UPDATE: Nine students have been indicted on charges ranging from statutory rape to civil rights violations and stalking. It appears that Phoebe may finally get her justice. See update story here.
Her principal called her smart and charming. And a boy had just invited 15-year-old Irish immigrant Phoebe Prince to the winter cotillion, the height of the social season at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts. But then police received a call.
It came from one of Phoebe’s sisters. When cops arrived, they found that the freshman student had hung herself. Two days before the big dance.
A sister found 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hanging in her home
Though they’re not releasing any details, police say she was a victim of cyber-bullying from girls at the school who had an unspecified beef with her over who she was dating.
This wasn’t just any case of high school girls behaving badly toward one another. Phoebe apparently faced an onslaught of bullying via texts, Facebook messages, and in person at the school. Even after her death, the shitty little girls left disparaging messages on a Facebook page created in her memory. (See the memorial page here.)
“Apparently the young woman had been subjected to taunting from her classmates, mostly through the Facebook and text messages, but also in person on at least a couple of occasions,” school superintendent Gus Sayer told the Boston Globe.
Two students have already been suspended, and more could be on their way to discipline.
It was an especially tragic ending for the Prince family. Anne O’Brien Prince and Jeremy Prince had moved from County Clare to Massachusetts with their five kids last year. In Phoebe’s death notice, they said they moved in part so “Phoebe could experience America.”
America, it seems, did not give her a very kind welcome.
UPDATE: It seems Phoebe had the misfortune of running afoul of the popular girls at South Hadley High.
You know them from your own high school: They were the pretty girls who played sports, were in cheerleading, and used their good looks to date all the name-brand jocks.
Phoebe Prince wasn’t one of them. She was a freshman, had just arrived from Ireland. No way she was cool enough. She also had the misfortune of briefly dating a senior football player. The popular girls thought she didn’t know her place.
So they stalked her and called her a slut — to her face, over the phone, on Facebook.
She was walking home the day she died when one of the vile little girls drove past. She chucked an energy drink at Phoebe and threw more insults the Irish girl’s way. Phoebe promptly walked into her house and hanged herself in a closet.
Even after her death, the popular girls wouldn’t let up. They were like some vicious little caricatures of evil from a Lifetime movie.
According to a great column by Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe, a student at South Hadley told a TV reporter that bullying was a common problem at South Hadley High. After the TV crew left, one of the popular girls came up and punched the student in the head for talking on camera.
UPDATE II: South Hadley officials faced a blistering attack last night for their failure to do anything about chronic bullying.
Parents recounted numerous incidents of kids being hounded and harassed, sometimes over multiple-year periods. One man told of how his son was punched in the stomach for befriending another bullied kid. A mom spoke of how her son was punched and had his face written on with magic marker.
Other parents talked about how they were beat up in school in the ’90s. And most seemed to think administrators turned a blind eye to it all. Father Larry Bay said his daughter was bullied last year, but the school did nothing to stop it.
See updated story: Nine Teens Charged with Bullying Phoebe Prince to Death.
and Phoebe Prince was Harassed to Death for Dating Her Tormentors’ Boyfriends.