Those nasty hate mongers should be listed and denied the right to use modern communications.

    March 30, 2010 at 8:33 am |