I stopped the Washington Post a few months ago. It was a sad day for me. I was the only one who read the paper. I never read it on a daily basis, but I looked forward to reading it. I would allow the paper to pile up until I had a stack. Once the stack was a couple of days high, I would sit and pore through the stack. I’m a little OCD, so I have to handle each section of the paper before recycling. I would read each section even I just glanced at sports headlines and the classifieds.
We no longer get the paper, which means I am insulated from what is going on in the world. I’ll you in on a secret…I like it that way. I can’t be shocked by the latest gruesome murder or unthinkable crime, like the suicide of Phoebe Prince.
I read about this victim of cyberbullying in a People magazine at my doctor’s office. The story is unthinkable. Nine high school students have been charged with her murder. She killed herself, but to me the nine students are responsible for her death. All should be charged with murder. Does MA have the death penalty? If not, life imprisonment for all.
There are no words to describe how angry I feel that children almost the same age as my child could do this to a fellow student. How could they bully a student in this way? It is unconscionable.
According to the Baltimore Women’s Health Examiner, the bullying took place inside and outside school and in cyberspace through Facebook. What was the administration doing when the bullying was happening on school grounds? Talk about being asleep at the wheel!
Facebook and anonymity is a huge problem among tweens and teens. Kids think that they can post anything if they use a phony name. The cloak of anonymity allows kids to post mean-spirited and disrespectful comments as they know that no one will find out who they are.
Back in 5th grade, my teen started a website. I guess you could call it a blog…I’m not sure I knew what a blog was back then. Her website was a class newspaper. She posted tidbits of class news, had an advice column, and wrote stories. At the point where her website was starting to gain the attention of her fellow 5th grade classmates, the anonymous comments started. She did not tell me about the comments until the first couple were posted. I was horrified when I read the language, venom, and horrible thoughts expressed in the anonymous comments. How could these 5th graders — 10- and 11-year-olds — leave curse-filled comments for my daughter? I told her to close down all the comments. The anonymous commenters spoiled the enjoyment of everyone.
Want to support Phoebe Prince? Show your support by joining the Facebook page.
Did you know that Phoebe was an immigrant? She moved to Massachusetts from Ireland. Here’s the reaction of her hometown in County Clare. Her immigrant status hits home with me as I have been the new, foreign person in school many times. I can tell you that it is no fun to be different when you are a kid. When I was the new English kid in 6th grade in New Jersey, I made it my mission to assimilate quickly. I adopted an American accent…within days of my arrival.