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School Puts Kids on a Student-Created Bully List

253675985_54d3a2ce99When Phoebe Prince committed suicide, attention turned to the teenagers who relentlessly bullied her and to school officials, who some say saw what was happening and did nothing to stop it.

In response, schools across the country are taking a harder look at their bullying policies and making changes to prevent the same kind of tragedy from happening in their district.  In one Spencer, Massachusetts school, parents are complaining school officials went too far when they created a bully list.

At the Wire Village School in Spencer, MA, teachers asked the kids to write down the names of students who had bullied them, pulling together a master “bully list.”

The top offenders, including 11-year-old Tom Gebo, were given a new set of rules to follow. “I had to stay in for two weeks — morning recess, lunch recess. I had to report to a teacher after I did anything. If I went to the bathroom, I’d have to report to my homeroom teacher,” Tom told local station WHDH.

That’s when the tables turned, and bully became the bullied. Tom says kids teased him for being on the list and told him that they wouldn’t be his friend anymore. “I know how it feels now… I think bullying is a bad thing and being bullied is an even badder thing,” Tom said.

A little schoolyard justice went a long way in teaching Tom some empathy. But did school officials go to far? Gebo’s mom, Danielle, is furious, and is demanding that the principal of the school be fired. Instead, Superintendent Dr. Ralph Hicks says that teachers have been asked to “cease and desist” with the bully list, and that training and discipline guidelines are being developed.

Watch Tom and his mom in the video at CNN.com, then tell us what you think.

Photo: chefanden, Flickr

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