South Hadley school officials said they have been reviewing new information released by the district attorney in the Phoebe Prince case and they have "taken disciplinary action against an additional small group of students and they have been removed from the high school."
The announcement came today in a news release issued by Christine Sweklo, assistant superintendent of the Hadley Public Schools.
Prince, 15, is thought to have committed suicide after allegedly enduring online and in-school abuse from her classmates at South Hadley High. The incident has sparked widespread, heated discussion of the problem of bullying in schools.
Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel announced Monday that nine teenagers were being charged in the case, with crimes ranging from criminal harassment and civil rights violations to stalking and statutory rape.
Sweklo said in her email that officials continued to work with an anti-bullying task force to review policies, programs, and procedures. She noted that all "bullying/harassment reports" and the responses taken by officials are now electronically logged in.
"Over the coming weeks, we will continue to review the information and evidence provided by the District Attorney’s office and will provide periodic updates," Sweklo said.
Superintendent Gus Sayer said last month that a small number of students had been disciplined and the students "will not be returning," though he declined to specify who the students were or say if any of them had been expelled.
Scheibel faulted officials at the high school in her announcement Monday, saying her probe had determined the harassment of Prince had been "common knowledge," contrary to administrators' previous assertions that they had been unaware of problems until her death.
Scheibel said a three-month campaign of "verbally assaultive behavior and threats of physical harm" culminated Jan. 14 in a day in which the Irish immigrant was taunted in the hallways and bombarded with vulgar insults. As she studied in the library during lunch, the accused students allegedly hounded her openly while other students and a teacher looked on.
Later that day, she hanged herself in a stairwell at her home.
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