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Phoebe Prince (Phoebe Nora Mary Prince)

Phoebe Prince

Phoebe Prince was born on 24 November 1994 in Bedford, England, United Kingdom, and moved to the seaside community of Fanore in County Clare, Ireland, when she was two. Prince attended Villiers Secondary School, a private school in County Limerick. She immigrated to the U.S. in the autumn of 2009 with her mother and four siblings. Her mother lived in Boston for a few years. Her father, a British national, remained in nearby Lisdoonvarna. Prince was attending South Hadley High School at the time of her death at age 15, on January 14, 2010. Having recently moved to the U.S. from Ireland, Phoebe Prince was taunted and bullied for several weeks by at least two groups of students at South Hadley High School, following disputes with two girls in late December 2009. Her aunt allegedly warned school officials in August 2009, prior to Prince’s enrollment at the school, to watch after Prince, as she was “susceptible” to bullying. Investigations later found that Prince was in fact one of four girls bullying a student in Ireland in a dispute over a relationship with a boy. After the victim of that bullying was moved to another school by her parents, Phoebe wrote a letter of apology which was praised by the victim’s mother, who blamed the bullying on peer pressure and the lack of action by the school authorities.

On January 14, 2010, three of the accused allegedly engaged in persistent taunting and harassment of Phoebe Prince at school, in the library and school auditorium. One of the accused allegedly followed Prince home from school in a friend’s car, threw an empty can at her, and yelled an insult. It was after this final incident that Prince took her own life by hanging herself in the stairwell leading to the second floor of the family apartment. Her body was discovered by her 12-year-old sister. After her death, many crude comments about her were posted on her Facebook memorial page, most of which were removed. Her parents chose to have Prince buried in Ireland. A meeting held at the school to discuss the problem of bullying within the school brought parents who stated that bullying of their children had been completely ignored by the school administration. Massachusetts state lawmakers sped up efforts to pass anti-bullying legislation as a result of this incident, and the measure was signed into law on May 3, 2010. Inspired by the Massachusetts bill, similar legislation was introduced in New York State. In efforts to promote national anti-bullying legislation, a “Phoebe’s Law” has been proposed. In July 2010, the South Hadley school committee adopted a more comprehensive anti-bullying policy. The six accused were subjected to bullying and death threats following Prince’s death, and her father expressed concern regarding the treatment of the accused who had yet to face trial.

Born

  • November, 24, 1994
  • United Kingdom
  • Beford, England

Died

  • January, 14, 2010
  • USA
  • South Hadley, Massachusetts

Cause of Death

  • hanging

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