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HappyOldGuy
30th March 10, 10:35 AM
9 Teenagers Are Charged After Classmate’s Suicide

It is not clear what some students at South Hadley High School expected to achieve by subjecting a freshman to the relentless taunting described by a prosecutor and classmates.
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Certainly not her suicide. And certainly not the multiple felony indictments announced on Monday against several students at the Massachusetts school.

The prosecutor brought charges Monday against nine teenagers, saying their taunting and physical threats were beyond the pale and led the freshman, Phoebe Prince, to hang herself from a stairwell in January.

The charges were an unusually sharp legal response to the problem of adolescent bullying, which is increasingly conducted in cyberspace as well as in the schoolyard and has drawn growing concern from parents, educators and lawmakers.

In the uproar around the suicides of Ms. Prince, 15, and an 11-year-old boy subjected to harassment in nearby Springfield last year, the Massachusetts legislature stepped up work on an anti-bullying law that is now near passage. The law would require school staff members to report suspected incidents and principals to investigate them. It would also demand that schools teach about the dangers of bullying. Forty-one other states have anti-bullying laws of varying strength.

In the Prince case, two boys and four girls, ages 16 to 18, face a different mix of felony charges that include statutory rape, violation of civil rights with bodily injury, harassment, stalking and disturbing a school assembly. Three younger girls have been charged in juvenile court, Elizabeth D. Scheibel, the Northwestern district attorney, said at a news conference in Northampton, Mass.

Appearing with state and local police officials on Monday, Ms. Scheibel said that Ms. Prince’s suicide came after nearly three months of severe taunting and physical threats by a cluster of fellow students.

“The investigation revealed relentless activities directed toward Phoebe to make it impossible for her to stay at school,” Ms. Scheibel said. The conduct of those charged, she said, “far exceeded the limits of normal teenage relationship-related quarrels.”

It was particularly alarming, the district attorney said, that some teachers, administrators and other staff members at the school were aware of the harassment but did not stop it. “The actions or inactions of some adults at the school were troublesome,” Ms. Scheibel said, but did not violate any laws.

Christine Swelko, assistant superintendent for South Hadley Public Schools, said school officials planned to meet with the district attorney this week or next. “We will then review this evidence and particularly the new information which the district attorney’s office has but did not come to light within the investigation conducted by the school,” Ms. Swelko said in a statement.

Ms. Prince’s family had recently moved to the United States from a small town in Ireland, and she entered South Hadley last fall. The taunting started when she had a brief relationship with a popular senior boy; some students reportedly called her an “Irish slut,” knocked books out of her hands and sent her threatening text messages, day after day.

At South Hadley High School, which has about 700 students, most students and teachers refused on Monday to talk about the case. Students waited for parents in the pouring rain and a sports team ran by, with one student telling reporters, “Go away.”

Ashlee Dunn, a 16-year-old sophomore, said she had not known Ms. Prince personally but had heard stories spread about her in the hallways.

“She was new and she was from a different country, and she didn’t really know the school very well,” Ms. Dunn said. “I think that’s probably one reason why they chose Phoebe.”

On Jan. 14, the investigation found, students abused her in the school library, the lunchroom and the hallways and threw a canned drink at her as she walked home. Her sister found her hanging from a stairwell at home, still in her school clothes, at 4:30 p.m.

Some of the students plotted against Ms. Prince on the Internet, using social networking sites, but the main abuse was at school, the prosecutor said.

“The actions of these students were primarily conducted on school grounds during school hours and while school was in session,” Ms. Scheibel said.

Ms. Scheibel declined to provide details about the charges of statutory rape against two boys, but experts said those charges could mean that the boys had sex with Ms. Prince when she was under age.

Legal experts said they were not aware of other cases in which students faced serious criminal charges for harassing a fellow student, but added that the circumstances in this case appeared to be extreme and that juvenile charges were usually kept private.

The Massachusetts House and Senate have passed versions of an anti-bullying law, but disagreement remains on whether all schools will be required to conduct staff training about bullying — a provision in about half the states with such laws and one that is vital, said Robert O. Trestan, Eastern States Civil Rights Counsel of the Anti-Defamation League, which has led the effort for legislation in Massachusetts.

The prospective law, Mr. Trestan said, is aimed at changing school cultures and preventing bullying, but would not label bullying a crime because it is a vague concept. “These indictments tell us that middle school and high school kids are not immune from criminal laws,” he said. “If they violate them in the course of bullying someone, they’ll be held accountable. We don’t need to create a new crime.”

A South Hadley parent, Mitch Brouillard, who said his daughter Rebecca had been bullied by one of the girls charged in Ms. Prince’s death, said he was pleased that charges were brought. One of the students was charged separately in a case involving his daughter.

“My daughter was bullied for three years, and we continually went to the administration and we really got no satisfaction,” Mr. Brouillard said, adding, “I was offered an apology a few weeks ago that they should have handled it differently.”

The school has convened an anti-bullying task force, which met Monday, to help determine how to deal with bullying. “That’s the really clear message we’re trying to send — if you see anything at all, online, through friends, you have to tell us,” said Bill Evans, an administrator leading a group subcommittee.

The task force must also consider whether state law affects existing procedures. “The big question out there is what the legislature will impose on school districts,” Mr. Evans said.

Harvey Silverglate, a lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., who has argued that proposed cyberbullying laws are too vague and a threat to free speech, said that he thought the charges announced Monday would pass legal muster. The sorts of acts of harassment and stalking claimed in the charges were wrong under state law, Mr. Silverglate said, but a question would be whether they were serious enough to constitute criminal violations, as opposed to civil ones.

“There is a higher threshold of proof of outrageous conduct needed to reach the level of a criminal cause of action, in comparison to the lower level of outrageousness needed to prove a civil violation,” he said.

A lawsuit involving another case of high school bullying, in upstate New York, was settled on Monday. A gay teenager had sued the Mohawk Central School District, saying school officials had not protected him.

In the settlement, the district said it would increase staff training to prevent harassment, pay $50,000 to the boy’s family and reimburse the family for counseling, The Associated Press reported. The boy has moved to a different district.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30bully.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Okay, so mostly I wanted to post the title to bug Phrost. But felony charges?
Really?

partyboy
30th March 10, 10:42 AM
Don't you wish for the good ol' days where teenagers killed themselves because they couldn't go off to war?

SFGOON
30th March 10, 10:42 AM
Yeah. Really. I'd love to see some of those little cunts get hanged.

HappyOldGuy
30th March 10, 10:50 AM
Your porn preferences aside, throwing coke on someone is not a felony in any sane world. The relevant teachers and adminstrators of the school should be fired, and the kids should be on suspension, but going for felony charges is just some DA abusing his office.

mrblackmagic
30th March 10, 10:54 AM
And trying to right all the world's wrongs with this one case.

Teenage girls are so mean.

Feryk
30th March 10, 02:10 PM
I'm amazed at how out of touch school administrations can be when it comes to bullying. Everything from a 'oh, it's not really happening HERE' to a 'fuck everyone involved, we are expelling them all including the one being bullied. ZERO tolerance- even if you are a victim'.

When did common sense fly out the window?

TheMightyMcClaw
30th March 10, 02:59 PM
I think this pretty well sums up the issue:

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kxj0ukI2Go1qzpwi0o1_500.gif

Wounded Ronin
30th March 10, 05:56 PM
I always felt that adults didn't take bullying in schools seriously enough. I'm glad that *something* is being done.

WarPhalange
30th March 10, 08:46 PM
Last time I checked, threats of physical harm were illegal. Felony charges? Probably not. But these kids need to realize it is their fault this shit happened.

JohnnyCache
31st March 10, 03:38 AM
Your cherry-picking one innocuous thing out and saying it was no big deal is the exact problem here.

If you're a kid in school right now, you can spend every waking moment being harrassed and people like you dismiss it as a squabble 'mogst the little rascals.

AAAhmed46
31st March 10, 03:50 AM
Your cherry-picking one innocuous thing out and saying it was no big deal is the exact problem here.

If you're a kid in school right now, you can spend every waking moment being harrassed and people like you dismiss it as a squabble 'mogst the little rascals.

I was the target of bullies, usually verbal bullying. But this was when there was no facebook or myspace or MSN(well there was, i just didnt have any)

So it wasnt that bad.

But today, it`s all just retarded. I wish instead of girls hanging themselves, we would have them walk up to another chick and bash her face in. I knew one girl who used to do that in my highschool when chicks called her ugly.

Guess what? They were too scared of her to harass her more. Even when she got her ass kicked, the other girls didn`t think it was worth the trouble.

Problem is, they never try this, or when they do it goes too far.

Sometimes my question mark on my other computer comes out like this: É

What the hell is that supposed to be?(using symbols right now to put in punctuation)

WarPhalange
31st March 10, 09:18 AM
What language is your computer set to? Or more exactly, what keyboard layout?

HappyOldGuy
31st March 10, 11:02 AM
Your cherry-picking one innocuous thing out and saying it was no big deal is the exact problem here.

If you're a kid in school right now, you can spend every waking moment being harrassed and people like you dismiss it as a squabble 'mogst the little rascals.
It is a squabble amongst the little rascals and needs to be dealt with as such. Dealt with, with detentions, suspensions, parent sit downs, and all the other tools school officials have at their disposal, not swept under the rug and ignored.

Using law enforcement is using a sledgehammer to swat a fly. It's the wrong tool for the job, and it is going to inflict collateral damage all out of proportion to the task.

Spade: The Real Snake
31st March 10, 11:19 AM
It is a squabble amongst the little rascals and needs to be dealt with as such. Dealt with, with detentions, suspensions, parent sit downs, and all the other tools school officials have at their disposal, not swept under the rug and ignored.

Using law enforcement is using a sledgehammer to swat a fly. It's the wrong tool for the job, and it is going to inflict collateral damage all out of proportion to the task.

The ham-handed response is such as nobody wants to be plastered on every new station as "The Next Columbine".

HappyOldGuy
31st March 10, 12:03 PM
The ham-handed response is such as nobody wants to be plastered on every new station as "The Next Columbine".
In this case i think it's the next Westerberg (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097493/).

Spade: The Real Snake
31st March 10, 12:24 PM
I will refrain from An Hero comments to ensure I remain free of captivity.

Spade: The Real Snake
31st March 10, 12:25 PM
In its stead I shall say only this:

































ESKIMO

Cullion
31st March 10, 01:20 PM
It's all part of the long term trend towards the average member of the population being a jelly-like bag of easily offended nerves who cannot respond to interpersonal disputes or threats without shrill calls to authority.

Wounded Ronin
31st March 10, 06:19 PM
It's all part of the long term trend towards the average member of the population being a jelly-like bag of easily offended nerves who cannot respond to interpersonal disputes or threats without shrill calls to authority.

You're starting to sound like Michael Savage. Where were the shrill calls to authority in this story? There weren't any, authority only reacted after the girl killed herself. You're just living in your Michael Savage equivalent fantasy world and attributing pre-determined meanings to the things you hear about in the news.

Zendetta
1st April 10, 12:36 AM
Dealt with, with detentions, suspensions, parent sit downs, and all the other tools school officials have at their disposal, not swept under the rug and ignored.

Hahahhahha!

Good one!

AAAhmed46
1st April 10, 12:58 AM
What language is your computer set to? Or more exactly, what keyboard layout?


How do i describe it....

My lap top is better now, switched back to english, so i can ? or do [ again.

But desk top is the same, the question mark comes out as that weird e sign

The spell check is set on english for sure. But i dont think the key board setting is.

Yiktin Voxbane
1st April 10, 01:04 AM
America LOL Yeah !

Ajamil
1st April 10, 01:09 PM
Actually if there had been a call to any type of authority the girl might be alive right now. A bullying hotline, a counselor, I must cynically assume her parents.

I'm not certain though - what attempts were made to get authorities involved?