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          Bullied to Death

          April 08, 2010

          The suicide of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince has rocked the Massachusetts town of South Hadley and shined a spotlight on the increasing problem of school bullying. How many more young people have to suffer in silence at the hands of bullies? The alarming rise in the number of teens taking their own lives is leaving parents desperate for answers. Could you be missing cues that your child is in trouble? Do you know what is happening at your child’s school? This is a call to action for parents, teachers, students, school administrators, coaches and anyone who is charge of the care of children ” bullying must be stopped.

          The Phoebe Prince Tragedy
          Parents and family of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince say she was tormented for nearly three months with verbal abuse and threats of physical harm that eventually led to her suicide in January. They believe teachers knew and did nothing. Educator and author Barbara Coloroso shares what she learned on her visits to Phoebe’s high school. And, hear from the Prince family spokesperson, Darby O’Brien.

          “They could’ve stepped in and stopped this. They just didn’t do it.” 

          Dashed Dreams

          Patricia, 15, says she knows what it feels like to be bullied and harassed. The taunting and the threats began because Patricia was dating a senior boy. When her best friend, Brittne, 18, came to her aid, the bullies then turned on her. Their families took drastic action to keep their girls safe and paid a high price.

          “We lost it all.” 

          A Cry for Help

          Recently, Dori’s 13-year-old daughter wrote a three-page suicide note because she was tired of being picked on. Hear an excerpt from the heartbreaking letter. And, Dr. Phil talks with the mother of the troubled teen and the superintendent of her child’s school district.  

          “‘Emo, freak, goth girl, whore, slut, fat; These were drenched onto me every day.'”  

          Safe Schools Improvement Act

          Eleven-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover was told he had to eat lunch with his bully every day for a week to work things out. Carl couldn’t imagine it and took his own life. His mother, Sirdeaner, is working to sponsor a federal anti-bullying bill.

          “I failed as a parent. I failed to protect my child.” 

          A Bully’s New Weapon

          Tom Jacobs is a retired family court and juvenile judge and author of Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. He speaks about the new way bullies attack their targets and what parents need to know. Plus, a school counselor in Santa Clarita, California has a unique way to catch a bully. Could this be a solution to part of the problem?

          “This needs to be a part of the curriculum, where we learn again how to treat each other with dignity and respect.”

          Final Thoughts

          Over the eight years of his program, Dr. Phil has featured many heartbreaking stories like Phoebe’s, such as Brandon, Corrine and Megan. “None of this has to happen,” Dr. Phil says. “We have to answer the call to action. We have to petition our schools, our police, everybody, to do something about this. I want to continue to sound the alarm that bullying is not OK. It’s not just kids being kids … Bullying is a reality that must not be ignored by anyone. Phoebe’s death is a tragedy that could have been prevented. It’s time that students in schools hold themselves accountable for what’s going on in their academic community.”

          Phil in the Blanks – The Podcast

          Related Resources

          •  The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander
            by Barbara Coloroso 
            Reprinted by permission of the publisher Harper Paperbacks, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
          • Teen Cyberbullying Investigated
            by Thomas A. Jacobs 
          • Jay McGraw’s Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies
            by Jay McGraw 
            Click here to purchase your copy!
          • If a friend or loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, reach out for help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

          Special Thanks

          • Darby O’Brien
          • Barbara Coloroso
          • Judge Tom Jacobs
          • Steve Paterson
          • Kim Goldman
            Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project

          Dr. Phil’s wardrobe by:
          GLENN LAIKEN
          Knoxville, Tennessee

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