Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Things That Piss Me the Hell Off

First off, I apologize for being a bad blogger - I've been sick with a cruddy cold complements of my kids, but I figured no one wanted to listen to me whine about being sick. Hell, I don't want to listen to me whine about being sick.

However, I'm about to have a rant. An epic rant.

On January 14th, Phoebe Price, a high school student from Massachusetts hanged herself after suffering three months of intense bullying from classmates.


Phoebe Prince

Phoebe and her family recently emigrated to the US from Ireland and she began attending South Hadley High School. You can read the whole horrible story here. Actually, it's not the whole story - only Phoebe knows that and clearly, it was enough to kill her.

From all accounts she was tormented in classrooms, in the library and on the way home from school. And if that wasn't enough, they continued the harassment over Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist. Good to know those kids had all their bases covered. There's nothing better than organized abuse. Well done, kids. These same kids, btw, have left hateful messages on Phoebe's memorial page on Facebook. Way to keep it classy, kids.

Even more spectacular is the mom of one of the bullies. She blames the victim for starting it. Right. Let's blame the dead girl. I just love the blame the victim mentality. Furthermore, she says that her daughter isn't responsible for Phoebe's death because her daughter didn't physically assault Phoebe - only called her names. Yeah, that makes it so much better. We all know that psychological abuse is so much easier to take than physical abuse. Way to be an awesome parent, lady.

Supposedly, this school as an anti-bullying policy. I'm guessing it didn't work all that well since other students have dropped out of the school because of abuse aimed at them. Phoebe's mom and other kids' parents called begging the school for help. A couple kids were suspended, but that was it. Obviously, it didn't do shit to quell the harassment. According to the articles, teachers and administrators knew exactly what was going on and witnessed a large amount of the bullying. They. Did. Nothing. Witnesses have come forward to say that on the last day of Phoebe's life, a teacher watched kids harass her in the school library. Watched it and let it continue.

What. The. Fuck?!

Nine of the bullies are being indicted for driving Phoebe to her death. Good.

However, none of the teachers or administrators are being called out on allowing it to happen. Not a one. I think that's bullshit. Adults are supposed to protect kids - especially, adults in an educational setting. I wish the D.A. would revamp the charges to include teachers and administrators.

I know that bullying has always been a part of school. I've seen it happen and I've had it happen to me a time or two. But that doesn't make it okay. Ever.

Ultimately, Phoebe is the one who made the choice to end her life, but I can't help but think that this situation might have had a different outcome if she'd had some support. I'm not talking about her family - they tried. I'm talking about adults that allowed this behavior to go virtually unchecked. I'm guessing that the internet bullying would have been out of their jurisdiction, but they could have done something about what was taking place in the school itself.

No matter how this ends, Phoebe will still be dead and her family will still be miserable. However, my hope is that by calling national attention to this horror, that kids will think twice about tormenting another kid and that school officials will be swift to act on behalf of those being bullied.

11 comments:

Chris said...

Ugh. The whole thing is just vile. And apparently there were two guys involved, who are charged with statutory rape?!

That poor kid. :(

Genella deGrey said...

Too bad someone can't go under-cover there as a student and kick some serious @$$!

High School Vigilantly Hero - the next Twilight.

If you are good at writing YA (because I am SO NOT) please teach the kids to stand up for themselves through books. I think this is a great idea.

G.

Genella deGrey said...

Yee-gads. That's *vigilante* hero.

Perhaps I need to sit closer to my computer screen.

ugh.
G.

Regina Carlysle said...

This story had me wanting to scream with rage. When is this shit going to end and what the FUCK is wrong with these kids, parents and teachers????? It seems every day we hear of another victim of bullying and it has to stop. The story I heard on the news yesterday was that she, as the new girl and being very pretty, caught the attention of a popular guy. This gang of girls didn't like that. They terrorized her for it. So yes...they make judgments on appearance (good or bad) and sexual orientation and any other damn stupid thing they get into their heads. This has to stop.

Molly Daniels said...

I saw that too, Chris and Reg...I'm wondering how many kids have to either take their own lives or how many school shootings it will take before SOMEONE 'gets' that policy needs to be changed and people held accountable for doing nothing to stop or prevent it.

Margaret Yang said...

This gives me the rage! Taunting and harrassment is as bad as physical violence and can be worse. The thing is, kids are smart and kids are sneaky. They know that if they touch another kid, it's an instant suspension. However, they can say anything they want without consequence. And so they do. Over and over, as often as they can, until the victim can't take it any more.

I could cry.

Danielle said...

Dude, where the hell were the teachers and administrators when this was happening? Please don't say that they were unaware of what was happening because that's a bunch of bullshit....they know what's going on at their school at all times.
What the hell kind of parenting is going on here when the parents blame the victim and act like its okay for their child to participate in this kind of vile behavior? Wow, way to go mom and dad...way to raise some classy ass children who I'm sure will turn into some classy ass adults.
This case needs to be the wake-up call that all school administrators have concerning bullying so that it stops now.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Okay, where's my baseball bat?

Look, I know about bullying. I was the fat kid with the big mouth and straight A's in grade school. I REALLY know about bullying. Then I had to watch my oldest son, who has Asperger's and a slight physical handicap go through it for 13 years of school. It's...horrible. And yes, one of the favorite games of the bullies is to taunt the victim until the victim can't take anymore and swings first.

I like both of Genella's ideas. 1: use undercover cops. 2: teach kids how to stand up for themselves.

BTW: all the "self esteem" work schools have done in the last few decades? It only seems to improve the egos of the bullies, not the bullied. So STOP it already!

Kris Norris said...

What a sad story. I can only hope some good will eventually come of it.

I don't think there's anything else to add... to sickened to really comment.

hugs,
Kris

Ashley Ladd said...

When my second oldest was 9, a group of bullies used to beat him up physically and call him names every day for months. I reported it to the school, our apartment complex director, and even to the police. One time I caught the boys kicking my son's head. The police laughed at me that I wanted to press charges against 9 and 10 year olds. The parents wouldn't answer their door and talk to us. My son was never the same although he didn't commit suicide. It's terrible. I feel terrible for Phoebe and her family.

Kim said...

I was bullied as a student and my parents never did dick. When it happened to my son I got a lawyer and fought the Michigan school system which is a Joke. They talk no bulling but they never stop it and promote it.
We moved out of state to Florida where this BS is not accepted and we have police officers in our schools to protect our students. Fights are rare and this crap is not allowed. All the states need to do this and All parents need to get involved but they wont. and that is where these problems start, the parents.