On May 3, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signed the state’s first anti-bullying law, four months after the suicide death of Phoebe Prince, 15, of South Hadley, Massachusetts. Prince committed suicide after alleged months of torment by her fellow high school students.
Prince’s death in January—followed by media reports detailing the relentless bullying she endured before ending her own life—thrust the age-old problem of bullying back into the national spotlight, prompting the questions, “Why didn’t anyone stop the bullying? Could this child’s suicide have been prevented?”
Bullying and other forms of violence—from fighting to weapon use—can happen in any school in any community. In most cases, there are bystanders who see violence happening and hear about it before it occurs.