Should we be criminalizing bullies?
My heart aches for the parents of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old Massachusetts high school student who committed suicide in January after being relentlessly bullied at school and online.
My heart aches for her younger sister, who found Phoebe hanging in the stairwell of the family's home. A scarf the sister had bought her as a Christmas gift was knotted around Phoebe's neck.
My heart aches for Phoebe, who arrived from Ireland last fall only to endure months of abuse from classmates at South Hadley High School, the apparent result of Phoebe's brief fling with a popular football player.
My heart aches, but I also question the wisdom of filing criminal charges against nine of Phoebe's former classmates, as happened last week. Bullying should be taken seriously -- by teachers, administrators, parents and, yes, fellow students. I'm doubtful, though, that criminal prosecution is the best way to punish or prevent it.