Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Prince Family

Phoebe Prince, 15, a freshman at South Hadley High School in western Massachusetts, hanged herself in January. Her family had recently moved from Ireland.

When I saw the headline, "Western Mass. Bullying Case Leads to Indictments", I said to myself, "good for them". I had not heard of this investigation. When I clicked through I found to my chagrin that the bullying which led to suicide was at South Hadley High School. I turned to my high school student, who had noticed that I had suddenly started swearing at the computer, and said "this would never happen at M.L.C., but I can sure see it at S.H.H.S." What a depressing story. And the 'other' in this case was a recent immigrant from Ireland of all places! Looking at the names of those indicted, some appear to have been discriminating against their own ethnic group. South Hadley is full of dumb ass in bred former immigrant groups, in bred old yankee farmer types, and also the children of professors and staff at Mt. Holyoke College; the one's that didn't go away to private school that is. For my family it was a bedroom suburb, Stan commuted to Springfield every day. Couldn't wait to get out of that place.
The last time I hazed any one was during Boy Scouts. During one Jamboree, our patrol picked on a fellow scout, who I still remember by name. We went 'zombie' when we crossed a certain line in the woods. Real stupid stuff, used to scare this classmate, as we were all in Junior high school together too. I know I never teased or picked on another person after that weekend (except for siblings, maybe). He wasn't in Scouts much longer, but I always made sure to engage him in conversation in high school when we met.
This subject comes up in the workplace and the cases where I have felt that a worker was picked on, even witnessed in HR meetings, were always the worst. For ten years in labor relations I helped many people when faced with this behavior in the work place to move to another job and documented the behavior so that that a pattern and a paper and email trail existed. No indictments of the school officials or teachers that knew about this abuse, I hope that is coming.
Watched one reporter's standup with S.H.H.S. in the background, the camera would have been in the driveway for the packy across Newton St. from the high school. A couple of the camera shots it looked like some remodeling, and of course more parking. Apparently what is inside is still crappy. I haven't been back to South Hadley since Stan's funeral. I don't miss it a bit.

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