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Friday 20 April 2018

Tragic Phoebe's parents settle school case

Louise Hogan

THE family of Phoebe Prince have reached a settlement on a discrimination complaint lodged against her school.

A lawyer for the parents of the 15-year-old, who killed herself after a campaign of alleged bullying, described the settlement as satisfactory but refused to reveal the details.

Her father, Jeremy Prince, a gardener from Co Clare, has said the culture was "wrong" at her South Hadley High School in the US state of Massachusetts. He added that his daughter feared the school might not act if she informed her parents about her alleged bullying, and it would get worse.

Phoebe apparently hung herself in January at her home in South Hadley after months of bullying and harassment. She had moved to the US a short time earlier from Co Clare.

Mr Prince and her mother Anne O'Brien filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in July. They accused the school system, the South Hadley school superintendent, principal and assistant principal of failing to protect her from discrimination that amounted to sexual harassment.

Paperwork lodged by the family lawyer last month, seen by the 'Boston Globe' newspaper, indicated a "satisfactory" settlement had been reached.

Six former students of the school have been charged in connection with her death. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors claim Phoebe was heckled, taunted and abused for months.

Documents filed in relation to the charges against the students give a glimpse of her last few difficult days.

They claim she was fearful walking in the school corridors and was followed into toilets by students who verbally insulted her and threatened her with violence.

The bullying allegedly involved two school cliques and began after Phoebe briefly dated a high school football player who was involved with another student.

Irish Independent

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