Three Massachusetts teenagers have pleaded not guilty in the bullying of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after what prosecutors call months of threats and harassment. Sean Mulveyhill, 17, (shown here) with the victim Phoebe Prince is one of those charged and reportedly had a brief relationship with Prince before turning against her. Also charged are Kayla Narey, 17, and Austin Renaud, 18. They are among six teens (also including Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins and Sharon Chanon Velazquez) charged in the bullying of Prince that led to her hanging herself on Jan. 14.
Mulveyhill and Renaud are charged with statutory rape. Mulveyhill and Narey are also charged with violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury, criminal harassment and disturbance of a school assembly.
The case is another instance of lethal bullying, which I have written about previously here.
Mulveyhill is a star football player at South Hadley High School and reportedly had a relationship with Prince after she came to the high school after moving from Ireland.
The teenagers had reportedly been hounding Prince and, on the day of her suicide, she was threatened in school hallways, and had a drink thrown at her while she walked home.
Notably, prosecutors state that school officials knew about the harassment and failed to act after Prince’s mother raised the abuse with them. Schools have been rightfully sued over such failures to act in past cases of abuse, here.
Prosecutors said last month that faculty and administrators will not be charged, even though authorities say some of them knew about the bullying and that Phoebe’s mother brought her concerns to at least two of them. Prosecutors say although the school was aware of the bullying, failure to act prior to Prince’s death did not amount to criminal behavior. They will not, however, be criminally charged.
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60 thoughts on “Six Teens Charged After Bullied Girl Hangs Herself”
I heard this on the News this morning that this teenage girl hanged her self because of assholes kids in her school bullying her. She just move to this country 5 month ago from Ireland. This is so sad and Pissed me of. Parent Pay ATT to your children so they won’t hurt someone else or before they get hurt. Those assholes are lucky I am not Her mother. I will haunted them to death. They desereve the same. And i will show them what miserable are.
It will be interesting to see how this case sets any legal precedent for future cases. Once the “kids will be kids” argument goes away and it becomes a legal problem, maybe some will think twice about bullying.
But, we still also need to focus on victim recovery and bully relearning so that a Phoebe Prince does not feel alone and without support to help her. This is an area we also must focus on to avoid the loss of life that bullying can cause.
“Bullying happens. Life it tough. Difficult situations build character and make one, as a person, stronger. I am not condoning the bullying. It is a horrible thing, and I have been bullied myself, but I can look back today and say “Thank you” to them because I am better because of it.
The world is a tough place itself.”
This line of “reasoning” boils down to the old “I made it through something kinda, sorta, similar and thus why can’t you?” argument. It goes along with the “I’m tough and your not,” argument. You are expressly condoning, accepting, and insuring bullying as a boost to your seemingly fragile ego. If you’re “better for it,” one shudders at how you were before.
Btw, the most of us here have jobs–we also have consciences and compassion for vulnerable people. How about you?
Does any of the people writing on this board have a job? Bullying happens. Life it tough. Difficult situations build character and make one, as a person, stronger. I am not condoning the bullying. It is a horrible thing, and I have been bullied myself, but I can look back today and say “Thank you” to them because I am better because of it. I know how to stand up for myself, and for others now. Anyone can say what they want to, but at the end of the day, the fact remains – that girl did it herself. I don’t want to be insensitive, however, it is insane that as a society, we always want to play the “blame game.” They are responsible for the harassment, but that kind of situation is not much different than situations many of us that have graduated high school have experienced personally, or seen happen – it should be handled as such. There is no reason to ruin however many more teenagers’ lives for what she did. I personally have lost two friends because of what happened between them and their girlfriends. Do I, their parents, or officials blame the girlfriends for what they did – no. This is a part of the growing up process; adolescents are mean to each other. Actions like these help to breed a generation of kids that wont get anywhere because they never learned to stand up for themselves or someone else. The world is a tough place itself. High school is where one should learn to deal with the world while one still has the guidance of his or her parents.
This case certainly looks to be able to set the tone on bullying being a criminal act. Time will tell to see what happens.
Very tempting and will be redeemed on my next sojourn
along the Ohio Turnpike.
mespoou ever come through the Cleveland area, please stop by for tea,
“As the son of a school administrator, I understand the burden we place on schools to do lots more than educate on coursework.”
Ah, I can see that you do. (Perhaps being the child of a school administrator is as perilous as being the son of a Police Chief or minister? (suggested with a slightly teasing overtone))
If you ever come through the Cleveland area, please stop by for tea or coffee … we’ll sit on the back porch, watch the sailboats on Lake Erie and straighten out the world.
“I think, mespo, and I mean this most sincerely, that you are much wiser than I.”
Your thoughtful well-considered reply disproves this assertion.
Your point is that we need to nip this problem in the bud, and I could not agree more. I am all for anti-bullying measures in the schools, but I agree we ask more of an institution than we do from ourselves, and that is foolishness. As the son of a school administrator, I understand the burden we place on schools to do lots more than educate on coursework.
Yes, perhaps you are correct in your suggestion that my sense of outrage led me towards a desire to see the parents punished. My initial reaction was based on the article wherein mention of holding the school officials and the children responsible without any mention of the responsibility of their parents.
That aside, I have long felt that our society puts far too much of a burden on our public school system … a burden that rightfully should reside with the parents. I understand why it is done but I don’t really approve of it. Part of the reason I don’t approve appears so poignantly in the article … the attitude that permits us to first look to blame the school system before looking at the parents.
Do I feel sorry for the parents of these children? Yes and no. Yes to their anguish, in that their children will be paying a very real price for their actions that, I’m pretty sure, none of them anticipated. And no, because I can not think of those parents without thinking of the young girl’s mother … a parent who will never see her child again. That juxtaposition lessens my sympathy, dramatically.
The scenario that led to this tragedy goes on in public high schools across America. I’m going to call it, for want of a better term, “Nailing the Freshman”. The upper class guys wait for the new crop of freshman girls to show up and attempt to “nail” a few. It’s almost a contest. Some freshman girls, nervous and anxious to be accepted, fall for it. The affair ends quickly and the upper class females, angry at having their men taken away, however briefly, move in to teach the freshman a lesson … put them back in their place … in this case the lesson turned deadly.
I’m going to suggest that this case was a little different in that the freshman was new to the community and thus probably had no friends to help support her through the bullying. More than likely the girls doing the bullying had experienced something of the same thing when they were freshman with the probability that they had a support group of friends to commiserate with them. I suspect it was, in their opinion, their turn to dish it out. The mob mentality took over and, more than likely, each girl went further in the company of her friends than she would ever have done as an individual. What a shock it must be to find that the law will look at her as an individual and hold her accountable.
But none of this understanding is going to restore that child to her mother. That parent, no matter what is done, will never have justice. But then that is the way of the world … right?
The ones who are alive, and living amongst us, we will find a way to mitigate their pain, we will show them sympathy … mercy. The one who is dead … well, we may even find subtle ways to blame her … depression and the like. We will have sympathy and show mercy towards the parents of the living … not charge them for any negligence or ignorance … after all, they are suffering too. The parent of the dead … well, we may even find a way to semi blame her … suggest that she should have done more.
But mespo, bullying is so common in children and it shouldn’t be. We raise our children to be careful around fire, hot stoves, electric outlets, traffic, strangers … but bullying? No, that’s almost a right of passage. Why then should we expect the schools to control something that parents neglect?
I know parents who taught their children not to steal and were appalled when their children were charged with shoplifting or breaking and entering. The good ones hired lawyers and counselors for their kids, and made restitution to those their children had wronged. How are these parents going to make restitution to a dead girl, her mother, and her three sisters? They can’t. And perhaps, for caring parents, therein lies the punishment.
I think, mespo, and I mean this most sincerely, that you are much wiser than I. So I will modify my stance … if, after investigation by the District Attorney, the parents of these children were found to have been aware of the bullying and attempted to stop it, then no charge of Depraved Indifference should be brought. If, after investigation, the District Attorney believes that the parents were ignorant of the bullying but had they known, would have made an effort to stop it, then no charges of Depraved Indifference should be brought. If, after investigation, the District Attorney determines that the parents knew of the bullying and did nothing to stop it, then charges of Depraved Indifference should be brought. At any rate, for the sake of the dead girl, her mother and her sisters, the parents of these children should be looked at very closely.
P.S. I figured, after looking in situ up, that is what you meant … I spun it a little for literary purposes … mea culpa
Sorry for the late reply to your thoughtful analysis.
I think your sense of outrage (which mirrors my own) is skewing your persepctive. Likely, that is why you wish to “punish” the parents for the actions of the children. It is a sad and manifest fact that good parenting will not insure good conduct by children. Our Chief Justice in Virginia suffered the tragedy every parent dreads when his son was convicted of a felony. The Justice is both a good and compassionate person, and, by all accounts, a good parent. When the crime came to light, both parents took appropriate action. How might we justify then punishing the parents for the actions of their child?
In this case, we have no idea what the parents knew and when the knew it. We, likewise, have no idea what they did when informed of it. Lord knows, that in my youth, very little bad news of my behavior made its way to my door. I suspect the same is still true today. All in all in this society, we punish for actions which are clearly spelled out and which conform to our notions of an individual’s control over the various behavioral choices. That is why we do not punish those with mental disabilities, or those who commit wrongful acts with the barrel of gun pointed at them.
Parents, by and large, do the best they can given their training, education, and resources, but no primate can coerce the actions of another with persuasion or threats of punishment. That is the mischievous nature of primates given double effect when their pre-frontal cortexes are not yet fully developed.
P.S. Sorry for the oblique Latin reference, in situ. I was referring to parents out of the home. e.g., military parents, parents in divorce situations, etc.)
Then you have great taste in music :0
Wonderful song choice!
Woosty’s Still a Cat….
I agree, anxiety ( a.k.a fear ), and confusion were very likely symptoms that Phoebe Prince was experiencing, these are symptoms that often accompany depression. To be honest, the time to be able to formulate an absolute diagnosis is gone, it left the moment that she took her last breath.
Hopefully something positive comes as the result of a young girls’ life ending. Perhaps school administrators everywhere will see the importance of intervening in allegations of bullying, and begin to act in an appropriate manner by dealing with the bullies and getting psychological help for the victims.
I think there are lots of psychological states that exist and foster suicide. Severe anxiety, fear, confusion, mixed states. I am not comfortable that ‘depression’ is the correct understanding of her state of mind. I can see how it could be used to get the perps off though…
Ahhh Buddha….what would I do without you 😉
It is a woman sitting on a harvest moon & a branch with maple leaves hanginf in front of it….a native looking painting actually. i was looking for something Canadian related without being corny about it 🙂
I’d like to say nice icon by the way. 😀 But I have to ask what is it? Buddha Is Going Blind. 😉
When you post to the blog, you should be able to manually change your name back to Canadian, Eh! if you wish. As long as the e-mail address remains the same associated with the icon, you should be good to go.
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