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15-Year-Old Girl Commits Suicide After Intense Bullying

March 31, 2010

 Phoebe Prince moved to Massachusetts from Ireland in time for the beginning of school last fall. Imagine how nervous she must have been, coming to a new country, and on her first day to a new school, especially a new high school.

No one could have known or predicted how hard it would be for her. Or how hard it would be for her younger sister, who came home from school and found her 15-year-old sister body hanging from her closet.

What could have caused or led to this tragic ending?

 Phoebe was the new kid on the block who probably wanted to make friends and fit in at South Hadley High School. But things didn’t turn out that way for her. About 9 students (the majority female) began a routine of name-calling, stalking, intimidation, threatening physical abuse, and relentless harassment over multiple months. This all started when she started dating a senior who was on the football team.

It’s interesting that as a female Phoebe was targeted for her relationship with this boy. Was her boyfriend targeted too? No reports indicate that this was the case, so why was Phoebe targeted alone?

Imagine the deep desperation Phoebe must have felt to end her own life. And to think that this all started because she had a brief dating relationship with an older guy. Were these girls harassing her because they were jealous of the new girl who landed a football player? Or was it just simply because she was the new girl in school? For whatever reason, some students did not approve, and so they campaigned against Phoebe both in school and online, using Facebook and other social networking sites.

 When news of Phoebe’s suicide reached the hallways of South Hadley High School, her bullies showed no regret or remorse for what had happened; instead they went to Facebook and mocked her death. This is so sad that they have no conscience about their actions. Has it gotten so bad in our society that we have no remorse for what we do? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40-45; whatever you do to others, you have also done it to Jesus.

 Could Phoebe’s death have been avoided? Absolutely! Do you know someone that this is happening to? Is this happening to you? If so, go to someone with authority—parent, teacher, counselor, etc.—and tell them. Don’t let it bring you to the point that you feel like Phoebe. God still needs you and wants to use you for His purpose.

 Are you involved in bullying someone in some way—maybe even unconsciously? Do you understand what the consequences could be from this harassment? These nine students are being charged with the death of Phoebe, violation of civil rights, and criminal harassment. Ultimately, they are responsible for this girl’s death.  

 We are all different in many ways because God made us that way. We may not like some people as well as we like others, but should we let that bring us to this point of harming someone for who they are? When Jesus was on earth people mocked, harassed, and called Him names, and they ultimately killed Him. But still Jesus died for us to save us from all this sin on earth. But imagine the hurt He felt from all of the things they did to him. We still do it today by our actions toward others. Jesus wants us to love one another.

 What would you do if you saw someone being bullied? Tell me what your thoughts are about Phoebe’s death and how this could have been avoided.

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