On January 14, 2010 Phoebe Price came home from school and hung herself in a stairwell. Her sister came home and found her.
Nine students ranging in age from 16 to 18 are being charged with various felonies in Phoebe’s death. A recent discussion about this over on MothersClick somewhat sparked my idea to blog about this. While some aren’t sure if charging the teens with felonies is the right solution, other moms are convinced that this is the way to go.
Six of the nine are pleading not guilty.
I thought about this and read the NY Times article that sparked the debate. The felonies range from violating civil liberties to statutory rape.
RAPE. Let’s just be clear about this. THAT. IS. A. FELONY. Anyone who thinks that the two 18 year old males charged with this are being wrongly charged need to click away now because you’re not going to like the rest of this post.
As for the rest of you, thanks and stick around; I’m going to get very UN-Politically Correct.
You can read about the charges and even a story that Good Morning America did earlier this week. That story was the deciding factor in handing out my Guilty Parent Award (which is long overdue, by the way).
I don’t want to hand out this award to the entire school. Actually what needs to be done is to have multiple awards handed out and hopefully, you’ll agree with me. This is the first time I’m actually considering taking up a donation and having awards ACTUALLY MADE AND SHIPPED somewhere. This pisses me off THAT MUCH.
This entire story angers me on so many levels. I agree with those on our MothersClick forum that stated that the felonies should stand. I further agree and have no sympathy whatsoever for one of the accused bullies or her family, who are now seeking sympathy it seems through a statement made by their lawyer, as she is now becoming the victim of harassment herself.
Colin Keefe, an attorney for one of the suspects, said his client, Sharon Velazquez, 16, had been “tried and convicted unfairly by the general public.
“This is someone who could be your next door neighbor, it could be your daughter,” he said.
Keefe said his client is now the focus of threats herself.
“She has been receiving significant harassment over the Internet and in other ways,” he said. “My client and her family are very concerned for their overall well-being.”
In my opinion, if you’re going to raise a child to be so cruel and intimidating that it causes another human being to take their own life, your kid deserves everything they get. It disturbs me that this family is now concerned for “their own well being”… Yes. You probably should be. (Phoebe and her family were concerned for HER well-being too). Your daughter taunted, harassed, and acted unforgivably to another human being. Why should anyone have pity on what she’s going through? Let her feel what it’s like to be in Phoebe’s shoes for a bit. Phoebe died because of this girl’s actions. I can’t take pity on that. You don’t want me to get started on the statement “This is someone who could be your next door neighbor, it could be your daughter”. Guess what? Phoebe was someone’s neighbor and daughter too.
I have another thought on that statement, mostly along the lines of thank god this bully isn’t my neighbor…. but I will keep the rest of that to myself.
That’s one Guilty Parent award that should be handed out.
The teachers and administrators that KNEW about the bullying but ignored it are getting the BIGGEST GUILTY PARENT AWARD I can hand out. It’s GINORMOUS. You’ll need one of those semi trucks that move houses to come get it. If you read the NY Times report that I linked to, you’ll see that the vast majority of the bullying took place on school grounds. Even in our bassackwards country town we have rules against harassment and bullying so I’m curious to know what South Hadley High School’s handbook says about bullying. Can someone please get me a copy of that? It seems like the only thing it might be good for is bathroom reading material… or toilet paper. You choose.
I don’t know what frustrates me the most; the fact that some teachers and administrators were aware, the fact that Phoebe’s family went to the school and asked for help, the fact that this was not the FIRST TIME that someone was being bullied and the school knew and didn’t act, or the fact that no teachers or administrators have been put on leave, fired, or being held legally responsible for their ignorance and lack of involvement in this situation.
Let’s recap; A 15 year old student died. Because of actions that occurred at YOUR SCHOOL.
Multiple ball dropping here people. MULTIPLE. I do know one thing for sure. I will never move to South Hadley and enroll my kids in their school district. It’s clear that they don’t value a student’s life enough to enforce any anti-harassment rules they have.
Another thing that I can’t wrap my brain around when it comes to the school’s involvement is why they waited until after Phoebe’s death to expel three of the students. That seems so very late to the party doesn’t it? I mean it clearly was not a priority for the school while the bullying was going on, so why now?
OH I KNOW… So they can LOOK like they are taking the rest of the student body’s safety into consideration, right?
Lastly, I need to hand out awards to the parents of the teenagers who drove this girl to her death. Because clearly they’ve done such a FANFREAKINTASTIC JOB at parenting that they need to be awarded for it. No, really. They do. Moms and dads, throw out your “Parent Of The Year Award” because you’re going to need room on your mantle for the wonderful trophy I’m having made up especially for you.
Ok… hang on. I can’t go too tough on these parents can I? I mean it’s not their fault that their kids didn’t learn sympathy, empathy, kindness, or even the Golden Rule right? I mean, it’s the school’s fault. It’s society’s fault. It’s the media’s fault for cramming violent television, music and video games down their throats right?
Crap. I don’t buy it. Like I said… Giant Guilty Parent Award waiting for them to be picked up. Or we can ship. Either way, let’s get it to them. MmK?