Inconvenient child

An Inconvenient Child

By stmarysmead

Phoebe Prince was an inconvenient child to the staff and faculty of South Hadley H.S…..first, while living and now, especially so in death.

Let me make clear that what follows are my opinions only from a persistent  perusal of  any reading material I can find on the case: I have first-hand knowledge of none of the principles. But like that well-known inhabitant of the fictional St. Mary’s Mead, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, I think we can look about even our own small “village” and see that humanity is much the same everywhere. So, like Miss Marple, I think many of us reading about this case, “know” South Hadley High, we “know” the “Mean Girls”, we “know”the Cruel Guys” and we “know” Gus Sayer and his ilk.  With the information available and a little common sense, we can feel and intuit what befell poor Phoebe in those last three months of her life.

Gus Sayer and Principal Smith knew they had a bullying crisis at South Hadley High long before Phoebe’s last desperate day. Not a “problem”…a “crisis”…because it rose to the level where they believed it necessitated hiring a professional to come in and address the issue. NOTE PLEASE…they had to actually spend money in these days of tight school budgets therefore that speaks to the urgency of the issue. Phoebe’s situation was not unique or an outlier or the genesis of the troubles at the school.  The administration was already battling a epidemic of Bullying BEFORE she ever became a tasty target.

Conclusion 1: The Administration KNEW the problem was severe.

So after spending taxpayer money to address the bullying crisis, soon they are presented with a young Irish transfer student, from a private school and another culture, trying to read the roadmaps to assimilate into their school. One would assume that Phoebe arrived at a good time…as the school has just addressed it’s bullying crisis and one would assume the administration would have put new, clear  guidelines into effect. One would also assume, that, at the least, having identified the problem, and actually spent money to have a professional give them tools to combat it……the administration and faculty would be on high alert for any signs or symptoms of harassment or hate. One would assume Sayers administration would be eager to employ what they’d learned…eager to stamp out the bullying and show no tolerance to the bullies.

One would assume.

After all, if , say, smallpox had been rampant at the school and they paid medical professionals with taxpayer dollars to advise them how to avoid infection…don’t you think every staff member, every administrator, every teacher, every janitor would be scanning every student for telltale signs? Conveying information and communicating observations amongst each other?

Small Pox kills.

Well, so does bullying.

But no heightened awareness seemed to be in place so the adults might twig to what every kid at school knew.

Phoebe Prince died the death of a thousand cuts. There seem to be insinuations from Sayer and Smith that Phoebe was unstable…or else she could have endured the constant barrage of humiliation, taunting and threats. Well, no one dies from one cut…but even the tiniest incision repeated over and over and over…is a well known torture that is always fatal. So it was with Phoebe. It is nothing short of nauseating to see these men criticize her and try to be the determinators of how much she should have borne and still survived.

Blame the victim. CYA.

It has been reported that Phoebe’s Mother visited school twice in her concern for her daughters torment. There have been reports that Phoebe was pushed, shoved, her books knocked from her arms….called obscenities in the halls, her picture defaced with more obscenities, surrounded and taunted…. doors blocked to prevent her escape.  Over and over, for three months time, Phoebe endured a school where officials KNEW they had a bullying crisis.

But, we are told, no teacher or staff member “was aware.”

So Sayer tells us.

One must then assume that this type of abusive behavior is both commonplace and/or condoned.

Conclusion 2: taxpayer money was wasted because Sayer et al. either ignored or did not implement the professional advice they received, or the Bar of behavior at that school is so sadistically low, the staff is immune to signs of abuse.

If you are a parent or taxpayer in South Hadley, think what these means for the your money spent hiring a Bullying Expert to come to the District.Great investment there, Gus.

Think what this says about the supervision of your children.

Think  what the implications are for your childrens safety.

They are in the care of individuals who, day after day…like Hogan’s Heroes Sergeant Schultz…” see nothing.” All this could happen to Phoebe, but NOT ONE teacher or staff member saw anything or communicated anything…or DID anything  Yes, according to Sayer, ALL this happened to Phoebe and they were unaware. (I have a mental picture here of adults so accustomed to Classroom Chaos that they have achieved a functioning level of robotic-comatose. Or teachers and staff cocooned in sound-proof closets only exiting to deliver the days lesson plan))

Yes, according to Sayer, after months of terror in the halls and taunts in public places, the EYES WIDE SHUT were opened when a student walked into Phoebe’s class and called her an obscenity in front of the teacher. Once again this scenario is a stunner for its secondary message.  Sayer seems unabashed to convey to the public that students at South Hadley High are unafraid to brazenly interrupt a class in session and untroubled by the presence of a teacher while they conduct their harassment campaigns.

Could this be because they know Sayer , Smith et al…are essentially paper tigers?

The Bullies were “educated” at South Hadley High as well. They understood the parameters of any “consequence” they might face. Sayer does not believe in” altering” anyone’s life by expulsion, he has stated. Nothing TOO bad was ever going to happen to the Bullies at South Hadley High. They might” alter” the lives of others with their relentless ugliness….but their own lives would remain unscathed.

This is why Phoebe Prince was an inconvenient child. Protecting her meant implementing what the Bullying Professional had suggested. It meant creating consequences and following through. It meant making waves with Bully families. It meant perhaps going as far as expelling the popular Football Captain or Lacrosse Star who brought glory to the school. It meant having the gumption, guts and moral constancy….for Sayer and Smith to actually take a stand.

Bullies exist in an atmosphere where others fear to face them. Victims are avoided as if  THEY are the problem. I wonder if staff at that school told Phoebe over and over sd that she had to handle this on her own. Do you think she would have left school on that day she died in such despair, if one adult had said, “I’ll stand with you against them. You are not alone.  Don’t worry…THIS ENDS NOW. “

Instead Sayer, Smith and their ilk identified a crisis at their school; they engaged professional help and then somehow stayed ignorant of a three month campaign of astounding in-school cruelty. They not only failed Phoebe, but in their haughty denials of any responsibility now, they are essentially telling the remaining Bullies that their games may go on. They see no problems at South Hadley, so you may be sure the Bully culture will remain enabled…and perhaps even enhanced. They are failing every student that still attends; every parent that entrusts their child to their care.

Sauer would like us to believe that all the Bullying problems at South Hadley High rested in those few individuals who now “removed.” But, Gus, by your own word, none of you saw anything happening to Phoebe for three long months. Somehow you ALL missed a student being  pushed, shoved, her books knocked from her arms….called obscenities in the halls, her picture defaced with more obscenities, surrounded and taunted…. doors blocked to prevent her escape.

God only knows what you are not seeing now.


6 Responses

  1. Excellent article about Phoebe.

    Glad to see you’ve started a blog. Hope to see you expand on your thoughts on the A’s in a future piece. Enjoy your writing.

  2. Wow, Great work, Your thoughts and ideas are identical to my own. The like minded people who are on the side of the truth will come together and Justice will be served. We can all forget about accountibility. We have all been waiting for leadership, not going to happen. Expulsions, never happened until DA came out with statement. This administration is BAD and the only way we see the truth is when Justice is served. Only when Justice is served and this loss is truely recognized can this community even begin to think about going forward. Gus is lying or completely out of touch, needs to go. Dan Smith is a liar and held an investigation on himself, ridiculous, leaves innocent kids with bullies, needs to go too. Administration needs to wake up and smell the coffee and or go. Ed Boiselle is out of a Horror Movie, doesnt care one bit about anyone, needs to go,,,,

  3. well written. defensless angel tortured to death by pack of animals. defenders, clueless, feckless, only fear they have is for there jobs and pensions. that is what s/b removed from them. RIP Phoebe, you certainly deserved better. may you be free of pain and suffering and know that there are some brave concscientious, caring human beings (although minority) that hopefully will bring about justice in this tragedy. those that stood callously in plain view; may they be forever covered in your innocent blood knowing what they didn’t do to prevent this tragedy…

  4. So well written and so true. The school administration knows exactly what power they have in a community…and to me it is far too much. They use it to the fullest to cover their tracks. Their motto seems to be – if you can fool most of the people most of the time – you got it made. This seems to be the goal and obviously before the involvement of the DA and national media – they had it made. These same people who could not see the obvious for months investigated themselves, this alone should give everyone pause. A principal and superintendent become friends and they would defend one another even if a child was stabbed at their office door. What needs to happen is an investigative team from outside this little “old boys club”. The fact that they used taxpayers money to bring in a professional on bullying definitely indicates they knew they had a serious problem and with their attitude of course they would. The fact that it then continued at this school with no limits means they didn’t care or they were incapable of learning any new skills. I don’t need a course to know what bulling is all about…when I see a pack of wolves picking on anyone, I do something. Knowing the inside of a school pretty well I have no doubt they all knew, gossip even among the staff is thick and I am quite sure this was discussed. Yes it was all very inconvienent to say the least but she was alone and so they thought they would just let it play out and hopefully the family would just go back to Ireland or find another school, just as long as it was no longer “their” problem. It is unbelievable to know that their is no discipline in that school and this was allowed to continue.

    Of course the bullies were shocked when some form of accountibility was finally placed on them. They had become comfortable in their “do anything we like” stance around that school. They have never been held accountibily for any of their bully behavior before. They roamed the halls like a gang of thugs and it had worked pretty well for them. Thank god for this DA, she definitely did the right thing. Thank god it was brought to the attention of an outside newspaper, this man did the right thing too. It seems there are some good people still around but you won’t find them at this high school. I just hope the rest of the good people will speak up – get out of this coverup, one day it might be your child or your grandchild and you are setting the groundwork.

    So the bullies are now plotting strategy…with their expensive lawyers and maybe even the school authorities. Their lawyers will be at the school looking for anything they can use. The superintendent has already gone on CNN and eluded to other things that may have caused her death but of course he couldn’t talk about it. He was protecting her privacy even though he didn’t protect her life. Rumours will fly from both the school staff (indirectly) using a parent pipeline and from the bullies to the whole community. it’s all part of the planned strategy to erode any support for the dead child. The family member who wrote is one scary character. You begin to see where the attitude comes from.

    To anyone involved it’s all about protecting themselves now…but good people of this community, don’t let it happen.

    • Thank you for this excellent, insightful post. I believe we all have a responsibility to not let this fade away, not let Phoebe’s loss be covered over with lies , innuendos and excuses. That is the purpose of this blog….to be one of many voices, making noise, remembering Phoebe. Thank you again for honoring this Blog with your wisdom,

  5. very well said and written. i suppose you are not in the South Hadley area, or i’d suggest printing out a few thousand copies and plastering it all over the town.

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