Bullying is a serious problem in the United States. It has always been around on playgrounds, at schools, and in the neighborhood. However, with the widespread use of the Internet, bullying has become more pervasive and yes, virulent. Verbal taunts and physical threats became a way of life for one young immigrant girl.
15-year-old Phoebe Prince was the victim of extreme bullying from her peers. Phoebe, who recently moved South Hadley, MA from Ireland, was bullied by classmates until she hanged herself in January. The bullying was described as relentless and happened in the halls, at school, in the library, in class, via cell phone messages and on the Internet. Nine teenagers have been indicted for the death of this young girl.
According to the New York Times:
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
Of course the tormentors bear the main responsibility for the girl’s death. But are others culpable? How about the parents of those kids? How about the school? How about her friends? Was anyone aware that this was going on? Didn’t some teacher notice that a child was being tortured? How do parents help their children when they are being bullied? This tragedy seems so avoidable.