Editorial: Don’t let bullying happen here

Published 9:45 am Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Wednesday, we told you the story of cyber-bullying that some say led to the suicide of a New York girl.

Today, we want to tell you the story of cyber-bullying in connection with the suicide of a Massachusetts girl.


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Because if you or someone you know doesn’t think bullying — whether online or in person — isn’t a big deal, they have never seen life through the eyes of a teenage victim of bullying. But they could have a son, daughter, sister, brother or cousin become a victim, and perhaps they already have.

Phoebe Prince moved to Massachusetts from Ireland and entered high school last fall as a freshman. The 15-year-old girl had a brief relationship with a popular senior boy, and the taunts began. She was bullied in person, such as knocking books out of her hands and called names, and online at social networking sites and via cell phone text messages.

She hanged herself in a stairwell on Jan. 14.

Nine teenagers now face charges. Several girls are charged with stalking, criminal harassment and violating civil rights. Two boys are charged with statutory rape.

Officials at South Hadley High School were not charged, but they were warned by the district attorney because the harassment had been common knowledge at the school.

Parents also are putting pressure on the school board to replace administrators.

Prince’s family has since moved away.

The cases in Massachusetts and New York are prompting schools to take further looks into bullying.

We urge parents to know their children. Don’t just provide for them, showing love through buying stuff. Rather, spend time with them doing good deeds for other people. Bullies are often kids who lack attention. A little more attention at home will have a ripple effect on the kindness level at school.

And if your child is the victim of bullying, make sure you do your best to get your child into a better daily environment.