It's official. Nine teens from South Hadley High School have been charged in the bullying suicide death of Phoebe Prince. You'll no doubt remember from media stories and other blog entries here about how the young Massachusetts student hanged herself last January after continued vicious taunting at the hands of classmates.
The indictments are pretty strong, considering the age of the perpetrators, but it's in keeping with the new Massachusetts anti-bullying law, now before the legislature. Educators, parents and lawmakers are getting increasingly concerned about the amount and degree of school-based violence occuring and so have stepped up their efforts to pass this new law.
I think it's great that they're taking it seriously enough to take it to the State Capitol, but do you really think a LAW, by itself is going to stop the bullying epidemic? There's a law against carrying unregistered and unlicensed guns, too, but how much has that impacted street shootings?
Again, I was reminded of the school superintendent's comments a few weeks back about how schools already have mandated bullying programs in place, so, the implication was that they were doing everything they could to fix the problem. Only, it isn't working so well, is it?
There ARE better solutions out there but either 1) they aren't known or 2) schools feel they can't afford to do more than what's already in place, regardless of whether or not that works. To me, allowing this kind of problem to continue, in spite of all the evidence that the problem isn't going away...THAT is what's criminal.