So nine students have been charged with felonies in relation to a girl who committed suicide because she was bullied.
Fifteen-year-old Phoebe Prince hung herself in January after months of being bullied.
As soon as I heard about this, I immediately thought of Lori Drew. She’s a mother who was charged last year after pretending to be a boy online, becoming good friends with one of her daughter’s classmates, then ended the relationship and told the girl the world would be better off without her. Thirteen-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide soon after, and Drew was charged.
At the time, some people were wondering if Drew’s case would be a wake-up call. It wasn’t.
And this one won’t be either.
I’m sure thousands of kids went to school today and were bullied. Even if the bullies knew about the charges in the Prince case, they wouldn’t have been thinking of that as they picked on others.
This case isn’t the first warning sign, although legislators are now paying attention. The first sign came 11 years ago, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people in the Columbine massacre. There were reports they were bullied, and since then, there have been shootings and stabbings at schools where the victims had bullied people for years.
Bullying is something that has gone on for centuries. And it will keep going on. The problem is that it used to be if a bully got caught, they would be punished in some way. Nowadays, they’re given warnings that they need to stop, but no punishment to deter them.
You want to curb bullying as much as possible? Start punishing those that bully. Suspension, extra work, detention, whatever. But don’t give them a slap on the wrist and expect them to stop.
Because bullies don’t stop until they’re pretty much forced to. And when they’re not stopped, it leads to tragic events like what happened to Prince.