April 1st, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Bullied to Death? School Responds: Join the Live Chat

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Tonight on 360°, a Massachusetts school accused of not doing enough to stop bullying. The DA says the bullying led 15-year-old Phoebe Prince to kill herself. Tonight the Superintendent of South Hadley Schools responds. He speaks out in a prime-time exclusive. Plus, we continue our special investigation on the Church of Scientology.

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 (288 Responses)
  1. TED

    students bullies--get caught-expel- for semester--and jail time–1 day- 2 days -show them that this what can happen in wrongful deaths-–

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  2. mike

    Did these bullies forget about what happens when the one being bullied gets tired of it? Remember those kids had enough an picked up their guns and straightened things out a few years back?

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  3. Jessica

    What happened to this young girl is tragic and I feel horrible for the family. I agree the school or someone within the staff at the school knew about what was going on. Hopefully this is another example that we need to pay our teachers and school staff more. This will bring more educated and motivated people into our school systems.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  4. Michelle

    I was bullied bad. Mom had 8 kids we were poor I had gum put in my butt lenght hair and they made up a song about us to the tune of the adams family, if it hadn't been for fam I may have done the same thing! I'm 34 I still hate those people

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  5. Jerry

    it is so easy for consultants to talk and critique after the facts.
    it looks they are so smart on the TV.
    They don't want to be teachers but talking head on TV

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  6. autisticaplanet

    I had undiagnosed Asperger Syndrome and was severely bullied in Middle School. The staff was just as pathetic as the superintendent in Phoebe's case. My parents are the reason I survived at all. Parents need to be held the most accountable for their kid's behavior until they turn 18.
    -Allison M. Kramer

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  7. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    I disagree with Bloom, I would not give these kids a pass. They aren't babies, they know the difference between right and wrong.

    These are dangerous kids who, chances are, will grow into dangerous adults.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  8. David

    For the past 4 yrs I have investigated and/or filed civil lawsuits against schools for "allowing bullying" in Florida schools. The bullies come in all ages, shapes and sizes. These bullies included preschool, middle school, high school and now I am sueing over college bullies.

    The key to all cases is the lack of school supervision.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  9. Ivey

    This is a serious matter that is going on all over public and private schools today! Teens face peer pressure to be the baddest. Its often overlooked because no one wants to get involved until its too late. And Probation isn't the answer because teens could careless about the PO. Zero Tolerance really should mean Zero Tolerance.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  10. Danielle

    As a student myself, I see bullying everyday and see the teachers watch and just talk among themselves. Students even tell the teachers but they still do nothing. I feel that even though the administration board and teachers and principals see it and hear bullying happen, they feel that they should do nothing. If you won't enforce the rules that you set, then don't write them down in ink!!!! Thank You.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Dulcie - Denver

    I was bullied in Jr. High and it was a horrific experience that left emotional scars that I still deal with. Fortunately, my family moved to Colorado just as I began high school and had a really great experience.

    I think bullies have been around since the beginning of time. It's a hard thing to track down and prevent. Many bullies have influential parents so no one will really do anything.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  12. Randy

    what could be so bad in a 11 year olds life that could be so rough to cause suicide?

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  13. Lesley Gennrich

    we need to have programs in all schools , to prevent bullying of all sorts .. kids do not need bullying at school or at home or from religious groups . why do those who think they can or think they have power to abuse , abuse who they percieve as vulnerable? because they have evil intentions.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  14. John

    Take it from someone who got bullied/harassed in school. It's easier to do nothing as was done in my case. They just hope it works itself out and if it don't they say "we did all we could" Their full of it

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  15. Jacqueline, NY

    You stop it by nipping in the bud. Though it is true that we all are products of our time and environments, the kids aren't the products of the school. They are the products of the parents.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  16. Max - North Port, FL

    I'm sorry, but a "No Bullying Policy" that you have to sign is not going to have any effect on student bullying. All that is doing is covering the school's fanny to show that they have "taken action" against bullying in the school

    April 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  17. Forrest

    Nobody has mentioned the possible complicity of teaching staff, who want to be "in" with the dominant crowd. I've experienced this...

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  18. michael armstrong sr.

    The power of civil force has lost its value .

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  19. Laurie

    I agree, Vicki/Wellington = Gus Sayer, Superintendent Hadley School seems twitchy and ... not telling the truth of what we've heard, just on Anderson's following this - and on other programs!!! The Principal too. An expert had spoken in the school earlier/before the suicide too!! The parents of Phoebe had come in! Other suicide of boy – also - Heartbreaking and Unnecessary!!!
    Yes = Lisa Bloom, This Is The Worst Cases Of Child Abuse!!!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  20. George

    I feel that the people of the community should fire both the prinicple & the superendent of schools they did not protect the child

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  21. Lonnie in Indianapolis

    Abuse must be stopped! American children are not safe because of an indifferent world! Sexual abuse, physical abuse is allowed because children have no voice!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  22. Jeremiah Sherrill

    @Megan, how is that going to help. Teachers need to be held responsible. Teachers are instructed in universities on bully prevention, these teachers are not actively applying what they already know and more training will not help, until teachers have something to lose, until they have fear into them, they will not do what is necessary to prevent bullying behavior.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  23. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    If this school was unaware of this bullying problem they are not a very responsible school. Especially if the kids all knew about it.

    I wonder what else is going on in that school that the authorities are unaware of. Parents should be concerned.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  24. Mohammad

    Hey everybody!
    It's so tragic that Phoebe died. The bullying should stop!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  25. Detra

    Yes...this whole idea of the "no snitch" rule has to stop. Kids have to know how important it is to say something when they see things happening!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  26. Kathy

    The superintendent said it perfectly – the school system does not have the resources that the DA had. When is our judicial system going to step up and help the schools? Principals in my area have called the police for help, but have been basically told that it is the school's problem, not theirs. I know that most of society does not want to admit this, because we don't feel like being helpless, but children nowadays aren't scared by school officials, parents, or police. Can teachers help those students that are bullied? We try! However, most of the teachers that I know are bullied by students at school.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  27. A. Smith, Oregon

    During my collegiate years, I was on a College Debating Team on the State level which went to several State schools speaking out against child abuse. Even the PTA members are filled with denials, its difficult to turn these mind-sets around overnight. It takes a concentrated long term learning cycle to remove such habitual denials and behaviors.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  28. Derek,Winter Haven

    Everybody is saying what the school system missed,,I'm asking where were her parents at this time, they're the ones who failed her!!!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  29. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    Bullying has to stop.

    I learned how to avoid people because I would get picked on.

    There has to be a way to make the bullies understand that they will get punished and that it is safe to report this bullying to the proper people.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  30. Rick

    I am watching Anderson Cooper put the superintendent of the school in the hot seat like he somehow is responsible for the bullying. The kids can craftily conceal such types of things. If school officials knew about it I agree they should have done something about it. But what about the bullies parents? Why doesn't Anderson put them on and grill them about how they could raise such cruel kids that are capable of such harrassment.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  31. Cynthia

    Thank you Lisa for putting the right language on this. No adult could withstand this type of treatment, let alone vulnerable kids who have to go to school by law.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  32. Mindy

    This problem has been going on for many years. I removed my daughter from school over six years ago. It is not safe and parents should also be resposible . These children have been handed to much control. Part of this problem is a direct result of poor parenting. If you dont want to do the work dont have children.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  33. omar

    teachers need to get fired!!!! and as for the kids who are doing the bully-n, watch out at lunch time, remember, when the gunman puts you on ur knees, dont think your inoccent, and for the parents of the bullies, when ur burying ur kid, dont expect me to shed a tear, you should have done a better job of raising ur kid.........

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  34. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Good point your question against Gus Sayers!!!!!!! GO Anderson!!!!!!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  35. Molly

    I think this is horrible, but it seems to be something that it is happening a lot more than people think and most schools don't do anything. They say that they have a policy and procedure that they have to follow but they don't do anything and horrible things happen. I have a younger sister who is going through the same things being bullied at school, picked on and the school isn't following the procedure or helping at all. I really hope that the schools realize bullying is more serious and that they should treat it as some, before this happens again, and i hope not to my sister. Its horrible that all Phoebe felt she had left was to commit suicide.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  36. Bonnie

    We practive Restorative Practice...it has made a huge difference in our school community this year. This would be a great story to run, Anderson...Restorative Practices.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  37. kamal

    Parents of the students who bullied, should be held liable too.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  38. Jay Pasqua

    I have been bullied through out my school years. I am presently 52 years old and still remember to this day the ones who pushed, shoved, pranked and abused me. Its got to stop. there is not enough being done even today. schools can not handle it and won't do a thing about it.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  39. Jordan Barth

    The investigation done by the school was obviously not done throughly enough. The school district is obviously responsible for this. The superintendant kind of seems like he doesnt want to blame anyone and deflect all questions.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  40. Robert Wilson

    Unfotunatley, though this was a tragic situation. For many administrations this form of bullying is new, and they simply are not equipped to handle bullying that extends out of school.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  41. Anne G

    My daughter is the victim of almost the exact same scenario. She has come through what we hope is the worst of it, and only because she was able to talk to her parents, and had a few brave friends who stuck by her. The teachersand administrators just are not doing enough. She was tormented for 9 months, culminating in the chief bullier trying to run her over with a car, the day before prom then ultimately physically assaulted at Prom. Still nothing was done, even after a police report was filed. With this kind of apathy from adults in our society, its no wonder our children lack the strong charachter needed to stand up against the bulliers. Sad, sad ,sad.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  42. Megan

    This is a tragic and horrible story, but playing the blame game with school officials is not helping. School officials throughout the entire United States need to be actively teaching students how to handle a situation where a student is being bullied.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  43. Kenya

    Well done Anderson.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  44. Abel

    He didn`t know the fact`s,,,Period

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  45. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Why did Ms. Coloroso do the seminar in the first place? Did this school already have a bullying problem?

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  46. jessica

    We're must stop bulling, how's about their future? They will be have sort of trauma or the worst It'll be such a tradition

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  47. Grace

    This is tragic, yet another huge failure of adults to protect a young life... maybe, but the blame falls with those committing the bullying. (Anderson, you were hitting hard and fast and not giving the Superintendent an opportunity to complete his sentences - take a breath in these interviews.)

    Parents first, children next - teenagers need to start considering their own behavior - amazing to me that adults want to blame adults and yet no one seems to really have a clue, kids need to start realizing what their behavior is capable of creating and the pain it can inflict. We've had numerous suicides in our high school and yet, the administration doesn't see it as part of a growing culture among young adults. I don't believe they understand the permanence, and that suicide is a reflex to their pain.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  48. Nicole from the Netherlands

    @Maureen, that was my next thought and question.. you answered it..
    Are the teachers scared of the bullys?!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  49. Jacqueline, NY

    Good question, Sarah. When I was growing up, our parents taught us that that our behavior was a reflection on them and their teachings or lack thereof. I don't think parents see it that way anymore. But I do. EXPOSURE is the best teacher of all things good and bad.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  50. Rose

    Evening, all.

    Two things I do not understand: (1) How an enterprise like the "Church" of Scientology gets away with being considered a religion, and (2) How a school could fail to take action to stop bad conduct immediately, even after staff personally witnessed a student being victimized.

    I believe the school staff has a responsibility to protect students and enforce decent conduct. The principal is doubtless acting under advice of counsel. Sounds as if he is both claiming staff ignorance of events and claiming they took swift, firm action.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
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