Beyond Bullying: The Phoebe Prince Case
Mental health issues and teen dating drama make this a complicated matter.
It appears as though bullying wasn’t the only factor that led to Phoebe Prince’s suicide in January.
According to Slate.com, Prince, the 15-year-old South Hadley High School freshman who took her own life Jan. 14 , had attempted suicide in November 2009 and school officials knew about her mental health struggles. Additionally, she engaged in self mutilation (cutting).
The author of the Slate article goes on to opine that although Prince certainly should not have been bullied by her classmates, her “own behavior [dating two popular boys who had girlfriends] made other students understandably upset.”
For those of you responsible for school and university safety, these kinds of dating triangles and their fallout are all too familiar. So how should campus officials deal with these issues?
Also, if South Hadley High School administrators knew about Prince’s mental health problems, were they obligated to be more proactive in getting her help? If so, what should or could they have done?
There are no easy answers to these questions, and I feel for any school administrator—or parent for that matter—grappling with them.
If you have any suggestions on how this tragedy could have been avoided, I’d love to hear from you.
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