A CONTROVERSIAL new book which claims that the bullying suffered by Clare teenager Phoebe Prince was not the cause of her tragic death has been heavily criticised in America.
The book has been written by journalist Emily Bazelon from US online magazine Slate – who covered the death of the Fanore teenager in America in 2010.
In interviews last week, Bazelon claimed that the bullying suffered by the Fanore youngster was “not beyond the pale” and that other issues were the root cause of her death.
Phoebe Prince was bullied by two separate groups of students after she moved to South Hadley High School in Massachusetts in September of 2009. On January 14, 2010, after a day of bullying which included having a can thrown at her from a passing car, the 14 year old tragically took her own life.
The book, which is entitled “Sticks and Stones, Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” argues that bullying did not play a significant role in Phoebe Prince’s death.
The book has been roundly criticised in the media in Boston and elsewhere in America.
On March 29, 2010, Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel announced that six teenagers from South Hadley High School would stand trial for their part in Phoebe’s death.
On October of 2010 the Prince family reached an undisclosed settlement with the town of South Hadley. A family spokesperson said at the time that the settlement would help to put the tragedy behind them.
In May of 2011, the case was resolved, after agreements to plead guilty to lesser charges. Five of the defendants were placed on probation, with several also sentenced to community service.

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Andrew has been working in the media in the West of Ireland for more than a decade. During that time he has been shortlisted for many national journalism awards, served as a judge for the Choice Music Prize in 2008 and was part of the nominating panel for the Meteor Ireland Music Awards from 2008 to 2011. He holds an MA in Journalism and Public Relation and a BA in English, Sociology and Politics. He is currently working on his debut novel. A selection of his writings, including a number of short stories can be viewed on Where The Rain Falls at https://wheretherainfallslifeemerges.blogspot.com/ Follow Andrew on twitter: @Andrew_CPeople Contact Andrew on ahamilton@clarepeople.ie

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