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Cyberbullying: Phoebe Prince

Updated on April 9, 2019
15-year-old Phoebe Prince who was bullied to death
15-year-old Phoebe Prince who was bullied to death

Phoebe Prince's Story

Phoebe Prince was a 15-year-old girl that attended South Hadley High School in Massachusetts. She was originally from Ireland and had recently moved to Massachusetts. Her principal described her as smart and charming. She was a freshman who didn't quite fit in and dated a senior football player briefly that upset other girls that felt "she didn't know her place." She became a victim of bullying.

Phoebe was bullied in text message, through Facebook messaging, and in person while at school. They stalked her and called her names, such as a slut. The day she died, she was walking home from school and one of the girls drove by throwing an energy drink at Phoebe and yelling insults at the girl. Phoebe went home and hanged herself. A friend of her's who didn't want her name released, said:

"She was being bullied because she was pretty and people were jealous."

Even after Phoebe died, these girls left awful messages on her memorial Facebook page.

After her death, information surfaced saying that administrators didn't take any actions after Phoebe went to them, telling them what was going on at school to her. A day before she died Phoebe told a friend that

"school is almost intolerable".

A night after she died, a candle-light vigil was held by her fellow students.


What About The Bullies?

Parents of South Hadley High School students went to the town's Board of Selectman, to express their concerns of the bullies still being in the school. Their were nine students that were implicated in the bullying of Phoebe. She was virtually hounded by students, "a campaign of tormenting and making her life miserable."

"What kind of signal are we giving kids at school if some of the bullies are still walking the hallways acting proud," said parent Kathleen Keene.

Other parents had different concerns if the bullies were named, like high school senior Steven Grawboski,

"Name and shame these bullies and they will find themselves in the same place that Phoebe was and we will find more families with losing their loved one and more lives torn apart."

As part of the ongoing investigation, police told the local radio station,

"We've subpoenaed records from Facebook, we've subpoenaed web pages from Facebook, hoping to track down perpetrators of some of this criminal threatening."


State representatives stated that their would be criminal charges filed at some point.

Phoebe prince defendents
Phoebe prince defendents

Teenager's Charged

In March 2010, the teenagers responsible for the bullying of Phoebe Prince were taken out of school and indicted on federal charges. At the time, charges like these were unprecedented.

Nine teenagers were charged for their involvement with the suicide of Phoebe Prince. Ashley Longe, Sharon Chanon Velazquez, and Flannery Mullins were all 16 and pleaded not guilty to civil rights violations and criminal harassment. Sean Mulveyhill (17), Austin Renaud (18), and Kayla Narey (17) also entered not guilty pleas.

Two of the nine teenagers charged faced statutory rape charges. All of them faced charges of stalking in addition to violating her civil rights and criminal harassment. School officials were not charged of any crimes even though they admitted to know of the harassment and didn't do anything to help Phoebe.

All of the teenagers were ordered to stay away from the Prince family.

Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel stated everything during the months before her death were,

The culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally assaulting behavior and threats of physical harm widely known among the student body.

Some of the students had been disciplined by the school and weren't expected to return to classes.

The pleas deal turned the felony charges into misdemeanor's and if they completed community service and got their GED, than they wouldn't have a criminal record.

Aftermath of Prince's Suicide

Phoebe's mother spoke out in the courtroom against her daughter's bullies. She broke down emotionally while reading a victim statement in front of the judge.

"Never again will she ask me to read a short story ... or poem she has written," said O'Brien. "Phoebe was a beautiful, intelligent and gregarious daughter with a kind heart able to show compassion for others."


She further addressed the girls former boyfriend Sean Muleyville,

"Had I known the truth I would have viewed his interest in my daughter as predatory. ... Where was his empathy?"

The mother read one of Phoebe's text messages to the court,

"I think Sean condoning this is one of the final nails in my coffin,"


Sean Muleyville didn't even speak in court, nor offered an apology for his actions. She further spoke to Kayla Narey,

"Kayla had an opportunity to be a true leader ... and end Phoebe's torment. ... Kayla Narey is not capable of compassion."


Narey spoke out in court and cried about her responsibility in the death of Phoebe Prince and apologized for her behavior. She looked to be genuinely apologetic, but it was a little late for that to help Phoebe.

"I am ashamed of myself," said Narey. "I'm sorry for all the unkind things I said about you."


"It was my hurt, anger and jealousy that caused my attitude to change after Christmas vacation. That was when I had the chance to be the person I was raised to be. I failed,"


The plea deals were reached to with the agreement of Prince's family. The family wasn't interested in making these teens end up in jail, but to hear a public apology for what they had done. By accepting the deal they have admitted their responsibility publicly and are holding themselves accountable.

There was things said in the media after the tragedy in Mass. and it's allegations are that Phoebe had a mentally unstable past as well as being a bully in Ireland. None of that to me matters and is something used to distract the main incident that resulted in a child's death. I think it also tries to make it look like she deserved it and in no way did she no matter what her mistakes in the past have been. Its the same game they have played with Megan Meier's and also recently Amanda Todd. Fact is bullying is getting worse with intensity with the Internet and social media. Its a problem that needs consequences and kids need protection.

Comments

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  • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

    Abigayle Korinne 

    6 years ago from Plymouth WI

    Thank you for the encouragement. I didn't really know that there were as many as there are. And some we never heard about that had maybe one or two reported news flashes in their town and not a lot of information given to the media...so I am putting a bunch of those in one hub so that they don't get forgotten too.

  • Coolpapa profile image

    Coolpapa 

    6 years ago from Florida

    Great piece, please continue your quest to report on this evil behavior !

  • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

    Abigayle Korinne 

    6 years ago from Plymouth WI

    I understand technology evolves and since we were teenagers, things have done that at light speed. So, if the overall change in children now is these deaths, kids abusing and disrespecting parents and authority and don't fear God. With mental disorders and health on the rise, with less good and more vengeful hatred of humanity and pure evil acts for fun...I am thinking maybe things need to really be re-evalusted. Because our society is crumbling faster than ever and if parents aren't able to even raise kids as these kids run things...its time to decide if we are going to wait until its worse or set up shop and regain our humanity and restrain ourselves and throw away computers and deny kids access and demand laws to keep hateful evil things away from our kids...that this death is not going to be the last its only the beginning.

  • KT Banks profile image

    KT Banks 

    6 years ago from Texas

    How can it be anything, but evil? I don't understand the cruelness and meanness of spirit. I guess that's why God invented Karma.

  • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

    Abigayle Korinne 

    6 years ago from Plymouth WI

    I joined a facebook group defending the memory of the victim Amanda Todd, even more heartbreaking and when all these kids died, trolls online have defaced their facebook memorial pages, they have altered images on pages dedicated to bullying them in death by making fun of these victims. They blame them, and with Amanda Todd they even put the actual picture of the girls boobs that was attributed to her tormenting on these pages. One girl drank bleach and they have bleach images poking fun at her. This isn't freedom of speech. Freedom of speech doesn't interfere with a freedom to pursue life. Facebook page I joined, was to attempt to report all these things to facebook and have them removed. I reported a dozen of inappropriate images and only the ones that were virtually the lowest of the low, evil, hate crime like images and within ten minutes had a reply none of them were removed. Facebook has in my opinion taken a stance that freedom of speech can hinder another's freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness because that's what they are doing for them in death. Their memory is being driven down and can't live on, can't find peace thus happiness for the familes. Freedom's aren't something that these trolls fought for and died for because than they wouldn't be doing it. Life is precious and to mock a child for not being able to live their life without being tormented even in death....is something I could see virtually no one who has seen war or fought to give others rights and defended what our country stands for allowing such behavior. I don't think everything should be taken down. We can express opinions. But there is a time in society we reached where humanity is more over run with cruelty hate and evil...that those that believe that ending their life to be with God who loves them? Isn't so crazy to understand the choice because truthfully in this day in age its torture to be the good one amongst the overwhelming bad as an adult...what is a child to do. Humanity is no longer the humanity that I thought would band together in tragedy...we will when we get attacked at the towers becaused terrorists were the cause so why aren't these people viewed as a form of terrorist. They are just as bad as the people flying planes into buildings because there is no regard anymore for human life. At least in a twisted way those people flying those planes believed it was the right things to do...twisted but what reason is there to troll a dead girl and cause her family such pain...its to be someone that is just doing it to be an evil and hateful purpose. That is more evil.

  • KT Banks profile image

    KT Banks 

    6 years ago from Texas

    This breaks my heart. And makes me angry - in so many ways. Thank you for writing this. I voted it up, and even beautiful, because I think it was beautiful of you to spread her story and help her life mean as much as possible.

    One question I have is, Why does Facebook allow this kind of behavior? They are quick to tackle someone if they make too many friend requests, or dare to try to promote anything (unless they pay for advertising and promotions) so - why can't they keep an eye out for this kind of atrocious behavior?

    I think any kind of Bullying should be a criminal offense with harsh punishments, and kids (people) should be for-warned accordingly.

  • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

    Abigayle Korinne 

    6 years ago from Plymouth WI

    What is interesting that I am finding through looking into all these kiids stories is that the common thread is the lack of things being done in school's. They are taking old approaches to a new age problem. Our educators need some training in how to help this new phase of bullying and maybe with that and awareness, we can find a way to curb these trends.

  • sgbrown profile image

    Sheila Brown 

    6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

    This is an excellent hub! Bullying is truly a horrible crime. Teenage years are hard enough but to add cyber bullying is more than some can take. Schools need to pay more attention to the actions of their students as this is usually where the bullying begins. The parents of the bullys need to be informed and they need to deal with their children. Voting this up and more! :)

  • abbykorinnelee profile imageAUTHOR

    Abigayle Korinne 

    6 years ago from Plymouth WI

    Your welcome, I have a teenager myself now...and I have seen minor issues of bullying already and I immediately told every kid involved I don't condone it and I actually reported it to the school. We have a great school with great laws now here in WI that our school takes seriously and works directly with the police department so I don't see something this extreme happening here. But I do want to tell you that I plan on writing a hub on each child or individual that I find that is in the media, that was in the media and future stories...because each one is unique yet the same and it has to be addressed. Even though its a combination of the information already reported...its yet another arena people get information. I hope you read further hubs on the matter and always feel free to contribute any advice, any information, or any personal stories as I feel those are also important.

  • LQWILLIams profile image

    LQWILLIams 

    6 years ago

    What a sad story. This is such an important topic as bullying is so prevalent in our schools today. Thanks for sharing.

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