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Friends denounce Phoebe Prince article

Family friend suggests controversial article will influence jury.

In this Jan. 15, 2010 photo, flowers are attached to a fence outside the home in South Hadley, Mass., where Phoebe Prince, 15, originally from Ireland, had killed herself the previous day.
Image: AP Photo/The Republican, Dave Roback

FAMILY FRIENDS OF Irish schoolgirl Phoebe Prince, who committed suicide in January, have reacted angrily to a piece posted online yesterday by Slate magazine.

The piece, entitled “Was Phoebe Prince Once a Bully?”, suggested that Price had bullied girls in the school she attended in Ireland before moving to the US with her family.

The article says:

In seventh grade in Ireland, she acted like a bully, not a victim. This doesn’t change the fact that Phoebe was later bullied herself, or that this bullying was wrong. But it does add yet another layer of complexity to her story, one that speaks to the universality and fluidity of kids’ bad behaviour.

Six high school students from the Massachusetts school Prince, 15, was attending have been arrested in connection with her death.

Family friend Darby O’Brien said he doesn’t see what Ireland has to do with the situation in South Hadley.

He suggested that the article is part of a ploy to poison potential jurors against the prosecution in the case against the students charged in the US.

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A second friend told the Boston Herald that the Slate article’s author had crossed a line in her portrayal of the troubled teen:

This is just tabloid blogging. She’s doing it for her own fame and glory.

A pre-trial hearing for three of the teens charged in connection with Prince’s death is scheduled for 15 September.

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