Phoebe Prince: a 'Mean Girl' Turned Victim

Her sad and tragic tale gets sadder, more complicated
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2010 1:05 PM CDT
Updated Aug 21, 2010 11:40 AM CDT
Phoebe Prince may once have been a bully herself.   (

(Newser) – Until now, Phoebe Prince has been universally regarded as simply the victim in a tragic story, tormented by "mean girls" who drove her to commit suicide. But the real story is more complicated, and even more tragic, as Emily Bazelon reveals in her continued in-depth look at Prince's life for Slate. It turns out the girl who was called an "Irish whore" at her American high school once reportedly called a former friend back in Ireland a "Paki whore." The story of Prince, who turned from bully to victim, illustrates "the universality and fluidity of kids' bad behavior," Bazelon writes.

Parents and students at Villiers, the private school where Prince attended seventh and eighth grade, tell the story of a "very clever and really lovely" girl who got sucked into the "mob mentality" of bullying a former friend after a dispute over a boy. They made up "horrid songs" about her and called her a slut, the girl says; in social networking messages apparently sent by Prince, she calls the girl—once her best friend—"PAKITHINGY" and "paki whore." Even so, the girl and her mother don't blame Phoebe, and rather believe the school—like her eventual American high school—didn't do enough to help her.

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