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NOT ANOTHER TEEN SUICIDE: Thoughts On The Death by Bullying in Massachusetts
How many more times must I hear about these tragedies?
How many more times must I read about some young person being compelled to take their own life because of harassment by bullies?
First it was those two middle school boys, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera, hanging themselves in their closets due to their being constantly savaged by evil monsters - I mean kids - who took pleasure in abusing them for no reason about a year ago.
Now we have the suicide of Phoebe Price, a 15-year old girl from South Hadley, MA, 90 miles west of Boston, who killed herself this past January after going through months of being harassed with verbal taunts and assaults, physical threats, and vile text messages from a group of classmates for the unspeakable crime of dating (briefly, no less) an ex-boyfriend of one of those mean girls.
When I read about how Phoebe, who emigrated from Ireland to South Hadley, went through an extreme level of hell on the day she died, including being called an "Irish slut" and "Irish whore" and having a soda can thrown at her, it was all I could do to stop myself from jumping on a plane to Massachusetts to comfort and protect her.
I'm sure she was very disillusioned with how she perceived America and Americans; it was a real nice image of this country to Ireland that those extremely mean girls portrayed.
This was especially since like Phoebe, I suffered from bullies during my formative years; I don't recall having anything thrown at me, but I was called a dork and a geek - among other bad things - and was shunned due to my having Asperger's Syndrome and behaving differently than the other kids.
Because of that, I was able to relate to and feel Phoebe's pain.
This young lady's suicide didn't merely sadden me, it made me flat-out angry.
It angered me because in my view, Phoebe was murdered by those evil girls' harassment and abuse.
What especially ticked me off was that there were some folks that actually had the nerve to blame the victim. I saw one guy's comments on some website where he implied that Phoebe was somehow weak in hanging herself, that bullying is a part of life and she should have been tougher and just dealt with it.
At least, that was my understanding of what that insensitive guy said.
It also royally upset me that this poor girl had been savaged by these little Satans - who in fairness have been charged by the D.A. with violating her civil rights - for several months and South Hadley High, where they all attended, evidently did not do enough to halt the viciousness and rescue her from those Lady Voldemorts.
The students and faculty at that New England school need to get down on their knees and thank the good Lord in Heaven that Phoebe Price didn't bring a gun to their campus and turn the place into the northeastern branch of Columbine High School, becoming the female version of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. It wouldn't have been at all surprising if she had chosen that path.
It is painfully clear that an absolute hardline not only must be taken against those vile bullies, but any and all children who terrorize those who they perceive as so-called lesser beings. In addition to those criminal charges filed against them, Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins, and the other terrorists - which is what they are - need to be taken by the scuff of their necks and have their sorry butts thrown out of school once and for all.
Actually, expulsion somehow seems too lenient for them; what they did was that unforgivable.
Permanently expelling those girls was what I definitely would have done if I were the principal at South Hadley or the superintendent of that district. Perhaps if the those powers that be had nipped the bullying in the bud and booted out those foul teen murderers at the first sign of trouble, Phoebe would still be with us today.
Those disgraces to adolescence and pathetic excuses for young human beings may not have tied the extension cord or rope around Phoebe's neck and put her in that closet, but they are the reason she is dead.
More than ever, this has convinced me that unless a compete zero tolerance policy is enacted by schools against harassment and bullying in all forms, whether it is verbal, physical, or through texting or the internet, I am afraid that this form of terrorism will continue.
The message that needs to be sent here is, "Never Again".
Only when that approach is taken by school board members, administrators, teachers and parents will bullies and bullying will cease for good.
Meanwhile, I am adding my name to the long list of people who have sent their condolences and prayers to the Price family for their tragic loss. Like far too may others before her, Phoebe didn't have to die.
Rest in peace, sweetie. May the conviction and hopefully longtime imprisonment of those evildoers who drove you to your end in that closet bring justice, vindication, and peace to you and yours.