From The Springfield Republican: Less than six months after the suicide of a 15-year-old high school student, the South Hadley (Mass.) School Committee has approved an anti-bullying policy. The policy is contained in a 62-page report compiled by the town's Anti-Bullying Task Force. It contains suggestions for programs and administrative procedures to help the school system deal with the problem of bullying.
FROM JUNE 2010...from The Boston Globe: Nearly six months after the suicide of student Phoebe Prince in South Hadley, Mass., the town is moving to overhaul its antibullying policy. A task force has submitted its final report to the School Committee, calling for new reporting guidelines and new programs, including an electronic system that would enable students to anonymously alert teachers of bullying. Day-to-day policy changes would include documenting all bullying reports and and notifying parents within one day of any incident. Prince hanged herself in January after allegedly enduring relentless harassment from fellow students. Six teens have been charged with crimes in connection with actions that preceded the girl's suicide. FROM APRIL 2010....from The Boston Globe: South Hadley (Mass.) schools have drafted a new antibullying policy that requires all staff members to report “any bullying they see or learn about’’ and pledges to “promptly and reasonably’’ investigate any allegation of harassment. The new policy comes three months after 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, the target of relentless harassment by two groups of students at South Hadley High School, hanged herself. Six former students at the school face felony charges in connection with her death, and school administrators have come under heavy criticism for not doing more to protect her.
RELATED...from The Baltimore Sun: Three students have been suspended for bullying at Gilmor Elementary in Baltimore after the mother of a third-grade student said her daughter tried to kill herself because she was repeatedly verbally and physically attacked. Administrators deny claims of rampant bullying at the school, but say they take such allegations seriously. Still, some teachers and union officials say there is a culture of student violence at Gilmor that remains unaddressed. The allegations are surfacing amid a national discussion on the responsibility of teachers, students and parents to address harassment in the classroom.
From The Boston Globe: South Hadley (Mass.) schools superintendent Gus Sayer is defending school officials’ handling of the bullying that preceded student Phoebe Prince’s suicide earlier this year. Sayer disputed prosecutors’ assertions that staff and administrators should have done more to intervene, saying that school officials became aware of the bullying of Prince only a week before the 15-year-old Irish immigrant hanged herself. Sayer’s remarks stand in sharp contrast to assertions by Northwest District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel, whose investigation concluded that the harassment was “common knowledge’’ among students, and that certain staff members and administrators were aware of the bullying.
MARCH 2010...from The Boston Globe: Enraged by revelations that staff members at South Hadley (Mass.) High School knew that Phoebe Prince was the target of harassment long before her death, residents and public officials angrily accused the school system of neglecting vulnerable students and are calling on top administrators to resign.
EARLIER from The Boston Globe: Authorities have charged nine teenagers with subjecting 15-year-old South Hadley (Mass.) High School student Phoebe Prince to months of tortuous harassment before she hanged herself in a stairwell at home. The charges range from criminal harassment and civil rights violations to stalking and statutory rape. Prosecutor Elizabeth Scheibel also is faulting officials at the school, saying her investigation determined the girl’s harassment had been "common knowledge." This contradicts administrators’ assertions that they had been unaware of problems until after her death.
OPINION: Finally, an adult in authority in South Hadley has stepped up for Phoebe Prince.