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March 31st, 2010
09:46 PM ET

Bullies & Victims: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight on 360°, we're looking for answers in the suicide of a Massachusetts high school student. Prosecutors say bullies drove Phoebe Prince to take her own life. Some are saying the school completely missed the trouble. You'll hear from the principal. We're keeping them honest. Plus, Pres. Obama's new plan for offshore drilling. Is he flip-flopping from comments he made on the campaign trail and we continue our week-long series 'Scientology: A History of Violence".

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)


Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (353 Responses)
  1. Ramiro, South Bend, IN

    I feel bullying is such a complex issue. It's absolutely awful but I feel to an extent it's human nature! It's going to happen and it's never going to go away. However I feel this should be a teachable moment to the nation and perhaps to the world concerning bullying. It should undoubtedly be frowned upon yet realistic expectations need to be set! Only then can we avoid having such awful tragedies.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  2. Russell

    This is why we can not teach our children not to fight. It may be very necessary to defend yourself and is in fact a right to defend yourself. It is not wrong! As many people know; teachers, parents, or cameras can not see everything.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  3. Johanne

    why is bullying is part of high school culture in this country? I was lucky enought to go middle school and high school in two different countries and bullying was never an issue, there was teasing and joking around but at the end of the day no one got hurt

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  4. Melissa

    The exclusive tonight on bullying in schools is heartbreaking. I hope as a future teacher that I can play a role in stopping verbal violence in schools.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  5. Fred T

    I was the victim of a 3 year hazing/bullying spree in jr. H.S. – teachers/admin turned blind eye and sometimes joined in. I longed for suicide daily. I finally had to leave the school. I want to see School Staff held responsible if found negligent. I do not believe that these school administrators had no clue as to what was going on in the Charmichael case (TX). Everybody (including teachers) knew about me and were too frightened of the group responsible for the hazing to do anything about it.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  6. Bry

    Most of us have been bullied as kids.....some more extreme than others. I remember being bullied but kept my mouth shut about it. I never told a sole what was happening and I think most kids do the same. It seems telling someone make matters worse.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  7. Dorothy

    I am a health teacher. I address bullying with all my classes. I surveyed our high school last year anonymously. We came up with Zero bullying.

    Why? Stronge teacher/administration presence. I start my Health classes each year by telling them.."I don't do brats or bullies".

    We are on top of it...we have guidance classes, health classes, anti-violence meetings....we address each incident clearly...

    I wish these children were in our school...

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Isabel Siaba

    This life is so incomprehensible ... why must it be this way? why do we have to lose those we love?

    March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  9. Scott

    I don't want to single out gay kids because it's not just them who are typically bullied but gay kids have it pretty bad.

    Teachers and parents need to look out for the "loner" kids. The ones who are quiet, stay in the shadow and try not to draw attention to themselves. These are the kids that are being bullied. Victims of just being themselves.

    I luckily had supportive parents. They couldn't stop the bullying but they could remove me from the situation and the guidance counselor provided me with a project to remove me from the situations where I was getting picked on – typically gym class or on breaks.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  10. Charlene (Manila, Philippines)

    @ Scott, I admire your courage.

    My heart goes out to the Carmichaels.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  11. WendyWand

    What a beautiful boy....such a sad story.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  12. Karoline, Los Angeles

    All schools should have in-school alternative programs for kids who feel threatened. Some parents can quit work to home school their bullied child, but most cannot. In that even the schools, by law, owe students a safe place to get an education.

    Right now the schools are not providing that and I hope enough lawsuits will get them on a correct path.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  13. A. Smith, Oregon

    Young kids often have very few if any coping skills which is vitally important for them to successfully overcome bully's, taunting and issues of self-esteem. Parents and schools need place emphasis on teaching their children life coping skills which they themselves learned in order to survive day by day, and night by night.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  14. Paula

    I have a lot of feelings about this. My two older children were never bullied in school and still are not. We have allways talked about it how they need to stick up for the other kids because they may not have older sibblings at school to stick up for them This year they have had to stick up not only for the other kids but allso their little brother. I think we need to start with the children they are on the inside and see much more than the teachers.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  15. Heather - Spokane, WA

    I have a hard time believing that administrators and teachers do not know about bullying. Rumors and gossip travels widely in schools and adults are bound to hear all of it. My thoughts and prayers go to the Carmichaels, this should not have happened

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  16. Wendy

    I am really sad to see what has happened to these children because of bullies. It is up to parents and teachers to make sure that students/children know that kindness matters. They should also encourage children to speak up when they are bullied. If they don't it will continue with others and could lead to sad results as has been seen over the last few days. Bullies are coward and those who do it should be punished. It must be stopped.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  17. Roger

    In Sweden the students responsible aswell as school officials WILL be responsible and face trial if this occurs. Maybe something for the US to take after. This is NOT acceptable.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  18. Michele

    anderson,

    Many staff and administrators use the bullies to control the victim. one of my children was tormented for two years by members of his football team. I went to the school board, I went to the principals. We called the FBI, local district attorney. The night my son graduated from high school, the 18 members of the football team came to my home and egged it. It took me a week but I found out who they were by taking my sons year book to local convenience stores and showing pictures of members of the team and one clerk identified them. When I went to the police they said it wasn't credible evidence. The clerk said she would ID them to the police and when her boss found out he told her to stay out of it or loose her job. The entire school district enabled this to happen because the football team won the NY state championship and were unstoppable. Please don't stop covering this issue it is as important as any you have covered. Keep shining the light on this

    March 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  19. David, Indiana

    Good evening Anderson, Isabel, Emily, Starr, Megan, everyone.

    That was a great approach Roselind Wiseman noted for dealing with an instance of bully at school. I read the excerpt from her book and I agree with her view of how I guess inflammatory the online world is. And with the texting etc online or via phone there is a huge additional challenge for teachers administrators. I think parents are the key here.

    Alina Cho's report notes that parents at South Hadley high school have been complaining about bullying at the school for some time. For how long?

    March 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  20. Lisa, Louisville, KY

    If these kids don't have any concept of boundries, right from wrong, parents and school administrators that look the other way, what will they be like when they become adults? Can you imagine what society will be like in 5 years?

    March 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  21. Marie

    I graduated in 1991 back before computers and face book and the like. But it did nothing to stop students from bullying, I was screamed at, yelled at, slapped, gestured, teased, taunted, you name it they did it.

    Why?

    Because I dressed differently, looked different, I couldn't play sports, I wasn't popular, I was a loner.

    It was painful, even after all these years it's still painful.

    For years I had problems dating, and even now, i've never married because I've always felt that I wasn't good enough.

    But that changed this summer, I met a wonderful and kind man who has shown me that I am worthy of love and he accepts me for who I am.

    If I could just say one thing to those children that bully other people, it would be to take a step back, look in the mirror and ask yourself, what it it were you?

    March 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  22. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    This story absolutely breaks my heart. I just want to cry. I sincerely appreciate 360 doing this story and bringing attention to this problem. Thank you to the parents for coming forward publicly.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  23. T.Kara

    It's hard for me to imagine how teachers and administrators can ignore incidents of bullying within their classrooms and buildings. Our area is not the most progressive in many ways but they have some policies regarding bullying in place. Bullying would be akin to harassment in the workplace in some ways...it's a life lesson to recognize and deal with these types of conflicts whether as teens or adults.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  24. Nancy in Oregon

    I think that abusive people (which would include bullies, in my book) have often themselves been bullied or abused. In the case of the young people, it seems to me something might be going on (or severely lacking) at home....

    March 31, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  25. Ginn

    Stop letting parents off the hook. It is not the "school's" responsibility – at least not alone. Parents pass the buck constantly – why don't they know the kids' tendency to bully? It starts in elementary. I'm a substitute teacher. Yesterday I dealt with kids teasing/harassing a student. They're in 3rd grade, it wasn't "vicious," but I told them frankly it was bullying. "If you start this way now, it gets worse as you get older. You need to see now that's it's bullying and stop." But it's their parents who should see the tendency and stop it – yes, in kindergarten. And again in 3rd grade, in 7th grade, in 9th grade. It's THEIR job.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  26. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    If these bullies are convicted this should go on their permanent records so that colleges and any future employers will know what kind of people they are.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  27. Cessy - Chicago

    Bullies are people who are cowards who feel the need to be in power. By not givin gthem immediate consequences, Bullies are given more power and the feeling of " I can do this and I can get away with this". Bullying needs to be stopped.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  28. Karoline, Los Angeles

    Hello everyone. I'm so glad the show is covering this topic further tonight.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  29. Wanda

    It starts in elementary school. My daughter was threatened on Monday. Her classmate threatened to stab her with scissors. The police were called on Tuesday. He was back in school today. Too much is swept under the rug as, "Oh their just kids", or "He's just being a boy" as if that is a pass for predatory and terrorist behavior. This child has repeatedly been cited for his behavior and even pushed another down breaking his front tooth last year and is still there.

    There needs to be an overhaul that includes a no bullying mandate, that is funded and requires certification by the administration and the teachers themselves.

    My daughter does not want to return to that school out of fear for her life! and she is only 10!

    When will we wake-up!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  30. starr, formerly known as vincent

    @Scott, Stepanie & Casey

    I know what you have gone throught...we all need to be proud that we made it through. However, as you have mentioned, there are the scars, and the impact of low self esteem. I healed most of mine through counseling.

    Anderson, thank you so much for publicizing this issue. It is IMportant! I hope that you will keep following these stories until All parents, teachers and children learn that this is so Wrong and the damage it causes.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  31. Cindi

    Our daughter was bullied mercilessly in Jr. High. One classmate told her she was so ugly she should kill herself. Thankfully, she didn't...but her self-confidence was destroyed. 8 years later, she is still under treatment for an eating disorder. We DID go to school officials on her behalf....but little was done. As your guest said, the emphasis was on "kindness".

    Just want you and your guests to know that suicide is not the only outcome. Thousands of girls develop ED over all this bullying!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  32. Javier

    I was bullied since 3rd grade, it's stop since I entered college, but I went through so much brutal verbal abuse! I was scared to go to school, a group of guys went as far as throwing staplers, paper balls, and shoot small bb gun pellets at me in class. Everyone knew I was bullied and no one helped or did anything!

    My parents knew, but my high school didn't care one bit at all, it took my mom and I to plead and beg for them to switch my class. I always imagined my future and my hopes and that is what got me through the horrible verbal and one time physical harm bullies plagued on me.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  33. tom

    I've been teaching elementary and middle school for over 30 years. Bullying has always been part of the school issues, but it has really gotten bad in recent years. Some school districts are more worried about how their suspensions look with the Office of Civil Rights than taking a true stand and doing something about having consequences(severe) against the bully. The bully has more rights in most districts than the victim. i see it daily.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  34. Isabel Siaba

    Good evening, Anderson, David (Indiana), Megan, Starr, Gabriela, Emily and everyone!!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  35. Carly

    All through school all 13 years of it i was bullied. They way I see it as there is no one you can turn to, if you go to a parent all they could really do is call the school, where the school would talk to the student, which only meant the walk home was that much worse.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  36. Mei, Arizona

    wow Sheila Good for you for having the courage to go to the police!!!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  37. James Whyte

    The Administration in this school need to be fired. Every single student that bullied this girl need to be expelled also, and charged as Adults. I think the FBI should get invoved due to the girls civil rights being violated. This is so tragic!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  38. Ann

    Good evening and thank you for addressing this very serious subject. My son had learning disabilities and was bullied for years. He was able to ignore a lot of the comments until one day in ninth grade, when he had had enough. He was beaten by one boy, literally twice his size, and knocked unconscious. The school was dismissive and the parents of the boy protected their football star. For us, a fabulous boarding school was the answer. My son received an excellent education, made friends and was happier than ever before. Litigation helped pay for this.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  39. Deb

    I have been both a bully and a victim. I was a kid in both instances, as is typical nowadays.

    But I felt powerful as the bully. Yes, I did it to make myself feel better, but it still wasn't satisfying to me. I don't recall if it was a conscious choice I made to just stop, but I did find myself being the victim later on. That's how I understood the saying What comes around, goes around.

    Once I became the victim, I stood up for myself, then became an advocate for other victims. That's where the real power was, actually.

    Today, I still consider myself an advocate for victims, and I'm proud of it.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  40. CJ Omaha NE

    i am a junior in HS hat has been harrased contantly since my freshman year at two different schools, while not physical abused. i can feel phoebes pain, i come home from school exhausted, nausious, a splitting Headache, and low self esteem, for stupid reasons like, my car , something ive said and the ironic ;im not cool enough..... and as ironic as this is no one will help, @starr and @scott you are COMPLETELY RIGHT!! this has got to end!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  41. tom woodstock IL

    I would stick up for kids that got teased and harrassed. Having alot of pimples was not fun. But being a world class wrestler always helped. But i was a strong and did not take crap from anyone. Parents need to be more in their kids lives. The parents of the bullers should be asshammed of their parenting skills.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  42. Edmund

    You can implement all the administrative changes you want, but until we deal with the parents who are raising these "bully" children by either praising or neglecting their negative, socially destructive behavior, not much can change. It is the parents of these bullies that bear the true brunt of the blame. They should not get a pass.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  43. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    The anonymity of the Internet gives these kids the courage, and in some ways even encourages them, to behave this way.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  44. ralph eckhardt

    I have studied employment bully harassment fo 40 years. The problem is that adults are not serious about enforcing laws and policies because it is a culture of many, as high as 50% of employers. The 6th largest school district in the US, Broward Co, Florida keep no data base and refuse to recognize bully harassment of students and employees. Bullying begins with favortim, nepotism and special to get and keep employment. It is lack of ethical enforcement of laws and policies

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  45. Alicia - Indianapolis

    @nancy, my son's school had an assembly addressing bullying, and I think they wasted a large sum of money. There is a 9-year old in my son's class that has been ostracized by his peers who call him "gay" I don't think half of them even know what that means, and the kids who don't tease him won't stick up for him, cause they would be ostracized for doing so.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  46. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Sheila Toomey....that you asserted yourself and was able to make those kind of decisions at a young age is truly amazing. Thumbs up.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  47. George

    This is a very commen event. I am on a adult support site and it happens all the time.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  48. Cessy - Chicago

    None of the students involved recieved consequences for their behaviors? I can't beleive I live in a country where NO snitching is allowed as well as Bullying. What kind of message are we sending to the "future of America?"

    The Principal needs to be removed. Teachers who did nothing to protect Ms. Prince or anyonelse who is being bullied in that school also needs to be removed. Parents rely on school officials to protect their children while they are in school. Is this the kind of education those children are receiving in school these days? That's a shame...

    March 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  49. Nancy in Oregon

    I can't imagine bullying being resolved by any one approach or entity. I would think it would take all hands on deck, including peers. And including looking at the potentially pathetic emotional and home lives of those doing the bullying. I agree, Gloria...bullying knows no age boundary.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  50. Trisha

    I am so glad to see you focussing on this horrible problem which has taken over the schools. My grandson has stayed home this school year because of bullying the school he attended last year. They were awful to him. It was a plan to bully the new student in this small school in Viroqua Wisconsin. He is afraid to try a new school now. He just turned 11 years old. Imagine the fear that this young man must have to fear going back to school. Nothing was done about this.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
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