March 30, 2010

Bullied to Death?

Posted: 05:55 PM ET


By Kevin Cullen

Like a lot of kids her age, Phoebe Prince was a swan, always beautiful and sometimes awkward.

Last fall, she moved from Ireland into western Massachusetts, a new town, a new high school, a new country, a new culture. She was 15, when all that matters is being liked and wearing the right clothes and just fitting in.

She was a freshman and she had a brief fling with a senior, a football player, and for this she became the target of the Mean Girls, who decided then and there that Phoebe didn’t know her place and that Phoebe would pay.

Kids can be mean, but the Mean Girls took it to another level, according to students and parents. They followed Phoebe around, calling her a slut. When they wanted to be more specific, they called her an Irish slut.

The name-calling, the stalking, the intimidation was relentless.

Ten days ago, Phoebe was walking home from school when one of the Mean Girls drove by in a car. An insult and an energy drink can came flying out the car window in Phoebe’s direction.

Phoebe kept walking, past the abuse, past the can, past the white picket fence, into her house. Then she walked into a closet and hanged herself. Her 12-year-old sister found her.


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LacrosseMom   March 30th, 2010 7:38 pm ET

Such a tragedy. May Phoebe rest in peace, and may the Lord comfort her loved ones!

Please punish the bullies to the full extent of the law. And hold accountable the administration of the school that stood by and did nothing!

Expat American   March 30th, 2010 8:23 pm ET

Sadly – sometimes this 'Mean Girl' behavior doesn't end. This group, mob mentality often time persists and is found among groups of grown women. Cowards only act as a group and these 'Mean Girls' become grown women who live their whole lives as if they were still in High School.

The saddest part is the Ms. Prince does not have the chance to see that life is so much more than High School.

My thoughts are with her family. May her bullies face justice, either through the legal system or through their own families and children one day.

Miriam   March 30th, 2010 9:15 pm ET

I am so sickened that this lovely young lady took her own life because of the brutality of these other students. These young adults should be be tried and the school officials need to be held accountable as well.
Where are these parents of these disturbed teens and what have they taught or not taught their children.?
The schools throughout this country have become breeding grounds for bullies and the adults and school administrators seem to be afraid of the students and the parents. The schools today are so worried about passing state test there should be more instruction to the students starting at an early years about what treating your fellow friends and students with the respect and caring that they would like.

Patricia White   March 30th, 2010 9:17 pm ET

Good evening Larry,

I have only one comment, one point to make. Bullying has been tolerated and even encouraged for years, and if good people do nothing, pretend that there is nothing to do about it, things like this will continue to happen. Unfortunately big business seems to thrive on the bullying talents learned in the playgrounds and schools and it has been a territorial battle that has raged on far, far too long. We need to redefine accountability. We need to define what is acceptable in our society because when we say we want the best for the children...with this left unchecked in every school and playground, can we really mean it??? It hurts everyone. I truly hope that much needed change comes of this.


Jillonne   March 30th, 2010 9:36 pm ET

I am convinced that bullying led to the problems that my 17 yr old daughter is experiencing now as having bipolar disorder with psychotic tendencies. She experiences hallucinations and has suicidal thoughts at times. While she is in therapy and undergoing treatment, she was bullied early in high school relentlessly and I did get involved by pursuing the matter with her principal and dean and the school and afterward she assured me that the bullying had stopped. I know that the schools don't want to get involved in this, but they seriously need to and get control of it or we WILL lose more loved ones or have the same thing that happened to my baby happen to more kids. Step it up, schools out there! My father was a school administrator for 30 years in our district and I know that if he were alive today, that there is no way that he would tolerate it in his school district!

Hugh in California   March 30th, 2010 10:16 pm ET

When you have faculty working in high schools who have been former bullies themselves they'll more than likely ignore it. Such is not always the case no doubt, but until state government mandates stronger enforcement against this deplorable behavior and increase the penalty against students who participate in it, and remove adult personnel from schools who fail in their duties to correct such behavior the problem will continue to exist. Students who have to learn to deal with bullies is not a part of growing up, it's a problem of students being abused by other students who have developed disturbing anti-social behavior and the problem should be dealt with as such.

Evelyn   March 30th, 2010 10:21 pm ET

My nephew was seriously bullied in a high school in Florida for months. After complaining and writing letters, my sister simply took him out of school and demanded that the school provide a tutor. When the school board investigated this, the story came out and the school had to deal with the aggressors.

A. Smith, Oregon   March 31st, 2010 12:20 am ET

How many young innocent children committed suicide after being repeatedly raped and sodomized while under the care of Vatican Clergy?

CNN Staffers have the resources to find out how many children that were raped and sodomized by the Vatican Clergy, went on and took their own lives as a result of that horrific experience that shattered their young innocent lives.

rosegarden   March 31st, 2010 12:36 am ET

The school announced this evening that the two bullies were expelled from school, they should have sent to jail. According to the news above, they have no remorse for their deeds that took away someone else's life. If I were the parent of the victim I would have sued the school, and their parents for negligence.

Bully should be a crime, whoever committed this crime should send to jail regardless the age. Children go to school for learning not being bullied or bullying others.

Truth   March 31st, 2010 3:31 am ET

No one can be surprised...extrememly sad story

Bullying in this country and worldwide is rampant

Sexual abuse is bullying,,,Corporate bullying,Office bullying, political bullying,

I fully understand this victim's plight

After 25 years of owning a property, my business and home, a larger corp moved in nest door

The men were using and delaing drugs and expelling caustic dangerous fumes

They attempted to force us to deal drugs on our property and business

Death and rapes threats were constant and vile

Finally moved out and fell intro depression...I know exactly how this teteen felt...the constant and dangerous situation can be overwhelming...there seems to be no way to get away from the perpetrators...then the legal system continues the feelings with the defense attorneys revictimizing the innocent

In the US, there is no peace as the bullies always heighten the danger

BTW teachers are also bullied by students constantly. In the US teachers are hit, pushed, shoved, shot, etc.

Try reporting something like this to the administrators who also bully the teachers. Only so much can be done in today's schools as the public school student population can be vile also...very few
want to stand up and make themselves the next target

Try reporting anyone today...see what happens

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 31st, 2010 6:31 am ET

So sorry to hear of this sad and shocking story. I don't think schools are innocent, safe places anymore. It sounds like a battlefield out there. The young people nowadays can be really vicious. Like wild animals and worse. What is the world coming to I wonder.

Birds of a feather flock together. These bullies sound like a bunch of psychos who need serious help or punishment. But no wait.......karma will bite them in their miserable, cowardly, sorry arses one day.

Fitting quote from the bible......Colossians Chapter 3, Verse 25......"Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism".

They should all be hunted down and thrown out of the school and dealt to severely. Don't need these type of bad apples there to spoil it for others. The cowards will probably hide behind one another.

There is another timely passage in the Bible that predicts ........

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.......having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them".........(2 TIMOTHY Chapter 3, Verses 1 to 5 – Godlessness In The Last Days).

I wish she was taken out of the school earlier, before it got to this. Condolences to her family and friends. May God give you all the strength to bear this tragedy.

Stacey   March 31st, 2010 9:31 am ET

This sickens me, saddness, and pisses me off... These three Mean Girls, that's what they are calling them, no hunny these three girls are just jealous, and can't get people to like or respect them unless their fist is in another person's face... They are just three little insecure teenagers.... They are not God and they do not run that school or city... People need to start standing up to them, they need a real big dose of reality... A child, yes that is what Phoebe was a child killed herself because of these three girls tortured her and they go around thinking it is a joke... Going on facebook and mocking her death.... It's sicken... This girls are not going to be laughing when they are handcuffed and thrown in the back of a police car... Because they are just as gulity as if they hung Phoebe themselves... Just because they was not there when it happened, does not mean they are not at fault... And the people the turned the other cheek should be ashamed of themselves... Phoebe did not have to die, she could have been saved... And her 12 year old sister found her, another child... Not only have they ruined Phoebes life, but her 12 year old sister is going to remember finding her sister hanging dead... Her mother and father have lost their child... These three girls are heartless.... Remember what goes around comes around... Justice will, must be served for Phoebe.... My condolences to Phoebe's family, my she rest in peace....

Expat American   March 31st, 2010 10:29 am ET

The parents of these girl bullies...especially the mothers should be proud that their daughters are such intelligent, accomplished, mature, young women. I am sure that the girls involved have been taught that if you are a young female, pretty and popular than you don’t have to account for your actions.

The parents of these bullies (if they are still minors) should be held equally accountable – they are responsible for bringing these 'Mean Girls' into the world.

Pheobe Prince would still be alive if not for the existence of her tormentors.

Bring out the knives and make them pay.

Lastly, many adults in that school need to be looking for a job...a small price to pay for having done nothing for such a long time.

Vallary   March 31st, 2010 11:32 am ET

I sick of these stories in the news. I really am. People need to stand up to this trash and stop it. The school should be handle accountable for this. They were told. Kids need to know and be shown this isn't right to treat people this way. And stop getting away with it.

Gerald Jolly   March 31st, 2010 1:28 pm ET

School yard bullies are the direct result of parents that are COWARDS they have no spine and are unable to deal with their own problems and glorify themselves at the expense of causing their PUNK KIDS to behave in a PUNK FASHION.

As they say.


lola   March 31st, 2010 2:12 pm ET

Unfortunately, everyone failed this poor girl. administrators, teachers, parents, and yes, even her own parents and family. Wasn't anyone listening to her heartache and pain? This is such a tragedy on so many levels. Bullying must be taken more seriously and stopped IMMEDIATELY before it gets out of hand. Bullies should be expelled from school, period. Zero tolerance.

jeff   April 30th, 2010 12:47 am ET

this is very sad. it turns my stomache in a way. but i think this girl shouldnt have killed herself.
i was brutally bullied for 8 years strait, with no stop and i didnt end up killing myself. now i actually stick up for people that are bullied. being bullied took my childhood away and forced me to grow up a lot faster and mature more rapidly. now people hate me because im outspoken and i dont let people bully me anymore. it has to be stopped but not at the cost of lives, not by killing yourself. its hard but find the strength in yourself to resist temptation of ending it. thats the short way out, the easy road and it just shows the ones that are bullieing you that they are right about you. dont give them that satisfaction! they are the scum, not you!

mary   September 30th, 2010 11:40 am ET

that is so sad the bullying needs to stop

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