When someone dies, everyone wants to know why.
The news stories seem to indicate that Phoebe Prince was very wild and unstable. She apparently stole boyfriends and didn't understand why people wound up hating her for her manipulation. It appears she had mental problems and her mother, on at least one occasion, left her alone at night. (Trouble, of course, ensued.)
Phoebe later killed herself after the chickens came home to roost with interest. Now the "bullies" are up on criminal charges and the grieving if somewhat inept mom is Scot-free.
It isn't nice to call someone an Irish slut. Or a whore. Or a c-word. But at the same time, I could picture myself at 15 or 16 saying that sort of thing to someone if she were sleeping around with my boyfriend and some other fellows. I could also easily imagine getting together with friends and snickering about her and/or gossiping. Spreading rumours about her on facebook and just about everywhere else. I'm not saying it's RIGHT. But I'd like to think it isn't criminal, particularly as it's somewhat instigated behaviour.
Bullying isn't always very clear-cut. Often the person bullied has contributed in some way to the problem. And sometimes what appears to be bullying on the surface is tit for tat sort of stuff that escalates. It would be easy to defend against libel if Prince were a public figure; the kids would simply show that what they have said is TRUE. Chick is sleeping around? Check. And is Irish? Check. Um, "Irish slut" would sorta fit there...
So I'm very concerned that everything seems to be labelled as "criminal bullying" now. If the other teens had threatened bodily injury to the "Irish slut," or in some other way done something a reasonable person would find frightening, that would be more in line with what I feel ought be prosecuted. If you've seen bullying, REAL bullying, where kids are smacked around and constantly belittled for things they can't help such as a disability, you'd understand that having people just plain old hate you and call you names because of stupid crap YOU DID, that YOU KNOW is stupid and wrong, should NOT count. "Bullying" should really imply some sort of defenselessness on the victim's part or some sort of threat or intimidation.
Now, wait. I'm not saying that these other kids were all nice or that nothing should be done about their mean-ness. If it's true that there were several yelling at her and throwing stuff, punish them for THAT. Not criminal charges for her death.
It just seems everyone wants to blame the schoolyard "bully" without looking at the entire picture. When someone dies, it shouldn't erase every blemish of the character of that person. It is considered impolite to speak ill of the dead but I think somebody probably has to to defend some living teenagers who are probably going through their own special hell right now.
The truth is that Phoebe's actions (or those of anyone who actually kills him/herself) were likely either borne of selfishness or mental illness. I would be inclined to think the latter.
This kid *should* have been ostracised for the way she acted. Not screamed at and having stuff thrown at her, but hello... you just CANNOT act the way she allegedly did and not expect a social consequence. The young lady should have learned a lesson from this ostracism, vowed never to have sex again before marriage, and apologized nicely to all the affected parties. The mother should have then taught her wayward daughter that yes, everyone will now shun you throughout your high school years. This is the price you pay for acting like a jerk. Stop acting like one.
Maybe I'm being too blunt. But this was a real child who did something horrible, drastic and wayyyy worse than what the so-called bullies could ever perpetrate. Her parents either let her get out of control, or needed and were unable to obtain enough help for their daughter. If I were the defense attorney for these kids, I'd want to know what the hey about why the parents aren't being prosecuted for negligence. You don't just leave a mentally ill and sexually active teen alone overnight unless someone cuts your leg off and you need to drive yourself to the emergency room, yk? But it may just be that these are simply fallible human parents who desperately wanted mental health help for their little girl and were unable to find any that really made any difference.
People aren't all good or evil. They just seem to be drawn that way in the news...