Student's suicide propels bullying law

Jan. 26, 2010 at 11:42 PM
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BOSTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Massachusetts legislators say the suicide of a high school student has given new urgency to a proposed anti-bullying law.

Sponsors of several bills are trying to merge them into a single measure, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. The Joint Committee on Education held a hearing on the various proposals in November.

Phoebe Prince, 15, a freshman at South Hadley High School who had recently moved with her family from Ireland, hanged herself Jan. 14. Investigators said she had been targeted by bullies who did much of their work through text messages and on Facebook.

Her family said harassing messages were posted even after her death on a memorial Facebook page.

"It's very clear we need to address cyberbullying,'' state Rep. Martha Walz, a Boston Democrat, said Monday. "It's part of school culture, even if it doesn't happen within the four walls of a school building.''

South Hadley has an anti-bullying policy, although the copy on the school Web site does not mention online bullying.

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