Another Needless Death: Suicide by Bullying in Massachusetts
A man who was bullied as a teen vents his frustrations at the mean girls who were responsible for Phoebe Price’s suicide in South Hadley, MA, and calls for a hardline approach to bullying.
How many times do I have to hear about these senseless tragedies?
How many times do I have to read in the newspaper or online about some young person being driven to take his or her own life by harassing bullies?
First it was those two eleven-year old boys, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera, hanging themselves after getting savaged by evil kids who took pleasure in abusing them for no good reason about a year ago.
Now we have the tragic suicide of Phoebe Price, a fifteen-year old girl from South Hadley, MA who killed herself this past January after going through months of pure hell, getting harassed with verbal taunts and assaults, physical threats, and vile text messages from a group of classmates just because she briefly dated an ex-boyfriend of one of those mean girls.
When I read about how Phoebe, who emigrated from Ireland to South Hadley, located 90 miles west of Boston, went through a particularly 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 on her way home from school, I wished I could have jumped on a plane and flown to Massachusetts to comfort and protect her from all the abuse.
This was especially the case since like Phoebe, I was bullied during my teen years; I never had anything thrown at me, but I was called names and shunned due to my having Asperger’s Syndrome and behaving differently than the other kids.
I was able to relate and feel her pain because of that.
This young lady’s suicide not only saddened me, it also made me quite angry. It angered me because like those two boys last year, Phoebe was murdered in a sense by those evil girls’ harassment and bullying.
What particularly made me mad was that some people had the gall to actually blame the victim. I read one guy’s online comments in which he implied that Phoebe was weak in hanging herself, that bullying is a part of life and that she should have just toughened up.
At least, that was my understanding of what he said.
It also angered me that Phoebe had been savaged by these girls – who in fairness have been charged with “violating her civil rights with bodily injury resulting” – for several months and South Hadley High School, where they all attended, apparently didn’t do enough to halt the vicious abuse and make sure that the poor girl was never bothered again.
Indeed, the students and faculty at that school need to get on their knees and be exceedingly thankful that Phoebe Price did not get a gun and turn the place into the east coast branch of Columbine High School, becoming the female version of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. It would not have been surprising in the least if she had chosen to go that route.
As such, a hardline needs to be taken against those vile bullies, as with any and all bullies who terrorize those who they see as so-called lesser beings. In addition to their criminal charges, Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins, and the other girl terrorists – which is exactly what they are – need to be taken by the back of their collars and have their sorry selves thrown out of school once and for all; expulsion seems too lenient in this case, actually.
It’s what I would definitely have done if I were the principal at South Hadley, or the superintendent of that school district. Maybe if the powers that be over there had nipped things in the bud and kicked out those foul female murderers at the first sign of trouble, Phoebe would be alive now.
Those pathetic excuses for human beings and disgraces to adolescents may not have put the rope or extension cord around Phoebe’s neck, but they are the reason she is dead.
All of this has convinced me more than ever that unless an absolute zero tolerance policy is enacted by schools against bullying in all forms, whether they be physical, verbal, electronic, or through the internet, I’m afraid that this sort of terror will continue.
Clearly the message that needs to be said here is “Never Again”.
It’s only when that approach is taken by teachers, principals, school board members and parents that bullying, and bullies, will cease to exist for good.
In the meantime, I will add my name to the long list of folks who are sending their sympathies to Phoebe Price’s family. Like too many others before her, she did not need to die.
Rest in peace, Phoebe. I truly hope the conviction and imprisonment of those bullies that drove you to your end will bring justice, and hopefully a sense of vindication, to you and yours.