Immigrant Teen Taunted by Cyberbullies Hangs Herself

In addition, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, in a new review of studies from 13 countries, found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide.

"The incidence of bullying is getting more and more frequent and takes lots of forms," said Herbert Nieberg, associate professor of criminal justice at Mitchell College in Connecticut and a psychologist who specializes in adolescents.

And when the bullying moves to the Internet, the trauma to the victim is "astronomically" escalated, according to Nieberg.

"In the old days kids would threaten to beat someone up, but now it's gone into the cyberworld," he told "Kids go on to Facebook because they get a wider audience than in the hallway."

Cyberbullying also appeals to the crowd instinct, according to Nieberg. "Everybody likes to watch the action. Why do three girls on Long Island beat up another young woman and put it on YouTube? They vicariously enjoy identifying with the aggressor."

Why some teens can survive their tormentors and others cannot depends on their self-image and psychological mood. "Anyone with a mood disorder is at risk," said Nieberg.

"The answer is vulnerability versus resiliency," he said. "Some kids are good copers."

But some advocates say Massachusetts, a typically progressive state, falls behind 37 other states that have taken action on school bullying. Several bills before the state legislature address school bullying.

House Bill 483, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of New England, would require schools to have anti-bullying training and procedures in place. It would also require districts to produce an annual report citing incidents for the state legislature and the department of primary and secondary education

"We take no comfort or false security that we grew up with bullying and what's the big deal, we survived," said Derrek Shulman, regional director of the ADL.

"Statistics show in a survey of fourth- and eighth-graders that a large percentage said they had been bullied or were bullied themselves," he told

"We know that bullies are more likely to get into trouble with narcotics and law enforcement and that the bullied suffer from self-esteem and there are significant repercussions on being productive members of the community," he said.


Students Hold Vigil

Meanwhile, hundreds attended a candlelight vigil organized by students on the South Hadley High School softball field the day after Phoebe Prince died.

Parents are also pushing to create an anti-bullying task force at the high school. But the first meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed for a month.

Prince's death notice in the Springfield Republican newspaper said she left three sisters and a brother.

Her family members, who couldn't be reached for comment, wrote that they had moved to South Hadley so the family could experience America.

"What her family and friends from both sides of the Atlantic grieve is the loss of the incandescent enthusiasm of a life blossoming," the notice read. "She enjoyed life with an energy only the young possess."

The national suicide prevention lifeline number is (800) 273-TALKTALK.

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