American Morning

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March 31st, 2010
05:56 AM ET

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Phoebe Prince, 15, who had recently moved from Ireland, committed suicide in January in Massachusetts.
Phoebe Prince, 15, who had recently moved from Ireland, committed suicide in January in Massachusetts.

More students disciplined following girl's suicide

(CNN) - More students have been removed from a Massachusetts school in the investigation of the alleged bullying campaign against a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide, a school official said Tuesday.

Nine students at the school have been charged in what a prosecutor described Monday as a months-long campaign of bullying that led to the suicide in January of Phoebe Prince.

"We have taken disciplinary action with an additional small group of students and they have been removed from the high school," Christine Sweklo, assistant superintendent of South Hadley, Massachusetts, public schools said Tuesday in a news release. She did not provide details on the number of students, their identities or what involvement they might have had in events leading up to the suicide. FULL STORY

Sound off: We want to hear from you about this bullying story. What do you think should happen to people at the school who allegedly let this go by? Join the conversation on today's top stories. Add your comments to the LIVE blog below and we'll read some of them on the show.


Filed under: LIVE Blog
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. American Morning

    Thanks for the comments everyone. See you again tomorrow!

    March 31, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  2. Richard Schultz

    The so called "Christian" malitia group hutaree uses the Bible to justify their means, but they seem to conveniently overlook the words of Jesus in Matt. 26:52...all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  3. Steven

    That was so sad, such a pretty young girl, I have a 19 yr.old daughter and can not even imagine the pain her parents are living with. There are a 1000 ways this could have been avoided, but It just too late now, isnt it? So Sad!! Steve WI.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  4. Michele

    you talk about bullying in schools but what about adults that are bullied. we have two neighbors that have bullied us for 3 years now and the police department does nothing to help us. they have damaged our house, harrassed us while we have company, and shout lewd and obsene remarks while we are outside in our own yard. i feel that students that bully others while in school grow up to be these kind of people

    March 31, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  5. Jeremy

    The students, the parents, and the administration are all partially to blame for this incident. Perhaps the students should be used for anti-bullying efforts within the school district instead of serving jail time. These kids must feel some remorse, and they're still young. If they haven't learned from this experience, then there's no hope for them.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  6. Melon

    To Allen Gross.... BRAVO! Said basically the same thing yesterday and was ambushed and verbally assaulted for it – which I'm sure some will try to shout you down rather than try to understand it.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  7. Cathy Kerbert

    I was made fun of when I was in 1st – 8th grades. I am now over 50 yrs old and the emotional scars have never fully gone away. So when I read about this story, my heart broke for Phoebe, her family, and her friends.

    I am so angry that this keeps going on and it is so much worse now. Kids can be so mean but what these young ADULTS did was criminal and they should go to jail for it. Any faculty that witnessed verbal or physical abuse should also go to jail! This has got to stop!!!

    A message has to be sent to these people that the law will come down on them hard – VERY HARD, for bullying someone.

    I hope that those who were involved in this crime are all charged as adults and go to prison. The faculty who knew about some of these instances also need to pay for this. Teachers need to be given the freedom to discipline as they see fit and when they see any kind of bullying, they need to act immediately. In this case, they all failed Phoebe.

    In some other countries, people are put to death for much less than this.

    Let's make examples of those people and put them in jail where they can think about what they've done – for a long, long time!!

    March 31, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  8. Allen Gross

    I've been sitting here reading through all of these comments and I can honestly say I find it absolutely appalling that so many people are so eager to say that the students and the faculty need to be punished because this kid committed suicide. Suicide is a choice. Just like she could have chose to go to a different school. Or even better seeing how CNN is wasting airtime calling this news she could have called them instead of offing herself. I'm certain that they would have done a great story on rebuilding her self-esteem. Just to give them something to talk about this morning. Now I'm sure that I've probably upset several people, but just ask yourself one question. How many people commit suicide on a daily basis? A simple google search will reveal that every 100 mins a teen will commit suicide. However the only suicide we're hearing about this week happens to be that of a Phoebe. Why is that? It's because she's a loveable girl with a sad story that will make tons of people with nothing better to do glue themselves to their TV's and Computer screens to debate and argue the fates of the people involve. I don't know many people who can say that they've never been bullied before in their entire life. Yet, we're still alive today...How is this possible...It's because suicide is a choice, not the consequences of someone else's actions. However, I'm sure that despite my attempts to appeal to everyone's common sense, these students will still be expelled, people will still lose their jobs, and I'll have to hear about this everyday on the news for several months to a year. All because one girl decided she rather die than deal with the issues in her life. I find this to be absolutely appauling. Bury the girl, leave the kids alone they've learned their lesson, and stop trying to fire the faculty for Phoebe's poor decision making skills. To close this comment out ask yourselves one last question. If one of the teacher kills themselves because they lose their job over this will you blog about that too, or claim that it's justice.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  9. Lisa Crespo

    My son was bullied in the 5th grade. I spoke to his teacher about it but to no avail. After 3 months of this, one day my son came out of school without his jacket on and it was freezing. Right after him came his bully with my son's jacket on. I waited until he made it to his mother and I confronted her and her son. When the mother realized that the jacket he had on was not his, she removed it and gave it back to me. I then took the opportunity to advise her of the bullying situation. To my surprise, she gave him a "whipping" right in front of everyone. The bullying was no longer an issue after that. Sometimes it may be better to go straight to a parent if the school is not giving you any satisfaction.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  10. Melon

    Parents should teach their children not only not to be a bully but to stand up to bullies. Bullies are only bullies to those that allow it to happen.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  11. Mick

    Palin and other GOP that are joining the Tea party are only using them to get themselves elected, if you tea part members actually think that Palin and the other GOP care about your needs you are mistaken and once they are elected it will be buisness as usual and then what will the tea party folks do?

    They stood by the last 8 years while Bush and Chenny ruined this country and stomped all over the constitution and lied to our faces about weapons of mass destruction but all they can worry about is a birth certificate and socialism.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:24 am |
  12. Dan

    Shame on CNN for conferring a false mantle of respectability on the tea party bunch by following them around, and by giving so much serious air time to Sarah Palin. These are both fountains of toxic rhetoric, and would best be left to the likes of Fox News to cover.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  13. deb

    Like R. Nicholas, I was harassed years ago and still bear some mental scars. Fortunately, unlike today's kids, I could escape to my home...the harassment did not spread and follow me via the Internet or cell phone (there were neither). But, that was my only escape – and I KNOW that teachers were aware, yet no one spoke up for me. Beacause of this, I didn't bring it up. If you're a child or teen and you see teachers witness what has occured to you and do nothing – even something small – to help, the humiliation and hurt is reinforced: why would you risk more by confessing your own perceived "weaknesses" to these adults? Teachers and parents need to take the lead on this...reinforce that children need to treat others as they want to be treated! The kids in the S. Hadley case should be disciplined, but they also – *along with their parents* – should be reeducated about how to treat their fellow citizens. Teachers and administrators at the school should also be disciplined and all of them should attend trainig on how to deal with these issues. The same goes for the school in Sprinfield where the 11 y.o. boy took his own life and in every other school where a child has been lost to bullying and harassment. The rest of us? We all need to step up and speak up. When it comesa to the future of our kids, instead of criticizing and shaking our heads, ne need to "put up or shut up."

    March 31, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  14. mawuli honu

    This is one thing I know about America when you're a foriegner you're always treated differently. I face these everyday it is a straggie. I know how she migth felt dealing with all these problems.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  15. karin styck

    We need to teach everyone how to deal with bullies and stop them from bullying .

    March 31, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  16. Karen from SC

    A student who bullies should be expelled for the rest of the year and mandated to attend some psychological treatment along with their parents. They should not be allowed back into school until their psychologist deems that they are no longer a danger to others.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  17. Melon

    Cuz CNN is baised like that to Keith. They fail to report that BOTH the left and right are equally guilty.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  18. Michael James US ARMY RETIRED

    There is no excuse for the lack of intervention on the part of school officials in this case. School officials have an unbleavable attitude that these type of situations are not their problem. My son witnessed ten football players beat up the assistant principal and when I went to the school to find out what was going on the administration denied it ever happened. Students come to school stoned on drugs and it is ignored. The time to hold administrators accountable is here. Fire every staffer that allowed this young girl to be bullied.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  19. Keith

    When introducing the story on paramilitary, why ask if Right is fanning the flame. Why not ask if the left is fanning the flames.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  20. Kent Bonde

    Why is it that whenever there is a school-related incident, the blame automatically gets assigned to the school? What about the parents who are mostly to blame for failing to instill basic moral values, discipline and respect in these kids? CNN and other media sources never seem to tackle the root of the problem, which basically stems from our culture of entitlement and unwilling to shoulder personal responsibility for our actions and those of our children. It is no wonder the is country is failing.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  21. Liz

    Please don't blame the parents yet again. What about the kids who bully their own parents? It's not that the parents have bad parenting skills. Rather, it is the problem that the "law" has taken away our rights to parent. My husband was charged with felony physical abuse and spent a night in jail because he slapped his 15-year-old son's face because the son called the police to punish his dad. The charges were later dropped. But it never should have happened. If we spank, it's physical abuse. If we yell, it's verbal abuse. If we punish, it's emotional abuse. And today's kids know it and use the system against their parents and teachers! They seem to have no fear whatsoever of the consequences because there usually aren't any. It's easier to blame the parents and/or victims. So, the behavior continues.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  22. susan lang

    All the school authorities who witnessed the bullying of Phoebe are accesories to the crime or accomplices before the fact. They created the climate of permissiveness that allowed the criminal acts to occur.

    Without that "standing back" or "standing apart" of school authorities (i.e. "the law"), Phoebe might still be alive today.

    Don't murder, don't gossip (bear false witness)? The law was made for barbarians like these - to include the adults - and was designed to restrain violence, since by all appearances these students had no self-control.

    If there were no laws, even the minimal traffic laws, many of them would be injured or dead. So if they feel like there should be no laws restraining them, they are alive because of the law.

    Someone should ship them off to some country where there are no laws, for a field trip.

    Those students who are still making comments online should be disabused of the thought that they are entertaining that they have a "godlike" status, and are somehow powerful, as they slander this victim. There is something cowardly, rather than powerful, about their actions.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  23. Barbara

    As a person that was bullied, I certainly have an opinion. I was bullied by a TEACHER that then taught, by example, all the students in my class. That followed me through middle and high school. My heart goes out to the families of children that end in suicide. I came very close to this end myself. When parents and people in authority in the schools ignore the problem they ARE responsible for the deaths and the destroyed lives.

    In my case I managed, with the help of a friend, to make it through that period. The teacher was finally discharged 8 years after my abuse due to mental health issues that showed up in continuing to choose a student to bully each year.

    As for me,I became a very strong person that does not care what others think. It freed me from that trap so many people set for themselves in life.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  24. The Red Baron

    Militias are growing? Crazies have been around for years. How does a few of them going overboard mean they are growing in numbers and a threat?

    March 31, 2010 at 8:03 am |
  25. Michael

    The public needs to make up its mind. Unfortunately, school teachers and administrators have to practice defensive teaching. On one hand, parents want to have the school discipline every child but their own; on the other hand, they want the other children held accountable. There will always be "my child" and "that child" and schools need to be able to meet out justice in the "real" school world without fearing lawsuits and negative politically hyped attention. All children need to be protected; when school districts practice selective discipline based on which influencial parents you don't want to offend, districts loose the ability to protect those who are least vulnerable. Give schools the power to create an educational environment that is politically neutral.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  26. Mick

    These punks and adults are guilt of child abuse! Verbal and physical and most defently mental, if a parent did this to their own child they would be arrested faster then you can say doubled standard.
    I say do not throw them in jail, take them out into public and cane them !give them scares to carry for the rest of their lifes to remind them of the crime they did.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  27. Michael

    The public needs to make up its mind. Unfortunately, school teachers and administrators have to practice defensive teachers. On one hand, parents want to have the school discipline every child but their own; on the other hand, they want the other children held accountable. There will always be "my child" and "that child" and schools need to be able to meet out justice in the "real" school world without fearing lawsuits and negative politically hyped attention. All children need to be protected; when school districts practice selective discipline based on which influencial parents you don't want to offend, districts loose the ability to protect those who are least vulnerable. Give schools the power to create an educational environment that is politically neutral.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  28. Franka Baly

    I meant to say girls can be especially vicious.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  29. Angela

    Imagine going to work every day and being subjected to all kinds of physical and mental abuse by your workmates. Imagine everyone else standing by and doing nothing for fear of retribution. Imagine a boss who looks the other way and an HR department that does nothing. Perhaps you can now imagine what this would do to a young girl from another country who only wanted to fit in and be accepted.
    This happened to my own son at school who I believe was only saved by professional councelling. The painful memories of that time have never gone away. We do not allow this to happen in our workplaces. Why on earth should we allow it to happen to the most vulnerable among us? Our children.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  30. Denise

    From my own experience, teachers, principals, superintendents and parents have a basic understanding of bullying. Until one does extensive reseach and understands the dynamics of bullying including the child being bullying, the ones who join in because of fear that they will be bullied and the bully itself, I really don't think they understand.

    I have had different people (including a teacher) tell me that my child should react by physically hurting the bully, until that point, the bullying will continue. However, I chose to research and document incidents that occur to have the situations addressed properly.

    I think it is important to talk to your child and more important, listen, when the child tells you he/she is being picked on.

    I believe every educator should attend bullying workshops and be presented the research of the past 20 years.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  31. cynthia

    My son was bullied when he was younger, and I took control of the situation. I first told him to fight back and make it count. Never start anything, but respond in a way that put a stop to it. He was a gentle person, it took a lot to get him to take action. I suggested he would be rescuing other kids from the same misery. Secondly, since the adults were not providing proper protection, I confronted them for lack of action, and threatened to sue them both personally and as a school. The county would then be responsible for their lack of action as well, putting their personal jobs at risk. The third thing I did was get the names of the parents, contact them personally and inform them hey would also be sued for multiple facets of the situation, making them financially responsible for their lack of discipline of their own children.

    Go check the statistics on teen suicides- the percentage of bullying-induced suicides is shocking. The person who says bullies aren't responsible is uneducated and trying to reduce the responsibility of humans of bad character. The bullying actually creates low self esteem, which can lead to suicide. Bullying actually creates fear and sense of helplessness. Again, lack of consequence for the bullyies fosters more of their badness. They become empowered, as they don't face any derision for their evil behavior.

    My condolences to the families who have experienced this loss. Take charge. Make the PARENTS face fiscal pain, along with the administrators. Money seems to be the only motivator, not any sort of honor code.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:58 am |
  32. Hope Duchaine

    I think that this story is very riveting and sad. A poor innocent girl in her prime of life commits suicide because of ignorant and unfeeling kids. You would think that high school kids would have more brains than to do this to another human being.
    I think that the students should face charges and the school should also face some charges. The facilty has the power to mold young minds not to allow such evil goings-on to take place. The kids didn't just bully her on the web (Facebook should be ashamed to allow this), but they did graphic things to another human being.
    The parents should also face the music., it is their responsibility to make sure that their kids are properly brought up and this includes respecting others who are from different backgrounds and religions.
    My heart goes out to the parents of this innocent soul.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  33. Franka Baly

    I don't understand those individuals that are blaming the young lady for how she felt or saying that no one can make someone do anything they don't want to do. I don't believe that. I think you can be bullied into thinking that you are such a "bad" person that the world would be better without you and that it would make everyone feel bad about hurting you. You just want the pain to end. When you are 15 your sense of self is not fully formed and everything is magnified. You seek approval outside of yourself, from your peers. You are focused on your peers and the relationships that are developed with them. Unfortunately, it can sometimes shape how you feel about yourself, whether you like it or not. Unless your parents are positively reinforcing your self-esteem to counteract what your peers tell you, it can really impact how you feel about yourself. I know because I had this experience when I was 15. If I did not have a strong father who encouraged me to be myself and to be strong, I may have taken the same drastic steps this young lady did. It can really hurt to have everyone against you. Girls can be especially vision. Anyone seen "Mean Girls"?

    March 31, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  34. Mike Fulton

    Forty years ago when I was in middle school, I was harassed and bullied unmercifully by three kids for months.

    My father complained to the principal twice. After the third complaint, the bullies were removed from school. There were no lawyers, no conferences, no interviews. Once the bullies were on the school radar, they watched their behavior toward other students, and they were thrown out of the school.

    Schools can't handle things like this now because everything becomes a federal case to protect the rights of the bullies.

    And I agree with the rest: WHERE WERE THE PARENTS?

    March 31, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  35. R Nicholas

    I'm 62 years old and I still bare themental scares of the bullying I endured. If you haven't been through this you can't understand the isolation and the feeling of hopelessness you feel. The school officials that saw the bullying and chose to do nothing should be held criminally responsible and should be jailed.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  36. Melon

    Cyber "bullying" would seem to be the easy to deal with. TURN OFF THE COMPUTER or block those people.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  37. Steven Hall

    As third generation educator in my family and a teacher for fourteen years, I have seen first hand what bullying does to children. However, what has not been brought up in this discussion are the following facts within the public school system today:
    1. As the social-economic conditions get worse in our society; so does the bullying.
    2. A larger number of school employees are expected to act as parents; not just educators.
    3. When the parents of the bullies are confronted, they often enable and downplay the severity of the behaviors and charges.
    4. Cutbacks in social services within school districts (we have one counselor for 500 kids).
    5. How do schools regulate twitter, face book, e-mail?

    March 31, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  38. Clifton

    Well It not really a matter of how tough the bully is or how tough he isnt the BOTTOM LINE IS SCHOOLS SHOULD HAVE ANIT BULLYING CLASSES PERIOD OR MORE AID FOR THE STUDENTS! I Never said anything about babying students! The Kids should be heavily punished and parents should be even fined for their kids actions because it is somewhat the parents fault for raising them! There is lack of special ed classes for people with mental illnesses or even school tests to detect Bipolar, ADD, ADHD and dyslexia! On the other issue since this issue was brought up in the school i believe the staff should be fired or lose their jobs for not taking the proper steps to remedy certain issues and or even fined as well!

    March 31, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  39. LaKeisha

    I have dealt with bullying first hand with my child. It's not fair for children to have to deal with this type of actions day after day after day. I think that it should first start with dismissing teachers because they are at the center of the problem and do nothing. i know this for a fact because I watched it happen in front of my face. They did nothing one of them even laughed like it was funny. Teachers should have bullying entered into their criteria before they are even able to teach. They need to get a handle on this epidemic, because the next parent may not be so understanding.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  40. The Red Baron

    Nobody can honestly known the bullying that's being talked about unless they've been through it. I went through 5 years of it. I don't know why people are killing themselves over it. But, i know what it's like to be hunted and preyed upon. Hated and targeted.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  41. saglaker

    How can we convince teens that bullying is wrong when they observe the same behavior by adults on television? Name calling, spitting, threats of violence seems to be an approved way for adults to express their rights. We need to be better role models for our children for them to learn to behave like rational adults. Where was the school? Please . . . where were the parents of these bullies? If they didn't know what their children were doing, they should have!

    March 31, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  42. Carmen200

    My daughter has had plenty of bullying in her school life. She tries to do well, but she says the teachers are no help in school. I always wonder where the teachers are when the bullying is going on around my daughter. I am also bullied on the computer, when I comment on these things. So, I feel helpless as a parent. I am treated like a terrorist when I go to the school. How am I supposed to help my kid. And, she is asthmatic.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  43. Blake Hoover

    in my english class in college our term paper is over bullying. it happens to every one but we should not just look at the bullies, but also look at the home life and why did the parent not see ant signs.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  44. Caitlin

    A 17-year-old girl in West Islip, New York hung herself last week because of problems mitigated by cyber bullying. Her parents were trying to get her help, but they weren't able to do enough in time. People have to be held accountable for the horrible things they say. Even after this girl's death, people were logging onto the facebook memorial page and saying terrible things about her.

    Bullies have to be held accountable. They have to understand that their actions have consequences. It shouldn't take suicide for this to come to the national spotlight.

    The story: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/complete-coverage-remembering-alexis-pilkington-1.1830627

    March 31, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  45. linda, conyers ga

    the school administrators who let this horrible hate crime go on should be charged with child cruelty and child endangerment and lose their jobs.

    my daughter was bullied in school and i put her in a private school her senior year.

    i have had administrators lie to me when i went to the school(s) trying to get the bullying stopped. i actually taped administrators lying and still got nowhere in my fight to help my daughter. she was skipping school and failing.

    when she started junior college, my daughter won a calculus math award, was placed on the national honor society list and the national dean's list. she's still a success story.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  46. Jerry M.

    Why do people expect that they can send poorly behaved kids to school and expect teachers and administrators to make them good? If you send bad children to school, they will do bad things there.

    Recall for a moment the story several years ago when a teacher tried to fail many students for cheating and instead of supporting her, the parents ran her out of her job.These things are related.!!

    March 31, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  47. Melon

    AJ apparently was raised the same as me. I was never bullied in school when I was the new kid cuz the first time it was tried on me – I didn't back down and went after the "baddest" bully. Turns out ... he wasn't tough at all.

    People (CJ) are trying to bully others in here for voicing their opinions – perfect example of what happens in schools.

    All schools need a zero tolerance on bullying.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:39 am |
  48. Karrie

    Our child was bullied so badly In 6th grade, he wanted to commit Suicide. We approached the principal, superintendent, and teachers and were told that the kids In question came from good families. Ultimately we moved out of the district to save our son. These school officials should be held accountable.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  49. AJ

    These are high schoolers. The admins and teachers cannot be expected to hold the students' hands the entire school day. Every instance of bullying cannot be caught. It IS going to happen. They can only do so much.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:37 am |
  50. Zach Standley

    i think its disgusting when things like this happens, people don't realise just how much bullying can effect someone. I know from experience, i was suicidal for about a year because of the torment i recieved at school, i was able to get help but obviously others just can't get it and things like this happen. Schools really need to take note of the fact that when a student comes to them because of bully that they need to take notice of it and not just slide it away, its not fair on said student or their family when things like this happen, something needs to be done.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:33 am |
  51. Chad

    For those who believe that that bullying is a normal right of passage and that bullying can not influence someone to take their own life, has never been bullied. Sure, people have the right to choose their friends, but no one has the right to verbally or physically assault a person on a daily basis.Do we allow this type of behavior in the workplace? Do we allow this type of behavior in the home? Then why do we allow it in our schools? To say that bullying is harmless is to be in denial and only advocates this behavior to continue.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  52. linda, conyers ga

    poor phoebe and her family. the school administrators who let this horrible hate crime go on should be charged with child cruelty and child endangerment and lose their jobs.

    my daughter was bullied in school and i put her in a private school her senior year.

    i have had administrators lie to me when i went to the school(s) trying to get the bullying stopped (& to try & get the admin. to put disruptive kids out of class so that students like my daughter could learn & study). i actually taped administrators lying and still got nowhere in my fight to help my daughter. she was skipping school and failing.

    p.s. when she started junior college (where they don't put up with childish/bullish behavior), my daughter won a calculus math award, was placed on the national honor society list and the national dean's list and at 26 is a success in many ways & still loves going to school. she changed her major.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  53. Karen

    I understand that the healthcare field needs more nurses, but as a nurse I have seen too many people become nurses just for the money. They don't really care about the patients.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:30 am |
  54. Rachel S.

    Once again a young person has done something very exterme because of bulling. How long are ADULTS at these schools going to allow the kids pick to on others? Why do schools still BLOW OFF bulling? EVERYONE has a RIGHT to go to school in PEACE. As a victim of bulling, I can tell you it is something that stays with you long after you graduate. I remember when I was 25, I still couldn't walk through large cowards of people because I was afraid I would get called a name or have something thrown at me. I am so sick of these COWARDLY adults at these schools who are more interested in maintaining a firendship with the bullies then standing up for the victims. Talking to the parents of the bullies is always a lost cause. They don't want to believe they kid is "one of those people" so they tend to blame the victim and their parents. Every adult at that school should be charge as well, they are not innocent. They should have protected that young lady. I hope the adult that was in library the last of day of the young lady life can live with themselves knowing their non-protection "save" her, COWARD.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  55. el

    Months long campaign of bullying...tells me how this girl must have suffered terribly. After you are told something over and over, it gets to you, you might even start to believe. So sad humans treat each other they way they do.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  56. AJ

    No, CJ, I was always the person standing up for others. I still am to this day. But my parents raised me to let the BS roll off my back. The bullies should be prosecuted for harassment, but definitely not murder or homicide or any of that other stuff people keep talking about.

    SHE killed HERself. They did not.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:27 am |
  57. April

    What, we're going to have 10 year old felons now?

    Our courts are already overloaded –

    First, take your kids off of the computer-easy way to stop 'cyber bullying'.

    Next, if a kid is a bully at school, make them get escorted from class to class by an adult (parents?) . Doing this will stop the little brats from bullying and let them know it's wrong, not cool.

    Finally, give your kid permission to flatten the bully if that's the only thing that will stop them.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  58. CJ

    The Teachers? What about the PARENTS of these bullies? Why aren't the PARENTS being held accountable for raising bullies?
    I think the Feds should initiate a civil rights investigation and send those scumbags to prison for life. They may not have tied the rope, but they as much pushed her off the chair.

    AJ, you sound like YOU were a bully yourself. I've heard that garbage before.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:19 am |
  59. steven ragsdale

    all of these people are were involved in this 'hate crime' should be prosecuted as adults and sent to prison. the officals of this school, should be fired and civil lawsuits, should be filed against every party
    involved in this case. great work for the district attorney's office, put then all in prison.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  60. michael smith

    I friend of mine was also bullyed @ his high school and he also commite susicide.My friend was only 17 years old when he took his own life. When heard that this happen I want to go after the bulley.
    It's about time that prosecutor go after the bully's, and the politicans of the world should make a new law on bullying.

    Michael Smith
    Peterborough, Ontario Canada

    March 31, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  61. Chad

    What happened to Phoebe is unacceptable. Bullying is a wider issue than America would like to acknowledge. We removed our son from the public school system for the same reason. Luckily our child choose to talk to us about the issue and we had a chance to take action, but for so many children bullying is looked upon as a right of passage and is not taken seriously until the damage is already done. Until laws are put inplace to protect our children this issue will unfortunately continue to occur. Bullying needs to be clasified as a hate crime with serious consequences for those who choose to participate in this kind of behavior.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  62. james B.

    My only problem with all of them being prosecuted, is that 'our' legal system sucks, so not only did this poor girl take her life, now her family will have to fight to put them in jail....it is the American way...

    March 31, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  63. Clifton

    This is very common in schools and I believe that schools should develop anti bullying classes and special classes for mental illnesses! I also believe that teachers and staff should also become more aware of their students and how their reactions are! I'm 28 and survived a self inflicted shotgun wound at 21 and dropped out of school out of the 9th grade all because the school staff thought i just had a behavioral problem which wasnt the case at all! I had a bipolar illness and the schools failed to understand or help aid my case or even try to figure out what exactly my situation was! So i was thrown around like some outcast from different schools to classes! Society has it to where you need more education to become something in life however they lack in understanding their students or attending to their needs!! This is my opinion on how schools are and a little about society .. Thanks

    March 31, 2010 at 7:13 am |
  64. Cynthia

    What in the world is happening to our country. Adults and kids. We can't expect the childdren to act any better when the parents don't really act any better. God's words are being forefilled, and it is so sad.
    When will we ever get the message?

    March 31, 2010 at 7:13 am |
  65. AJ

    I'm sorry that this has happened, but I don't believe that anyone can bully a person to death. No one can MAKE anyone do ANYthing. She must have had poor self confidence to do what she did. That's not the bullies fault. Not everyone will like you. That's life. You just have to move on and do you.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  66. PA

    I feel the staff did not do there job. These children are in their care during the hours that they are in their school. They should be cared for, and looked after as if they were there own children. We are the adults and they are the children. They require our guidence and our understanding regarding right from wrong. The group involved in the bullying should have been dealt with by the school, and the school should have called the authorities. The school staff that neglected to do their job should also punished.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  67. Linda Harris

    I am at a loss that there was no adult intervention regarding the attacks on this lovely young girl. I would expect teachers or administrators to intervene and speak to the families involved. I think the staff at Phoebe's school as well as the parents of the teens doing to bullying all have some accountability.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:09 am |
  68. The Hope Chest

    I'm not sure where to comment, but I wonder if you will ever ciover any otehr part of the country besides the northeast?????

    You do realize there are other parts of the country, right? We've heard enough about the northeast flooding. We don't really care.

    Be reporters for the country, not New York

    March 31, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  69. Carrie Heath

    What an incredibly scary situation. I feel that social media is changing society too fast for us as parents to keep up and teach our children responsibility and compassion while using social media. There is already an affective disconnect with texting, facebooking and other social networking, and kids now are loosing their ability to read body language, facial expressions and other nonverbal cues and truly "egging" each other on with malicious behaviors through the use of texting, myspace and other social media. I have teenagers down to kindergarten, and I worry constantly about the horrendous effect these tools are having on some of their friends and, truthfully, on my kids.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  70. Curchel Smoot

    I think the bullys should be punished but not by jail. The real criminals are the all the adults that witnessed the bullying and allowed it to happen. If kids are allowed to bully other kids at without fear of punishment, they will bully. Fact of life.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  71. Keltick

    I was terrorized from Elementary School through puberty to Sophomore Year in High School. Teachers observed it and did nothing. Reporting to staff, teachers and admins did nothing.

    The ONLY THING that worked, was publicly humiliating the bullies myself in front of his buddies and the popular girls.

    While this action is certainly not legal, it is the only thing that kids can do to save themselves. Parents, on the other hand, do have a legal route. The minute they hear of bullying, they should be on the phone with their attorney and threaten a lawsuit. That is the ONLY THING that parents can do.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:00 am |
  72. plainjane

    @Jaimey : It would be nice if people would not criticize Phoebe for killing herself. I relate to her. I know how she feels, but I have never been bullied to that extent. Unless you have been exactly in her shoes bit by bit and know her hard-wiring and background, none of us have ANY right to judge what she did to herself. She has been victimized enough. Please let her rest in peace. She is now in a better and safer place.

    What a very, very sad story. My heart goes out to both Phoebe, her family, and friends.

    @Kurtis: Just for the record, the US is not the only country where this happens to THIS degree. I lived in Japan for several years. It happens all the same. Massive bullying and rape, and the end result is always suicide. The problem is with other countries is that they are too America-focused and lose sight that problems that occur globally and how these things aren't America-specific.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:56 am |
  73. Kelly

    To Abby who said that Bullying is accepted teenage behaviour must be living on another planet.

    Where I'm from, that is unacceptable behaviour!

    March 31, 2010 at 6:48 am |
  74. Tanaya Wright

    I think that the students involved should be prosecuted. Those students knew right from wrong and they knew what they were doing would cause Phobe pain and hurt. They also had to have really low self esteem if the thought a young pretty girl from another country would be able to steal their boyfriends. I also think that the teachers that were involved in this by knowing what was going on should be reprimanded not just in the school system but criminally. I send all my sympathy and condolences to Phobe's family and I want them to know that they're in my prayers♄.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:45 am |
  75. Janet G.

    Did the schools contact the parents on both or either side of the issues? As the parent of a teacher I know that schools often do all they can. If there's no parental involvement then school personell are very limited in their ability to respond. If there's documentation that the bullies parents were contacted & did nothing then shouldn't those parents be charged ass well as looking at school personell? When did parents abdicate their role in raising children with morals & a conscience to the schools?

    March 31, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  76. Melon

    Just reading half of these posts explains alot as to why American kids are having problems in school. Apparently a large percentage find other thing to occupy their school time other than studying and actually learning anything.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  77. Carol

    I volunteered tutoring in a middle school. I saw student A body slam Student B against a locker. I was right outside a school counselor's office, so I called her into the hall and told her what happened. Her response was to tell student A that he needed to "make an apology" to student B. Student A assaulted Student B, and all faculty did was tell him to apologize! That same counselor claims bullying is down in their school because of programs she implemented. The reality is bullying is not reported because schools do not take strong enough measures when it is reported. The consequences are not significant enough to stop the behaviors.

    Bullying is not limited to schools. Adults bully. Isolating a work colleague because they are "not liked", not including them in office lunches, teasing, messing with things on their desks, etc. are all common. Way too common. And they are bullying.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  78. Kelly

    This a horrible revelation. I'm deeply saddened by this. Such a young life lost because of bullying.
    I've never been bullied but I'm sure it must be traumatic. I grew up in Jamaica and I nor anyone I know had a problem with bullying. Is this a North American thing? Hmmm....

    Its also unbelievable that school authorities knew about this and did NOTHING. They should be fired immediately, IMMEDIATELY!
    The students involved should face the maximum penalties. American law needs to make an example of them.
    Parents, let your children follow this story. The bullies and bullied will learn something.
    Thank you CNN,

    March 31, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  79. Mary Scott

    The School Boards across the Country needs to be Accountable for their Lazy Attitudes about Abuse. I was abused like that in the '70's. The Parents of these kids and the kids themselves need to have Criminal Charges pressed against them. The Principal, & the Faculity should have Criminal Charges because the Knew it was going on, and Chose to Ignore the pain this girl was suffering. Shame on all of them!

    March 31, 2010 at 6:38 am |
  80. Julie Woods Dukes

    Bullying is a form of terrorism and it should be treated as such. Some of the actions bullies take at school would be prosecuted as a felony if they occurred anywhere other than school. Shame on the school staff for condoning this behavior. When my daughter was continuously bullied at her school I moved her to another school. The principal stated I was encouraging her to rum from her problems. Bullying in any setting is against the law. It's terrorism, plain and simple.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:37 am |
  81. Kurtis

    This is a tragedy, this girl was a real sweetheart you can tell by the smile, this is why other countries dislike us because we are rude and mean and disrespectful and it begins from an early age.

    I do have one last thing to say, I remember a time in this country when we were taught to stand up to the bully and not to back down but I guess like every other value in this country we decided that was also a caveman idea and threw it away just like morality, and pride, I belive that some people cant be bargained with and only understand violence and sometimes you cant just back down and cover it up with a smile.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:37 am |
  82. Larry

    I was bullied at the start of high school on the north side of Chicago in 1978 and it continued for a month. Sad to say, the teachers did nothing. I wanted to kill myself and I was terrified of going to school so I simply refused to go. Within another month my mother packed up and we moved to the suburbs, she was fortunate to keep her job in the city. I understand that everyone can't simply move away, but I was very fortunate. I hope Phoebe's death will be a lesson for all the bullies out there and may prevent another death.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:36 am |
  83. Mary Scott

    The parents of those kids, AND the kids themselves should all be tried as adultentss in the criminal system. The Principal and Faculity, should also have criminal actions taken against them. The parents of Ms. Prince informed the School about the harrassments, and the School chose to ignore the situation. The School Boards across the Country need to take a proactive approach to Stop this abuse, and also should have criminal charges because of their Lazy A

    March 31, 2010 at 6:34 am |
  84. Gary

    Go back to health care CNN is the only channel that will tell the truth about and how it is going to help Americans

    March 31, 2010 at 6:31 am |
  85. Mike Perkins

    I applaud the president on opening up drilling but a bit disappointed he has not gone farther. We need to open up inland areas as well. We also need more Wind and Solar power intiatives.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:31 am |
  86. Jaimey Perham

    Very sad story, but it is all too common. Even with adults! Walking down the street the other day, and some stranger in a car out of no where called me a "fat ass." I admit I do need to lose weight, but I suffer from a medical condition, but that is beyond the point. I can handle it, but being a teenager is tough enough as is, and this poor harassed girl didn't deserve all that negative treatment. It's just sad some people think suicide is the only answer because it is not. Anyone reading this who feels they are at rock bottom just realize life is a gift, and you are lucky to be alive, and there are people out there that love and care about you! Its just sometimes they too have their own problems, so they might not show it to you all the time. Tomorrow is a new day. Take it one step at a time, and I guarantee you someday you might not feel perfect, but you just might feel a little better than you did before on that bad day. Have hope!

    Thanks for reading,

    Jaimey Perham
    Bridgeport, CT

    March 31, 2010 at 6:30 am |
  87. John

    I retired after 35 years in law enforcement and during that time saw many tragic deaths but this is just heart breaking. As the days go on I wonder why not one on campus adult is going to be charged with something. They who knew this was going on need to be held responsible. Not knowing the political structure in Massachusetts I don't know if there is a close relationship between the DA's office and the School but even if there were, this has to be addressed.

    Since the participants have been charged with violating Phoebe's civil rights I would argue that the FBI should be called in as violating one's civil rights is a federal crime. They would bring their vast arsenal of investigative tools to bear and reduce the risk of letting adults who are responsible for malfeasance off the legal hook.

    I hear there are now calls for the Superintendent of Schools and the Principal to resign and that's all well and good. If they won't resign they need to be removed.

    Those adults who knew and were on staff had a legal obligation to protect Phoebe even if all they did was call the Police.

    This can't be allowed to fall between the cracks. less

    March 31, 2010 at 6:29 am |
  88. Abby

    While I feel badly for the girl and her family, I hope this does not turn into a witch hunt. The children involved do need to be accountable for their part as well as any faculty members who saw this and did nothing. However, it needs to be known who knew what before action is taken. You don't want to go after any and all faculty who may or may not have heard a single harsh word. Bullying has been a socially frowned upon but accepted part of teen behavior for centuries that we as a society need to stand up to and put an end to now.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:28 am |
  89. Chris Lovett

    I think the off shore drilling is a good thing as long as they place them in the right spots which seems like they are going to try to. It will also create more jobs and bring our dependence of foreign oil down and hopefully gas and oil prices in the US.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:24 am |
  90. John dehart

    The school officials who were involved should be fired ASAP. The parents of the st udents who did the bullying should be held responsible and the bullies should be expelled and charged with a crime. If that were my kid , I will be there holding a sign day and night outside the school. we need to set an example and send a message to kids around our country that bullying is and will not be tollerated anywhere.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:23 am |
  91. Adam

    I don't understand why there are not tougher laws against this kind of harassment in schools in this nation. There have been too many times that this kind of prolonged harassment has ended up in suicide, like this girl who had so much to live for, or other kids that have this kind of thing ends up with them bringing guns to school to kill those other kids. So much loss of life, when will laws be made to prevent this? When will laws be made to make those teachers and other staff do something about this, or lose their jobs working in ANY schools!!

    March 31, 2010 at 6:18 am |
  92. Aldrin

    I am shocked at how Phoebe was treated in her school. As a bullying victim myself, I experienced the pain and trauma of what it is like to be in such environment. I am saddened at how Phoebe ended her life – her future was taken away by those bullies who continually harassed her. Schools should take more stringent measures to protect its students and not simply watch helplessly.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:17 am |
  93. Cynthia Cramer

    The cause is definitely jealousy... I was bullied and my Mother was the one who stopped it... and it was jealous students in my school.
    those involved in the school should be fired and immediately. The students were hurtful and mean and why the educators at that school who allowed it to go on should be punished.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:15 am |
  94. Bob from Houston

    The students should be charged with negligible homicide. I believe that their actions contributed to her death, and that if she wasn't bullied, she might still be alive today.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  95. Melon

    Why weren't these "kids" charged before Phoebe committed suicide?

    March 31, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  96. Katie

    I still don't understand why "high school" students continue to harass others. Does it make them feel good? AWESOME? Does it make them look cool and scary to the rest of the school? She came here, to a new school, to discover a new country, only to find the rudest childish KIDS harassing her constantly. I hope they will get more then getting expelled because they basically committed a murder, except this innocent girl took her own life because of these childish kids doing what they want. Phoebe, may you rest in peace.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:07 am |
  97. carol

    WE JUST HAD THE SAME THING HAPPEN HERE.. WITH THE YOUNG GIRL ENDING UP IN CONFINEMENT RIGHT NOW,...SO SAD LIFE IS SO PRECIOUS...CAROL

    March 31, 2010 at 6:06 am |
  98. Sally, Tampa, Florida

    The Bullys from Massachusetts should receive the maximum sentence as they are to blame for Phoenix Prince's death – they should be punished. . The educators who knew about this should be fired – they should not be teaching as they cannot protect children and are also rsponsible for this terrible, sensless loss of life.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:06 am |