Skeletons, Secrets, and Such…

We’re going to learn a lot about our society’s current definition of accountability when the Phoebe Prince case goes to trial. Across the Internet, whispers lead one to believe a Defense is already taking place.  Phoebe  (whisper, whisper) WAS this…or WASN’T that….they hint of “dirt” to come.

What can this mean? Are we to believe that there are certain mistakes a victim may make that automatically render the RELENTLESS BULLYING of them…acceptable? Or there are certain weaknesses a victim may possess, that shift all responsibility from her tormentors squarely onto her?


In other words…the argument is that certain victims “are asking for it.” And whatever befalls them, the intensity of the harassment, the depths of the cruelty, the total annihilation of their sense of safety…no longer is the responsibility of the Bullies dishing this out.  No, it’s another burden for the Victim to carry…another indication that the Tormentors are the true judges of the Victim’s worthiness.

Nobody cares what we do to “an Irish slut.”

Or this type of human, or..THAT.

The “In CROWD” get to determine the”Out Crowd.”  And then, I suppose get to say…on  them, it’s Open Season.

If skeletons and secrets or certain “weaknesses”  can shift ALL the responsibility from the alleged Bully Posse that pursued Phoebe…onto the memory of that dead child…well, that will show how little we care about the safety, soul, and psyche of the rest of our vulnerable children in this society.  If these alleged Bullies are not held accountable…let’s demand the jury issue a list of acceptable targets. Just so we all know where we stand.

Certainly that would even further simply life for the Eyes Wide Shut administration of Gus Sayer…and his “WHO-ME-I -JUST-WORK-HERE” Faculty.:

“Oh no, Mrs. Prince, see right here under section 15, item 12…your daughter Phoebe is defined as having ” unprotected” status here at South Hadley High by virtue of THIS and THIS. . See. we’ve already flagged her case as “DO NOT INTERVENE.”

“Sorry.  No help. Hands tied.”

I’m just imagining here…but sort of sounds like the mighty Gus Sayer we’ve come to know, doesn’t it?

Considering the Prince family  tragedy, I would never presume to say what legal measures the  family should or should not undertake. They’ve lost a daughter; a civil suit would be more pain, more outrage, more of the same.  Membership in the alleged Bully Posse has risen as the attorneys, and school officials begin to use their daughter Phoebe as a defensive shield. Skeletons, secrets, oh you know…the family would have to bear this all.

The Princes and their attorney know this too.

But if they feel they can undertake the rigors of a civil trial, I hope they know that many of us would see this…. not just as another personal sacrifice…but a true Public Service. The world has become engaged in their Phoebe’s tragedy. This becomes the penultimate moment for all of us to look within and without, to draw boundaries, and demand accountability. We need to know why some of our children feel an entitlement to hurt at will. Why cruelty has become a High School spectator sport?  Why school officials are so numb, naive, or apathetic…that they knowingly stay uninvolved?

We need to demand an end to excuse making. Show our disgust at any efforts to say ANY person can be considered to have “unprotected status”…  that thereby gives any Bully a free pass to wage a relentless, multi-faceted  hate campaign.

I would say to the Prince Family: Phoebe is beyond their reach now.  Only revulsion will greet any attempt to legally victimize her in a courtroom in the way she endured FOR MONTHS in the classroom.  And, no skeleton, secret or such can shift the responsibilities here from the ACTIONS of the alleged Bully Posse and the INACTION of those supposedly supervising South Hadley High.

And certainly, no skeletons, secrets or such can cause the great majority of us outraged by Bullying to  ever desert your daughter now…or you.


2 Responses

  1. It’s a terribly sad story.

  2. It is terribly sad…but also terribly important.

    Any of us who get a glimpse of our children’s Myspace ot Facebook pages…or take a day and spend time in their school, can understand there is a new level of incivility that borders on..or easily descends into…plain old cruelty.

    Out into the workplace it goes, around the family table, it sits. Obscenity, insult, apathy to pain.

    This case shines a light on the cockroaches in the kitchen. And horrors, some of the tiny cockroach faces look like ours!

    I hope people will stay outraged and involved.,

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