April 1st, 2010
09:45 PM ET

Bullied to Death? School Responds: Join the Live Chat

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

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. Maria

    As someone who was bullied as a kid, I urge those being bullied now to not blame themselves. I understand what you're going through and it is not worth your life. These kids are unhappy, threatened or jealous of you. It is so hard...but hold on. Life is worth it, they are not. You are loved.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Sharon Hastings

    With all the opportunities the Republicans have to surge forward now and capitalize on our economic woes, etc., it seems like they find no shortage of ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  3. William

    Stay on this story, Anderson!!! They're a LONG way from honest...

    April 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  4. michael armstrong sr.

    Wheres all the audit on the government maybe we should do this quickly .

    April 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  5. A. Smith, Oregon

    Unfortunately with the recent US Supreme Court split decision 5/4, Corporations across America are pouring hundreds of millions into distorting and smear campaign ad's on behalf of their Republican candidates who don't have to spend of their own re-election funds.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  6. Cherlyn H

    These schools have our children in them for 6 to 8 hrs, 5 days a week. Shouldn't they be responsible for those kids' safety while they are there?
    If the need for safety is not met how can they expect to educate them? Come on safety is a basic need and should be a basic right for those dependent on our educational system.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  7. LisaL -Canada

    is that the new 'wining and dining' ??

    April 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  8. Karen, MN

    Sex phone hot lines and strip club. What a ding dong!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  9. Cessy - Chicago

    do these people ( RNC) think they wouldnt be caught? seriously.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  10. Adam, Houston

    I know we all feel absolutely terrible for the family of Phoebe, but where were they? Family is a young persons primary support group. An average school principal is responsible for hundreds of children while parents are responsible for just a few. This is a failure of family first and foremost, but who wants to cast a stone at those who must endure such a tragedy?

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Jenny

    With school budget cuts, there will be less teachers in the hallway, larger class sizes, etc. Admin and counselors are spread too thin as well. Unless you have worked in a high school, you don't know what the school environment is truly like. Character eduction must be a group effort between parents, children, school faculty and the larger society. The school is not solely responsible.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  12. Kenya

    "The island will tip over and capsize" 😀 I think that Hank Johnson fellow smoked something. He's too confused.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  13. trelana

    i work in administration in higher education. It amazes me the amount of media attention that such tragic situations bring towards the administration in schools (not faculty or teachers). I've seen three student suicides in my time working in this field, and i must admit in every situation i wish i would've had the information to intervene and help the person. It breaks my heart everytime. However, i've never had any success at helping students that never came to me to talk about their issues or admitting there was a problem. With the budget cuts coming through the field of education, administration is one of the first to go, making us more and more ineffective. If i were responsible for 100 students vs 900, I feel there might be a better opportunity for me to notice issues sooner.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  14. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Yeah Anderson, we get the "idea"!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  15. David, Indiana

    It's not clear to me what actions were taken after Jan 7. It is possible that students knew about the bullying and teachers did not, but as you noted Anderson, two? teachers had interevened. At what pt did that happen? And was that information given to administrators?

    It bothers me that the accused are then in danger after all this. More care and attention to the basic facts is needed.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  16. eileen

    I was going to ask the same thing about the girls parents were they aware of this and assumed the school would take care of it?

    April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  17. John Znutas

    Anderson, teenagers are much worse than 20-30 years ago. The school should have had the police come in and tell the school ,anyone caught bullying of any kind,will go to a detention center.Do we keep waiting untril after the bullied person continues to take their life.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  18. A. Smith, Oregon

    The Republican donation hot line going to cyber-sex is a hoot! That is so funny, sounds like a sub-conscious desire of one or more of the Republican hierarchy.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  19. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    @Forrest, "Nobody has mentioned the possible complicity of teaching staff, who want to be "in" with the dominant crowd."

    I said it on yesterday's live blog and earlier tonight. I have experienced that as well.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  20. Jacqueline, NY

    Is that real?!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  21. Cessy - Chicago

    what does jack gray say about this hotline mistake???? LOL!!!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  22. Denise

    Something about this whole situation is doesn't sit right with me. I don't feel truly serious investigations are being conducted to find out why this has gone on for so long.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  23. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    Listening to that representative from Georgia reminded me of Mariah Carey's acceptance speech at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Oh man.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  24. Christine Cummins -- Houston, Texas

    "Least Widest"

    I am very afraid of the fact that this man, with all due respect, was even elected to represent..

    April 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  25. Bonnie

    Pamela, demand that your administrators pull those bullies in for restorative practices with your son or daughter. It couldn't hurt.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  26. Danielle

    I am so tired of schools and teachers being blamed for kids being fat and bullied. Hands are tied in this country. There is no justice for the victims and everyone wants to sue everyone else for their errors. Where are the parents of the bullies? Teachers are not with these kids every day of their lives. What about the summer? Who is watching them then? Why sue the schools, sue the parents of the bully if you sue anyone. I just don't get it. I do feel sorry for the kids being bullied but you all think they will say something and they don't. They are scared, and for people to say that they will come forward, you got another thing coming. Go into a school for one year and observe. Teachers do their best – they aren't in the job to watch kids be harassed. They are there because they love kids. So people need to quit blaming them. And by the way, kids don't get fat in school. It all starts at home.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  27. michael armstrong sr.

    The congress man is a regular Robbin Williams .

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  28. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    "What? Too much apple juice, perhap!"

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  29. Anne G

    Bull to the assistant priniciple and teacher. I teach my child to treat others with respect, but not all parents do. Unfortuantely you do not need a license to parent, until then, the school faculty need to step up to the plate, and stop being complacent.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  30. Nicole from the Netherlands

    Thankyou Anderson for doing that splitscreen, so good LOL

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  31. Kim- Ohio

    Wow...the island is going to tip over 🙂 Wow!!!!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  32. eileen

    When I was in high school we had a student commit suicide and we had morning counseling

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  33. Cessy - Chicago

    I would hate to be in Guam! LOL
    Nice demonstration, Anderson! 🙂 very funny....

    It's tonight's SHOT!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  34. Jacqueline, NY

    LOL! Anderson, you're funny. Maybe Johnson was on something.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  35. Debbie Starling


    Where were this young girls PARENTS? I pick my daughter up from school every day and I can tell by the way she walks to my car if she has had a good day or a bad day. We live 30 mins from the school and in that 30 mins I ask her at least 5 questions about what happened in school today. I can tell by her responses if I need to continue to ask questions or not. The parents are NOT exempt from the blame.

    Debbie Starling

    April 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  36. Deb

    My daughter was bullied in middle school...spent many hours telling administrators and teachers we finally handled it ourselves...I supported my daughter and stayed close she finally stood up to her and it ended but the bully turned her focus to someone else...my daughter felt awful for the new target and helped her to get through it. The saddest part is that when we asked for help it somehow was turned around on to my daighter like she was instigating and enabling but NOTHING was ever done to this bully

    April 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  37. Nicole from the Netherlands

    @Bonnie, thank you for being an involved teacher..

    April 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  38. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    There are victims all around.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  39. Gail

    I am still trying to gather all the facts about this sad story. What I do not understand is why the school personnel and administrators are being grilled so intensely for this. I think the parents of the bulliers should be held more accountable than the school. It would not be surprising if this bullying was going on far beyond the walls of the school. Kids are texting 24-7 and are on facebook about as much. I hope those kids get convicted and get handed a harse sentence. They certainly deserve it..that much is undisputed.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  40. Dawn

    Bullying has gotten out of control and, after watching children close to me go through it personally and being required to move schools because of it, at age 9, it is very apparent that it can be controlled by the administrators and the "culture" they cultivate. At the 2nd school, there was a complete ZERO tolerance program and it was the bullies that were made fun of and called out. However, it was due to early and constant reminders of non-bullies to band together and not tolerate it.

    It has to end.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  41. michael armstrong sr.

    Reform Schools can be an option .

    April 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  42. Omar Haleem

    Hi Anderson, My question is, when the School head took 'strict' action with Phoebe's bully's..did he have Phoebe talk to a student Councellor?..usually there are Psychologists for students who face discrimination or have personal issues who are at hand whenever there is anything wrong..why was'nt Phoebe given that option. she would obviously not confide to a male..was there a female child councellor?..if not..then why?..why was'nt she referred to one?..and were her parents informed?

    April 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  43. Mary Crawford

    Please give the dates that the student and /or her parents reported the incidents.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  44. Jerry

    My wife and family lived on Guam for 3 years. We experienced earthquakes and typhoons. Guam is still there – it didn't sink or blow away. This Congressman is clueless!!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  45. John

    What ciould be so bad? Feeling worthless and helpless for one when those who are responsible for your safety and well-being do nothing but watch

    April 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  46. Vic Valentic

    As a person with disabilities, I used to be bullied when I was in school. I'm so mad at these schools that had done nothing to stop bullying the students. These boards need to have a clear policy on bullying!

    April 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  47. A. Smith, Oregon

    Why would American taxpayers continue to pour hundreds of Billions into useless and meaningless military bases around the world like that in Guam, Okinawa et. al. The Cold-War is over, the pentagon propeller heads should retire and retire many of the 700 overseas bases also.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  48. Barbara

    Barbara C is one of the finest experts in the area of Bullying.

    We have been watching her here in Canada for many years. She has been at the forefront of identifying bullying and offering education.

    Bullying is just horrible and leaves scars for the rest of the child's life. The Schools and parents need to take it seriously.

    Thanks Anderson and CNN for your series on Bullying.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  49. Donald

    If these school officials were doing their jobs with their eyes open and their ears to the ground, as we expect them to, it wouldn't take two weeks for them to learn that a student is being severely bullied, let alone three months. A high school is not a place where secrets are well-kept for long. They knew.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  50. Pamela W

    Hello Anderson I feel sorry for the childern who lost their lives. My child is are victims of bullying. My oldest child has been bullied since 6th grade and my youngest child it just started. Bullying is so sad.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
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