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Phoebe Prince's suicide shows students were running the island and adults were missing

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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 10:31 AM
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Phoebe Prince's suicide shows students were running the island and adults were missing
Richard Cohen:

It is either significant or merely interesting that William Golding dedicated his classic, "Lord of the Flies," to his mother and father. It is precisely the absence of parents, or any adult actually, that enables the boys of the island to descend into savagery, and it is the sudden appearance of an adult at the end that restores what we would now call law and order. This tale, way before its time, was a precursor to South Hadley (Mass.) High School and the death by suicide of Phoebe Prince (above). It was the only way she could get off the island.

After a lengthy investigation, the district attorney, Elizabeth Scheibel, had nine students arrested on criminal charges. At the same time, she alleged that while the kids had tormented Phoebe to the point where she hanged herself, teachers and administrators were somehow complicit because they knew - or should have known - that Phoebe was being bullied by a coterie of aspiring fascists. Phoebe was a newcomer from Ireland and thus, as anyone with the slightest novelist bent would know, the stranger with no champions, no defenders and, in her mind, no way out.

This appalling story has of course created quite a stir because it is about cruelty, which we do not understand, lack of empathy, which we find frightening, and conformity and coercion. But mostly it is about how little we know our kids, the little beasts who live among us and can sleep with a teddy bear by night and IM a 15-year-old colleen to her death by day. Who are these kids?

You will notice that in all the finger-pointing - the kids, the teachers, the administrators - not a digit is aimed at the parents. Their children are accused of hounding a classmate to death and the parents apparently knew nothing. Not only that, they are somehow not expected to know anything. The teachers are supposed to know what's going on. The principal. Maybe even the school nurse. But the parents? No. They're off the hook.




NY Daily News
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Hestia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 10:37 AM
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1. Excellent article and spot on! Where *were* the parents in all this?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. The parents are often bullies, themselves
and teachers know that the system won't back them up if they confront the child and the parents come in breathing fire.

The system itself has to change because the stupid parents sure as hell won't.

It's obvious the system isn't changing just by the fact that the bullies were suspended and not expelled.
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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. The teachers themselves will be bullied by their principals, and they are
at risk of losing their jobs and their careers, this despite their speech allegedly being protected.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 10:43 AM
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2. Somewhat off topic, but I completely disagree with Cohen about "Lord of the Flies."
It's been a long time, but, if memory serves, when the kids are rescued from the island, the rescue boat has a machine gun mounted on the back. I don't believe that's telling us that the savage instincts of the children will now be "fixed" under adult supervision, but rather than these instincts will be redirected into approved forms of adult savagery.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 10:45 AM
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3. Niall O'Dowd said this a week ago:
http://www.irishcentral.com/story/news/periscope/adults...

Prince's Mother Twice Complained to School Authorities About Bullying:

http://www.irishcentral.com/story/news/periscope/phoebe...

Phoebe Prince's mother was turned away twice after complaints to school authorities that her daughter (pictured above left) was being bullied in school. It also appears staff had far more knowledge of the bullying than they have revealed.

Anne O'Brien Prince went to the school and spoke with authorities there after her daughter came home upset and crying over the taunting and threats she was receiving.

Her mother got no satisfaction however, from school authorities and failed to convince them that her daughter needed far more protection.

The bullying continued with tragic consequences when Phoebe hung herself on January 14th after a particularly bad day of threats and bullying.

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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. A teenager in our family hung herself.
It was about thirty years ago.

She was a junior in high school, unattractive, overweight and very awkward. Her classmates shunned or bullied her. The day she killed herself had been a worse day than usual for her. She had single handedly lost a volleyball game in her p.e. class. She had a huge fight with her mother.

I have often wondered if she was bullied more than people were willing to admit. Other than the volleyball game, bullying was not discussed at the time.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. A lot of this stuff came up with Britain's anti-bullying campaign that started last Fall
that's when Susan Boyle talked about being regularly hit with a belt by teachers and bullied by students. She said music class and church were the only places it didn't happen.

I remember being crushed when I was the 'goat' of a game in junior high. I remember my first day of school in 7th grade - I switched schools mid year and when I was introduced to my new class a guy in the back of the room shouted, "Ugh! She's UGly!" A girl told me she was going to beat the crap out of me after school. What a day.
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