Facebook Bullying: First Phoebe Prince, Now Constance McMillen
Cyberbullying: Facebook Against Constance McMillen
The suicide death of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince had nationwide resonance when it was discovered that the teenager was relentlessly bullied on and off school grounds by a group of fellow classmates for months before her death. The bullying of Phoebe Prince, an immigrant from Ireland, has taken on many different forms ranging from verbal abuse to threatening text messages to bottles thrown at her on the way from school. But, one form of abuse used against the teenager involved social networks and took the form of cyberbullying. It is alleged Prince was bullied online via Facebook and Craigslist, making it hard for the 15-year-old to escape bullying any time of the day.
Now, another "social outcast" is being targeted on Facebook. Eighteen-year-old high school senior Constance McMillen from Fulton, Mississippi, made headlines last month when she asked for a right to go to her high school prom accompanied by her lesbian partner. To avoid controversy, the school officials opted to cancel the prom completely. But, McMillen felt she was discriminated against and filed with federal court, which eventually ruled that her rights have been violated. However, the court also ruled not to make the school re-instate the prom on the grounds that an "impromptu" prom would be organized by other students and their parents.
But yesterday, it was reported that McMillen was decoyed to attend a "fake prom," that only seven other students attended. The rest of the class was partying in a "secret" location that was not made known to McMillen.
This morning, a Facebook group titled "Constance quit yer cryin" has surfaced, counting close to 1,700 fans. There is no information about who started the group. CBS reports that intial posts made were directed against Constance McMillen, including the very first post that reportedly read, "Seriously, you've pretty much eff'd up your fellow classmate's best memory of High School."
But, unlike Phoebe Prince who was left one-on-one with her Facebook bullies, hundreds of McMillen's sympathizers logged in to voice in their support for Fulton teenager and disgust with group creators. The group has now been completely overtaken by McMillen's supporters who continue to post messages of encouragement, such as "People don't choose to be gay, but people do choose to be bigots" and "Whoever made this [group] should grow up."
Some of McMillen's supporters are calling for colleges around the country to revoke admission offers and scholarships from the students who attended the "secret" prom or started the hate group. Others are posting phone numbers of the school officials that have allegedly discriminated against McMillen, asking people to call in during business hours and express concern.
In addition, one member of the forum started posting photos that allegedly came from the "real" prom that Constance was not invited to. The authenticity of the photos has not been confirmed.