In the aftermath of the Phoebe Prince tragedy, a supportive teacher is bullied out of her job

When will they ever learn?

After South Hadley, Massachusetts high school student Phoebe Prince took her own life following a brutal campaign of bullying by her classmates in 2010, one of her supportive teachers — Deb Caldieri — was bullied out of her job by principal Dan Smith and other school administrators.

Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen shares the story (link here):

Her name is Deb Caldieri, and she has been driven from the school as surely as Phoebe was hounded to the grave. Her career and her health have been ruined.

This being South Hadley High, she has suffered all this mostly because she had the temerity to question the way her superiors handled the whole mess.

She didn’t follow the party line at South Hadley High, which from the beginning was to blame Phoebe and excuse the bullies. Phoebe was the outsider, the clueless blow-in from overseas who brought all her troubles on herself. That was the party line.

Cullen’s full column is worth your click-and-read, as he goes into considerable detail about how Caldieri was booted around and now finds herself in a nursing home, struggling to recover her health.

Those familiar with severe workplace bullying and dysfunctional organizations will nod heads in recognition.

Tip of an iceberg

The terrible story of Deb Caldieri should be understood in its broader context: Principal bullying of schoolteachers is a serious problem.

Education professors Joseph and Jo Blase have documented this phenomenon in their groundbreaking 2002 book, Breaking the Silence, Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers (reviewed here).

In addition, the National Association for Prevention of Teacher Abuse (link here) is dedicated to addressing these behaviors through public education and advocacy.


Related posts

I have written extensively about the Phoebe Prince suicide on this blog. For links to additional articles, please go here.

3 responses

  1. My daughter was to have an interview, today, at a local HS to do her student internship this next fall semester. He abruptly cancelled leaving my daughter to reschedule. As a parent overly knowledgable about bullying in the workplace this story takes on a more personal dimension. I can only hope that Deb Caldieri’s suffering will aid us in our work for the Healthy Workplace Bill.

  2. If in our working together we are able to make something good come out of the suffering perpetrated upon us then our suffering and actions will not have been in vain. Bullying must stop. The world will be a better place for our children.

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