The suicide of a 15-year old Massachusetts girl earlier this year is being blamed, in part, on bullying by her peers. Nine teenagers have been charged in the case. Now some are questioning whether school officials should also be held accountable. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.
South Hadley High School student Phoebe Prince took her own life in January. In an unusual move, a Massachusetts District Attorney is charging nine teens with stalking, criminal harassment and assault in the case. Greg Solomon is an assistant online manager for the Springfield Republican. He was a guest on WNPR’s Where We Live.
"People have wanted to see both students held accountable and there’s also been a vocal faction that wants to see school officials, specifically the principal and superintendent held accountable."
Dr. JoAnne Freiberg is a consultant with the Connecticut Department of Education. She says schools have a moral responsibility to create physically, emotionally and intellectually safe learning environments for all children.
"I think it involves training and work at levels. It is the parent piece, but that’s one piece of it. It’s the teacher piece. It’s a counselor piece. It’s the administrative piece. It’s the board of education piece. As well as students."
Educators say they should not be held responsible for cyber-bullying and inappropriate text messaging that takes place off school grounds.
For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.