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Phoebe's dad describes to Herald agony of losing her to the bullies

TRAGIC teen Phoebe Prince's father has revealed his agony after he learnt of his daughter's suicide.

In an exclusive interview today, Jeremy Prince has criticised the US school where Phoebe was bullied, saying they "did everything wrong".

But the devastated father says he can "forgive the bullies" who made his 15-year-old daughter's life a nightmare.

Mr Prince, patron of the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC), said he fears more lives will be lost because of the effects of bullying.

Phoebe, originally from Co Clare, was found hanging in her US home following a relentless campaign of intimidation at her secondary school in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Phoebe's now 15-year-old sister Lauren found her sister hanging on the stairwell with the scarf she had given her for Christmas.

Her death led to six teenagers being charged with criminal offences.

In his first newspaper interview, Mr Prince said the death has left a "heavy hole in my heart".

He told the Herald: "Phoebe was a special child. She had dreams of becoming a writer."

The brave father was in Dublin where he is spear-heading an anti-bullying campaign.

He broke his long-running silence on the "devastating manner" in which the school authorities responded to Pheobe's death.

South Hadley High School refused to cancel a major school dance held just two days after she died.

And shockingly, we can reveal that the authorities made details of Phoebe's death public before even informing the entire Prince family.

An emotional Mr Prince said he holds the school fully responsible for Phoebe's death, warning that there will be more young people to lose their lives because of bullying.

"There will be more children like Phoebe unless we act fast. That's why the work of the NABC is simply vital. But we need proper support," he said.



Devastating

Mr Prince, who lives in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, broke his silence on the "devastating manner" in which the school authorities dealt with Phoebe's death.

District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel, who investigated the case, described the "actions, or inactions," of some adults at South Hadley High School" as "troublesome".

Mr Prince said: "I've never spoken about South Hadley High -- the school that did everything wrong. The school didn't want to know about Phoebe's bullying. It was classic that still months afterwards, the school administrator and the headmaster were saying: "Nobody saw anything, we didn't know what was happening".

He added: "The school released Phoebe's name to the press the night she died -- before members of her family even knew. The media knew that Phoebe died before her older sister did.

"They then proceeded with the big school dance, two days after she had died. The level of insensitivity was simply unbelievable."

Mr Prince said that he was extremely frustrated by the school's attempts to deny that they had done anything wrong. He said they didn't seem like a school that was overly concerned by the death of a child.

Six teenagers stood trial accused of bullying Phoebe in the weeks and days before her death. Great focus has been paid to two male students at South Hadley High -- Austin Renaud and Sean Mulveyhill -- who Phoebe had shared relationships with.

Both were charged with statutory rape, which were later dropped.



Torment

Female rivals at the school then proceeded to torment Phoebe. They branded her an "Irish slut" and a "whore".

Even after Phoebe's tragic death, bullies took to social networks, posting messages such as "done" and "she got what she deserved".

Mr Prince said that he and his family believe the school "turned a blind eye" to the fact Phoebe was four years younger than the two male students she shared relationships with.

hnews@herald.ie


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