Teens Face Felony Charges Over Girl Who Committed Suicide

from the lori-drew-redux? dept

In a case that at least brings to mind the Lori Drew lawsuit, prosecutors in Western Massachusetts have figured out how to charge nine teenagers over the suicide death of a fellow student. Like the Drew case, there's an emotional issue here: which is that the bullying and the suicide are horrible stories, and it's a situation where certainly people have a natural inclination to want to punish someone. But it's a lot trickier than that. Punishing people because someone commits suicide sets a really dangerous precedent that could encourage more kids to commit suicide -- thinking that it will get their tormentors "punished." Now, there may actually be much more to this case -- and some of the charges at least suggest there's a possibility of additional activities, such as statutory rape, that happened with some of the teens. However, all of the news reports seem to focus on the fact that these charges were brought because of the suicide.


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    Pjerky (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 6:45am

    I think your concerns are overblown...

    Mike, you say that you are concerned that this new precedent could increase suicide rates in order to punish those that torment others. But what you are missing is that most kids want to SEE their tormentors punished. They can't do that if they are dead. This twist in logic, while a classic example of cutting off your hand to spite your finger, is I think going to be a rare occurrence in the minds of these children that are tormented.

    I speak from some experience because I myself was tormented as a child in school. While my friends and I certainly felt vindictive at times we never considered any extremes that could directly harm ourselves. No I think more than likely we will see more strong violent aggression against bullies than harming themselves.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:08am

      Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

      "But what you are missing is that most kids want to SEE their tormentors punished. They can't do that if they are dead. This twist in logic, while a classic example of cutting off your hand to spite your finger, is I think going to be a rare occurrence in the minds of these children that are tormented."

      I can share anecdotal evidence to the opposite. People who are suicidal are making emotional decisions, and logically it may make sense to them anyway ("it's the only way to end the pain"). Creating an impact on people is one of the desired effects, regardless if they aren't around.

       

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      Michael, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:25am

      Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

      You are assuming the people committing suicide are rational. If someone is seriously contemplating suicide because they are being tormented, the rational thought of wanting to "see" their tormentors punished is probably already out the window.

      I don't think we should condone behavior that contributes to someone committing suicide, but criminalizing people being jerks is probably not a reasonable solution. It is too hard to define being a jerk. If taste defines it, it should not be handled by the court system.

       

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        interval, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:12am

        Re: Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

        A person who actually goes so far as to off themselves probably have little that will set them over the edge, and online harassment is one of the least likely causalities in my mind. It takes very little effort to simply ignore what people online are commenting about you. Even with the fragile egos of teens.

         

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      Atkray (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:22am

      Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

      I think that many people will agree with you and want to SEE people punished. I also think there is a growing trend worldwide for people to want to become martyrs. By definition a teenager is a messed up mix of hormones and emotions, you cannot expect rational behavior from the victims or the tormentors. This is not to say that you won't get rational behavior, but having 6 kids with the last 3 as teenagers still at home it is my experience that you shouldn't hold your breath waiting for teenagers to do the correct thing. The will do the correct thing frequently, just never when the adults (parents, teachers, clergy) in their lives expect it.

      The root cause is adolescence, good luck fixing that.

       

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      Coughing Monkey (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:39am

      Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

      Sounds like you are among those who do not suffer from mental disease as do those who do commit suicide. In the throws of depression one does not see most situations with thoughts of straight logic. This is one aspect that helps the term "Twisted" enter into the realm of speech. In a depressed state of mind and being attacked by what seems like at the time the entire world or just by the part of it that surrounds one's life at the moment some of us just can not bare to go any farther through that darkness. And yes seeing that those who seem to be the cause of our feelings may get their justice once we are no longer here may give solace to some.
      been there still have the ragged t-shirt framed and hanging on the wall as a sign of courage that I made it through.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

      Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

      "...This twist in logic, while a classic example of cutting off your hand to spite your finger..."

      I'm sorry, did "nose" and "face" suddenly fall out of fashion?

       

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      greg.fenton (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:06pm

      Re: I think your concerns are overblown...

      To many troubled youth, the idea of "going out with a bang" is a wild fantasy. There is poetry and magic in the story that the school gets read a message from the anguished teen, bringing them all to tears and sudden realization of the errors of their ways.

      Of course, this is not how it happens. That note is never read (or tape never played), that blog entry is pulled down, or whatever. Even in the cases where the press picks it up and plays it over and over and over again...for two weeks...and then it fades into oblivion.

      The anguished teen does not see beyond the immediate and emotional impact of this fantasy. If they did, they would not consider suicide as a means to martyrdom. However, unfortunately, there are enough who cannot see beyond that wall of rage and potential flash of "genius".

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    And even the mother downplays the role of social networks, saying that her daughter suffered from depression prior to signing on to such sites.

    Still, as you point out with the statutory rape charge, there is certainly something more going on than mere online bullying.

     

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    Nathan, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:03am

    A horrible story all around. To be driven to suicide by bullying is sad. She must have suffered in ways not too many people can understand.

     

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      interval, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      "She must have suffered in ways not too many people can understand."

      If I had a dollar for every time I heard a similar phrase used in a teen suicide scenario. If she was raped, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish and that should be dealt with as a bonifide felony case. But to get a whole group of people in serious trouble because of anything they did online (short of ripping off a bank or what have you) smacks of the kind of voodoo politics you get with stuff like "hate speech". That's a slippery slope my friend.

       

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    Tom Landry (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:04am

    I read about this yesterday. I think this is a bit different in that these kids mentally tortured this girl almost every waking moment. The school and the parents were told about the situation repeatedly but failed to take action.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:07am

    fire.

     

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    Jake, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Something of a conundrum, isn't it? Making someone's life such an utter misery that they hang themselves could hardly be anything less than manslaughter, but proving that the perpetrators were the sole or primary agent of the victim's suicidal tendencies would be nigh-impossible, even in the rare cases where it's actually true.

    Though reading through the NYT article, I can't help thinking we're barking up the wrong tree here. What I want to know is why it took a fifteen year-old girl hanging herself before anyone bothered to notice this was going on?

     

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      SomeGuy (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:04am

      Re:

      What I want to know is why it took a fifteen year-old girl hanging herself before anyone bothered to notice this was going on?

      Bingo. The teens involved are most probably not "innocent" (especially if the rape bit is true), but I want to know where the "responsible" adults were in this situation, and why they're not being held responsible.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      I completely agree. This just goes to show you that teachers have much more to deal with than just teaching academics.I think that the whole system let the young girl down. The teachers and administrators failed. I think her parents may not have known about the way the school system works in NY if they were not Americans.
      I was bullied when I was younger.All the teachers knew as well as the principal but they did nothing to deal with it. Fortunately,some of the bullies moved away because they kept failing one got juvenile life for murder of the other bully,which was his supposedly friend.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    "Punishing people because someone commits suicide sets a really dangerous precedent that could encourage more kids to commit suicide -- thinking that it will get their tormentors "punished"".

    That would be a concern if they when serous punishment for such extreme cyber-bullying before the victim saw suicide as an 'option'.

     

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      Adam Wasserman (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:37am

      Re: Cyber(?!) Bullying

      I read the news story. It focused on physical violence. These were not cyber-books that were continually pushed out of her hands.

      This was not virtual sex that occurred with the two young men.

      A can of red bull to the head does not leave an online bruise or cut.

      So help me understand why this is all about cyber-bullying?

      Is that what *extreme* cyber-bullying is - when it spills over to real-life?

      Or is it the other way around - plain old real world bullying and violence spills over into twitter and facebook because everything a 16 year old does spills over into twitter and facebook?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Sue the school

    Where is the lawsuit against the school? It seems like the teachers or administrators were pretty seriously negligent here...

     

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      Known coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:55am

      Re: Sue the school

      I am Ok with prosecuting the kids, but i demand that the school adminstrators who did nothing are prosecuted as well. They as the adults are as responsible as the kids for not stopping the bullying.

      I hope the school district gets sued into receivership. Towns and school boards are responsible for the people they hire.

       

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      boost, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:31am

      Re: Sue the school

      I sort of agree.

      It does seem that the school administrators didn't take many of the actions conducted at school seriously enough.

      However, it sounds like much of the bullying was conducted away from school, which is a matter for law enforcement. While "bullying" isn't illegal, harrasement is and it can be enforced by the legal code.

      There were lots of failures here, not the least of which was the failure of this girl and her parents to learn how to cope in the face of destructive outside influences.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:50am

      Re: Sue the school

      Perfect. Sue the school. The institution with the least amount of money that more and more parents are forcing to do the job they should be doing. Great precedent.

       

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        alternatives(), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 6:13pm

        Re: Re: Sue the school

        If suing the schools is what it takes to have the staff do there damn jobs then sue away.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:50am

      Re: Sue the school

      Perfect. Sue the school. The institution with the least amount of money that more and more parents are forcing to do the job they should be doing. Great precedent.

       

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    reboog711 (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:20am

    Statutory Rape does not mean non-consensual Rape

    Statutory Rape does not mean non-consensual sex. I read an article about this and was left thinking that a lot of the details were missing before we could make a judgment.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:38am

      Re: Statutory Rape does not mean non-consensual Rape

      Yes it does. It means the under age party is not able to legally consent.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re: Statutory Rape does not mean non-consensual Rape

        True, in legal terms she "wasn't able" to consent, but that doesn't necessarily mean she was unwilling. More details would need to come to light before we can determine that.

         

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          dorp, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Statutory Rape does not mean non-consensual Rape

          "True, in legal terms she "wasn't able" to consent, but that doesn't necessarily mean she was unwilling. More details would need to come to light before we can determine that."

          The charges against the guy are in legal terms, so your pathetic defense for the act (18 year old guy and 15 year old girl we are talking about here) is not applicable.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Statutory Rape does not mean non-consensual Rape

            I'm not defending the act, I'm simply noting, as the OP did, that statutory rape doesn't necessarily mean non-consensual sex. If he'd been a few months younger, you couldn't call it statutory rape (in most states).

             

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    dorp, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:27am

    A different way of looking at it

    How about this Mike, instead of word "bullying" you think of what was done as "harassment." Then try imagining it happen at a work place. Now that you are not talking about "kids" and their kiddie "bullying" may be it will be easier for you to see what really is happening here. Criminal harassment IS an actual offense.

     

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      DS, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:37am

      Re: A different way of looking at it

      I was just about to post that... Harassment is Harassment no matter where it is.

      This case is a clear-cut case of systematic harassment that was overlooked by everyone with authority.

      The extent of this case is WAY beyond what ever happened in the Lori Drew case. This is more of a case of abuse then just being harassed.

      Prison is too good for the people involved in this.

       

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      Comboman (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:47am

      Re: A different way of looking at it

      Agreed, but whether or not the victim of the harassment decided to commit suicide should have nothing to do with the harassment charges.

       

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        dorp, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:50am

        Re: Re: A different way of looking at it

        Of course, but just because everyone noticed the harassment too late and suicide has occurred, doesn't mean that the harassers get a pass.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    What's Microsoft's take on all this?

     

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    Jesse, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    I agree with Mike. It sends the message that the victims of bullying will only get the help if they commit suicide first. Why no charges before the extreme measures?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:04am

    This is what happens when you have decades with out moral values being taught in the classroom. If we refer to the Ten Commandments as the Secularist List of Rules, do you think we could enforce them in schools?

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      I don't think that "You shall honer no god before me" would fit well in a government controlled public school. The first four (or three depending on religion) wouldn't fit in a public school.

      There is one thing that we could teach in schools that may instill respect in fellow men. The constitution and the bill of rights. The positive side of this is that it doesn't just say that "you shall not", it says that other people have the right to a happy life. That needs to be enforced in public schools.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:11am

        Re: Re:

        Our government seems intent on undermining and abolishing the Bill of Rights, though; doesn't look good as far as teaching them in school.

         

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      DS, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      As a Human, I can see, and understand how my behaviors have effects on others.

      As a Human, I don't need a list of things that cause harm.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      Religious schools have the same bullying problems. In fact, I stayed away from catholic schoolers in NYC because most of them were rude and abusive to panhandlers and buskers. Religion doesnt make a fucked up jerk-ass into a nice person.

       

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        Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:43pm

        Religious Bullies

        Most certainly those who claim to speak for god are often self righteous bullies.

        Think about this, it was not that long ago that pious bible thumpers would lynch a black person on Saturday night and go to church on Sunday. In fact, they are still doing this to gays.

        Ronald J. Riley,


        I am speaking only on my own behalf.
        Affiliations:
        President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
        Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
        Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
        President - Alliance for American Innovation
        Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
        Washington, DC
        Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

         

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    Neil (SM), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    increased suicides?

    re: "Punishing people because someone commits suicide sets a really dangerous precedent that could encourage more kids to commit suicide..."

    It's not that I agree with those prosecutions, but I think that's a big stretch, Mike. Also it seems conflicting to say on one hand that bullies aren't really responsible for suicides, then on the other hand claim that some legal policy can cause suicides.

    If you believe that generally suicide is a result or symptom of clinical depression or some other mental illness, that should apply to both situations.

    Nevertheless I think the bullies ought to be charged with some sort of assault & harassment (in addition to whatever rape charges apply), and should be punished. But not necessarily held responsible for the suicide. Although I could see some kind of "felony murder" charge applying to a similar case one day. Felony murder is generally charged when someone inadvertently dies as the result of someone's committing a felony.

     

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      SomeGuy (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:17am

      Re: increased suicides?

      The problem is that this legal policy provides potential suidide victims with stronger motivation for committing the deed. "Traditionally," the motivation has had to come down to "this is the only way to escape," but now you're adding on "this is the only way to get justice/help/revenge." That can be a lot more motivating, and whereas "escape" is mostly motivated by feeling of despair and depression, revenge can be motivated by anger. So you're effectively widening the pool of potential suicides by making it look more appealing to more people.

      I don't think the teens should get off either -- I think there's definitely real-world harrassment and assault charges here -- but I think there's a real danger with linking their punishment with the girl's decission to commit suicide. Her behavior isn't the kind we want to promote.

       

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    burgos, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    The Other Side

    'Punishing people because someone commits suicide sets a really dangerous precedent that could encourage more kids to commit suicide -- thinking that it will get their tormentors "punished."'

    Punishing people because someone commits suicide can cause people to think twice about tormenting others to the point of suicide; because punishment awaits the tormentors of people who kill themselves.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:32am

      Re: The Other Side

      And that says it's just fine to torment others to the point of breaking but not further. It also says that killing yourself is the only way to get the tormentor punished. Both vary, vary bad ideas to encourage.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:26am

    I think you must have not read the charges for this one Mike.

    It's not cyber bullying when someone gets raped or beaten, which I think is what the charges are.

     

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    Trails (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:05am

    Charging the wrong people?

    Quote from the ny times article:
    "It was particularly alarming, the district attorney said, that some teachers, administrators and other staff members at the school were aware of the harassment but did not stop it. “The actions or inactions of some adults at the school were troublesome,” Ms. Scheibel said, but did not violate any laws."

    Um, what? If adults, responsible for supervision and child safety, knew this was going on and did nothing, how is that legal?

    Further, how do those "educators" still have a job?

    It's entirely possible some of the teens charged deserve to be, but the people who oversaw this should be subject to discipline of some form.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 10:00am

      Re: Charging the wrong people?


      "It was particularly alarming, the district attorney said, that some teachers, administrators and other staff members at the school were aware of the harassment but did not stop it. “The actions or inactions of some adults at the school were troublesome,” Ms. Scheibel said, but did not violate any laws."


      The district attorney is just saying that the school administrators didn't commit any criminal offense, for which it is the district attorney's job to press charges.

      That doesn't mean that the school couldn't be held liable in a lawsuit in civil court, just that it isn't the DA's job to deal with that, only to figure out if they're guilty of a criminal offense.

       

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    Joel (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Sad

    What a horrible story; I don't see any possibility to convict anyone of the kids. The adults should be heading to trial for negligence.

     

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    Sorceress (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Punishment

    Bring back discipline to the schools and this might have been stopped after the first episode of "bullying". Why did teachers not respond by administering "swats" or other physical and publicly humiliating punishments to these bullies? Sorry. I realize that in these sensitive times we must not embarrass or otherwise disturb anyone's tiny little ego, but physical punishment works. It worked in the past and it will work now. Bring on the bed wetting crybabies who say spanking and other punishments are evil. Wrong! It takes care of the problem immediately and let's other would-be perpetrators know what to expect if they participate. This trend toward court and legal response to every problem is both stupid and ridiculous. While I am sorry for the family of this girl, I don't think that charging these teens criminally and potentially sending them to prison is the answer.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:22am

      Re: Punishment

      So... to teach kids to not hit each other, we hit them? That seems counter-productive at best.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re: Punishment

        "So... to teach kids to not hit each other, we hit them? That seems counter-productive at best."

        exactly, it is fear of consequences that that keeps most people, especially children who don't yet know how to live in society, in line.

        kids in public schools behave more like packs of wild dogs than human beings, similarly if doing something causes them pain they will stop doing it eventually.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Punishment

          But if authority figures have the right to inflict pain on others, you're simply teaching kids that it's OK to torment people who are under you, which only gives validation to bullies and implies that a good way to assert your authority/dominance on other kids is to inflict pain on them. They may come to fear (and/or hate) the school administrators who cause them pain, but that just means that they'll get better at hiding from them.

           

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      College Grad (profile), May 2nd, 2010 @ 7:55pm

      Re: Punishment

      A much better alternative is to "Ban" or "Blacklist" those "MEAN GIRLS" and other "Bullying Scum", for any and all school activities,such as;athletics;cheerleading;field trips;dances;and especially the Junior and Senior Prom!! Plus the Dean of Admissions to community colleges,universities,and tech schools,should be notified of their behavior,which in turn can at the Dean's discression,deny them admission to that facility!! And if they are admitted,those whom bully would be on "Probation",and one complaint would get them expelled!! "Double Secret Probation" anyone?!This is better than "Swatting',because these punishments have longer lasting effects,such as their victims get a shot at a Certificate" or Degree, while these "Bullies" and "Mean Girls", get to scrub toilets and/or empty bedpans in the local nursing home!! The impact of these consequences will last a lot longer,because they will be denied an education,and a decent paying job,with a future!!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 10:21am

    It is important to understand that bullying has and is a MAJOR problem in schools today. Regardless of your opinion that punishing the bullies won't do any good or even an idiotic idea that it might encourage more suicides, the fact is that if there are fewer bullies there will be fewer kids being tormented. If you believe that the threat of punishment without real consequences is a deterrent, or that a scolding is sufficient, then why are there jails and prisons? Too many people view bullying as a rite of passage, but that's probably because they have either never experienced it or they were themselves bullies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    columbine

    this new generation is over due for a columbine like event. something to put the fear of god in them like it did for my generation, and let them know that some times the kid they are tormenting doesn't commit suicide (which i'm sure gave them some chuckles), but grabs a gun and murders them and their pals.

    ~sympathy for the devil

     

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    Sad Child, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Sad but totally preventable...

    I see these stories and my heart goes out to them... but what I REALLY want to know is where were the parents? What were they doing? How was their relationship with the child?

    I was horribly tormented as a child about everything from my height, my looks, my accent and even my religion... I struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide.

    But I had a strong family relationship and that helped me to steer away from drastic action. Where are the families? Where are the parents? Take some responsibility parents and get involved in your children's lives.... it might save them!

    Pjerky - You are completely wrong. Most people - and I have talked to MANY - who are in those situations get to a point where they want it to go away... hence, the thoughts of suicide... Mike is right in saying that this is just the icying on the cake. If they can make it go away by committing suicide (their rationale at the time) AND there's a possibility that their tormenters may suffer... it makes it even more enticing.

    interval - Just because you think and act one way, doesn't mean the rest of the world thinks and acts the exact same way. You might be able to ignore words, sure.... given your upbringing, you choices... that's where you've come out. Different people have made different choices... who knows, unlike you, they might actually have developed empathy for fellow sentient beings.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    about 90 percent blame her wow you ppl amaze me
    you no what its like to have ppl in school abuse you every day , day after day week after week into months on ending ?
    because of what my last name spelled not what it meant i was a victim of those nasty ppl
    i quit school because of them and the teachers were happy i quit
    im sure they would have been in overjoyed if committed suicide and maby i should have as my life has been nothing but crap
    all i can say is i hope we get draconian laws on bullying
    weather online or in real life its about time someone said you know i dont care that these kids are kids they all participated in driving this poor girl to do the most drastic thing
    at least she didnt do a comlumbine where you blame those boys for the same damn thing , when it was the bullies that drove them too it !!

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      "you no what its like to have ppl in school abuse you every day , day after day week after week into months on ending ?"

      Yes.

      "at least she didnt do a comlumbine where you blame those boys for the same damn thing , when it was the bullies that drove them too it !!"

      Please, please remove your reproductive organs now. You should not reproduce.

       

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        Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:08pm

        Eunuchs ??

        Chronno S. Trigger says "Please, please remove your reproductive organs now. You should not reproduce."

        I would argue that Chronno S. Trigger and the boys should be turned in Eunuchs.

        Bullying is a huge problem and school administrators have a long history of not dealing with the problem. When a victim goes berserk and kills or some poor soul commits suicide those same administrators are quick to blame the child.

        Some people have been known to say that "Those who can do and those who cannot teach." While this is true of some teachers is is unfair to those who teach because they love to learn and to see others learn. My version of this is "Those who cannot teach become coaches and administrators."

        I am a big believer in a universal public education but I am also profoundly disappointed with our public schools.

        In the end blame for the problem lies at the feet of incompetent and uncaring administrators. It is their fault that this situation was allowed to escalate to this point.

        They and the school should be sued for this. The parents of the kids who persecuted the girl should be sued. The boys who used her should be turned in Eunuchs to ensure that they do not prey on other young ladies [ok maybe that is too extreme, but she is dead and all the perpetrators should be beat within an inch of their lives :)]

        Ronald J. Riley,


        I am speaking only on my own behalf.
        Affiliations:
        President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
        Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
        Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
        President - Alliance for American Innovation
        Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
        Washington, DC
        Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      I'd have rather read a story about her doing "a columbine" and murdering her tormentors. some one (her parents) should have taught her that when authority fails to protect you you have to protect yourself, not give in and suffer. any kid who is going to commit suicide because of bullies should kill the damn bullies first, and protect the next would-be victim.

       

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        Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:36pm

        Dealing with bullies

        I was asthmatic, scrawny and wore eyeglasses from five on. My interests were not the same as most kids and I was bullied for years.

        When I and my parents complained to the principle she said that boys would be boys and I would have to take my lumps like the rest.

        In sixth grade I decided I had had enough. By then I was really into science and I took a squirt-gun to school with diluted ammonia. When the bully and his support group stopped me on the way home from school I told him he better leave me alone or he would be sorry.

        He shoved me and I squired him in the eyes, kneed him in the most appropriate location and after knocking him down I spent some time jumping on the sob's chest.

        The next day the principle called my parents and I in to discuss expelling me. My parents explained that boys will be boys and they would sue the school if they expelled me.

        While from time to time some dim wad would threaten me no one dared to lay a hand on me from then on.

        From that day on I was defending other kids who were bullied and the bullies knew that I would fix their wagons if they took me on.

        That turned out to be great training for becoming an inventor, because big companies are bullies just like we had in school and just like school most people rationalize that the bullies would be allowed free reign.

        It is kind of neat that I am doing the same kind of work today which I did then, adjusting bullies attitudes, except today on a much larger playground.

        For one reason or another many kids march to a different drummer. They have a right to a good education free of being abused by the knuckleheads.

        Ronald J. Riley,


        I am speaking only on my own behalf.
        Affiliations:
        President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
        Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
        Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
        President - Alliance for American Innovation
        Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
        Washington, DC
        Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      "i quit school because of them and the teachers were happy i quit"

      You should have stayed in school.

       

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        Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re:

         

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        Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:58pm

        Staying in school.

        "i quit school because of them and the teachers were happy i quit"

        Based on the posters writing I wonder if they are ADD, Dyslexic, Asperger or suffer from some other affliction.

        Our brains are complex and different parts do not communicate well with each other. We see a large percentage of these issues in the inventor community.

        I have long suspected that some of our brains are wired differently and that is a big factor in the left handed approach which leads to inventors finding new and unexpected solutions to problems.

        This also plays a role in people being loners and the fact that they often simply do not fit well in society. Yet it is a fact that these people often go on to produce great things. They are a valuable resource and they need to be protected from majority dictatorships.

        Phoebe Prince probably fit this profile and it was the schools responsibility to have protected her. They didn't and now she is dead. That is BS of the worst kind.

        Ronald J. Riley,


        I am speaking only on my own behalf.
        Affiliations:
        President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
        Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
        Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
        President - Alliance for American Innovation
        Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
        Washington, DC
        Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:34am

      Re:

      "you no what its like to have ppl in school abuse you every day , day after day week after week into months on ending ?"

      Yes, and I still hold that her decision to kill herself was a poor choice and shouldn't be condoned or encouraged.

       

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      Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 10:08pm

      Re:

      Wha? 90%?

      Did anybody at all blame her?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Are there any pic's of her on the net ;-P

     

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    Ryan Diederich, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Hmmmmm

    I dont think the teens should get off without being reprimanded, but honestly...

    Everyone is a bully at one time or another. EVERYONE. There isnt a person on Earth who hasnt made fun of someone at one time or another. That being said, if these kids went above and beyond to harass her, they should be punished for it. Maybe not with felony charges, but something.

    Also, I dont understand the statutory rape charges. Are they saying that they found out someone had sex with her?

    Imagine a girl commits suicide, and she is underage. Police go out and find all the boys she has slept with, and arrests them for statutory. Anyone see something wrong here?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:57am

      Re: Hmmmmm

      For it to be statutory rape, she needs to be underage and they need to have been 18+ at the time; usually, it's 18+ and at least 3 years older. So, no, not all the boys would necessarily be up for statutory rape charges.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re: Hmmmmm

        it's 18+ and at least 3 years older. So, no, not all the boys would necessarily be up for statutory rape charges.

        No. You are wrong and it appears that you are doing it on purpose. Quite disgusting.

         

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    Ian (profile), Mar 30th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    It sounds like there were a lot of criminal actions going on, and that she had sought help about them long before the suicide. The suicide just got people to actually take her seriously. I agree that this is stupid, but not that they shouldn't take action--they should have been taking action long before this, and possibly preventing suicide.

    But this is pretty common, generally. You can get someone who has rifles and is crazily threatening the people at his old workplace, and often they don't get around to doing anything about it until the bodies start hitting the floor.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Was thier sexting involved. Maybe some naked pics of the buttocks?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

    If you read the article you will see that they aren't being prosecuted for the girls suicide, but for their actions that may have lead up to the suicide. The things that these other kids did passed the bounds of just bullying. As others have said, imagine this occurring on a job site. It rises beyond just "bullying" into criminal activities. Granted, it looks like the responsible people really dropped the ball here, but these kids really seem to have crossed the line.
    I'm a teacher, and it really is a different reality out there in the schools these days. It is not the same as it was 15 or 20 years ago.

     

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    The real issue, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:17am

    The REAL Issue

     

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    The real issue, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:18am

    The REAL Issue

    sorry bout that, but what is truly the real issue here is them there black folk

     

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    The real issue, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:18am

    The REAL Issue

    sorry bout that, but what is truly the real issue here is them there black folk

     

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    hickmaster, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:19am

    black people

    I reckon

     

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    hickmaster, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:19am

    black people

    I reckon

     

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    Augustus . Cornwall III, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:22am

    The REALr Issue

    It's be true you no theres no black in a rainbow?!?!

     

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    jimmy joe bob feller, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:25am

    .......

    I did hears what you gotsta say, and i must say that i have black in my family tree sir, and lemme tell yall something he's still hanging there. I tell you what.

     

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    hickmaster, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:26am

    black people

    I reckon

     

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    Leave Britney Alone, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:29am

    The REALr Issue

    LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!!!

     

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    jm2010, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    really

    are these kids serious are u that unhappy with yourself that you hjave to make a helpless girl who didn't do anything but want to be your classmate kill herself! and not only did you yourselves isolate her. you made the WHOLE ENTIRE school or the freshman class isloate her!!! like are kids furreal these day like do they know that it hurts to be picked on!! and now they have to live there whole entire lives knowing that they drived a girl to kill herself because of what they did! and that no matter what punishment the police give these girls and boys it will NEVER bring this girl back!!! NEVER ever ever!

     

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    Robert Utter, Apr 10th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    it happens

    just last night i had a friend try to commit suicide over online bullying...ive seen it first hand how bad it can be and yes the 9 kids from the story should be jailed as accesories to murder....my friend is currently in I.C.U and may not survive the night and if this happens I will push for charges to be brought up on her 5 top tormentors who all told her to do it before she did....all 5 of the heartless pricks told her to cut her wrists.....i hope they all burn in hell

     

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    ddladomgy, Apr 19th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    i think tht wht happened to this grl was horrible the people who were tormenting her deserve to be punished. and i dont think other kidz will kill themselves just to see their tormentors punished. most kidz i know are afraid to die.

     

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    Jack Mehoff, Apr 19th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Damn that bitch be crazy!!!

     

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    i have almost been there, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 8:39pm

    I am 13 and i have been bullied my entier school age life because i am diffrent and i am still geting tormented but i have to get through it and i wish if i had known that girl i could have helped and i pray for her family and to any one who is thinking about it dont ok it is going to kill your family talk to some one that might help just remember God is with you and alls you got to do is ask for help

     

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    Abigail Greene, Apr 26th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    cyber bullying...

    Slate Magazine has reader's comment forums. Go to The Best of the Fray and look for "Inkberrow" he's there every day and has a long record. Read his posts. they not only are devoted to the bullying of a group of posters but his rants sound like nothing else I've ever read. He puts Hannibal Lector to shame!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 7:41am

    they should really be charged with something because thats not rite.Some kids cant handle all the pressure that comes with the cyber bullying.

     

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    courtney, Jun 6th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    THROW THEM IN JAIL!!!!!

    Whoever caused this poor girl to commit suicide, should be thrown in jail, period. How could they be so cruel? Why do all kids have to do to someone? Do they think they will get joy out of making other's feel like shit? Do they think it will make them feel better and more popular in school? Oh yeah, I'm sure that the people at this girl's school are really proud of the people who drove her to her death.Whoever did this are the biggest peices of trash on earth. They deserve to suffer the way Lori Drew did. What assholes.

     

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    Devery Messer, Oct 25th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

    Fools

    You're all seeing yourselves as the expert on this subject. Have you committed suicide? No. You have no clue or even the faintest ability to comprehend the state of mind it takes to make that decision. Quit inflating your egos and trying to make yourselves feel better about the "Me" in your pathetic brains and STFU. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

     

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