First off, I apologize for being a bad blogger – I’ve been sick with a cruddy cold complements of my kids, but I figured no one wanted to listen to me whine about being sick. Hell, I don’t want to listen to me whine about being sick.
However, I’m about to have a rant. An epic rant.
On January 14th, Phoebe Price, a high school student from Massachusetts hanged herself after suffering three months of intense bullying from classmates.
Phoebe and her family recently emigrated to the US from Ireland and she began attending South Hadley High School. You can read the whole horrible story here. Actually, it’s not the whole story – only Phoebe knows that and clearly, it was enough to kill her.
From all accounts she was tormented in classrooms, in the library and on the way home from school. And if that wasn’t enough, they continued the harassment over Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist. Good to know those kids had all their bases covered. There’s nothing better than organized abuse. Well done, kids. These same kids, btw, have left hateful messages on Phoebe’s memorial page on Facebook. Way to keep it classy, kids.
Even more spectacular is the mom of one of the bullies. She blames the victim for starting it. Right. Let’s blame the dead girl. I just love the blame the victim mentality. Furthermore, she says that her daughter isn’t responsible for Phoebe’s death because her daughter didn’t physically assault Phoebe – only called her names. Yeah, that makes it so much better. We all know that psychological abuse is so much easier to take than physical abuse. Way to be an awesome parent, lady.
Supposedly, this school as an anti-bullying policy. I’m guessing it didn’t work all that well since other students have dropped out of the school because of abuse aimed at them. Phoebe’s mom and other kids’ parents called begging the school for help. A couple kids were suspended, but that was it. Obviously, it didn’t do shit to quell the harassment. According to the articles, teachers and administrators knew exactly what was going on and witnessed a large amount of the bullying. They. Did. Nothing. Witnesses have come forward to say that on the last day of Phoebe’s life, a teacher watched kids harass her in the school library. Watched it and let it continue.
What. The. Fuck?!
Nine of the bullies are being indicted for driving Phoebe to her death. Good.
However, none of the teachers or administrators are being called out on allowing it to happen. Not a one. I think that’s bullshit. Adults are supposed to protect kids – especially, adults in an educational setting. I wish the D.A. would revamp the charges to include teachers and administrators.
I know that bullying has always been a part of school. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve had it happen to me a time or two. But that doesn’t make it okay. Ever.
Ultimately, Phoebe is the one who made the choice to end her life, but I can’t help but think that this situation might have had a different outcome if she’d had some support. I’m not talking about her family – they tried. I’m talking about adults that allowed this behavior to go virtually unchecked. I’m guessing that the internet bullying would have been out of their jurisdiction, but they could have done something about what was taking place in the school itself.
No matter how this ends, Phoebe will still be dead and her family will still be miserable. However, my hope is that by calling national attention to this horror, that kids will think twice about tormenting another kid and that school officials will be swift to act on behalf of those being bullied.