Alleged Teen Bullies Plead Not Guilty: 'What About the Adults?'

Prince family friend says South Hadley school officials were aware of bullying.

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 5, 2010, 5:36 PM

April 6, 2010— -- Three of the nine Massachusetts teens charged in connection with the suicide of a 15-year-old girl pleaded not guilty today through their lawyers.

Sean Mulveyhill, 17, and Austin Renaud, 18, were charged with the statutory rape of Phoebe Prince. Charges against Kayla Narey, 17, include civil rights violations and harassment.

Phoebe, a student at South Hadley High School, hanged herself at home Jan. 14 after a long period of what prosecutors called unrelenting harassment.

School officials should be held accountable for her death because they knew she was being bullied, a friend and spokeswoman for her family said earlier today.

"You've got a number of kids who've been charged with severe charges; what about the adults that supervised the school?" Darby O'Brien said today on "Good Morning America."

Nine students, including the captain of the high school football team, have been charged in connection with Phoebe's death.

O'Brien said school superintendent Gus Sayer, school committee chairman Edward Boisselle and principal Dan Smith "are clueless and they've been clueless since the beginning."

Sayer has maintained that the school only learned of the bullying shortly before the teen's suicide. The school board said it would review the evidence from the district attorney's investigation, which it said had not come to light in its own investigation.

O'Brien said today that Phoebe's aunt spoke to the school at the beginning of the year and that her mother, Ann Prince, "had been in in early November" to discuss the situation.

But since Phoebe's death, O'Brien said, "the superintendent has said they never heard from the Prince family ... they said that to me.

"I think what it gets down to [is], you had principal Smith conducting the investigation that involved him and his staff. ... It was slow to start fast to finish," O'Brien said. "The question the public has is, 'Who are you going to trust?'"

O'Brien also questioned why an emergency session of the school committee hasn't been called since the charges were filed.