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    Another four letter “S” word to stop using

    Date: 09.07.12 | by Judge Tom.

    By now you have undoubtedly heard of Phoebe Prince. Phoebe was a 15-year-old freshman at a high school in Massachusetts. New to the school and the U.S., Phoebe was immediately pegged as an “Irish slut” for having the nerve to date an upper-classman. After months of face-to-face bullying that turned to cyberbullying in a matter of time, Phoebe hanged herself following a particularly hard day at school.

    Researchers who have studied adolescence and bullying agree that it’s not young teens’ sexuality that gets them bullied, but their “gender expressions.” It comes down to “You’re not acting like a girl is supposed to act,” as reported by Live Science in November, 2011. “Their peers know what kinds of words to use to hurt them,” commented psychologist Maureen McHugh of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Girls are labeled a “slut” although they aren’t sexually active – bullies use the word because they know it works.

    Ashlynn Conner

    A tragic example of the use of “slut” occurred in Illinois in November, 2011. Ten-year-old Ashlynn Conner had been bullied for the past two years at school. Peers of the fifth-grader repeatedly called her a slut, fat and ugly. The honor student decided to end her pain and hanged herself in a closet at home. These are difficult stories to report and are preventable if we stop to think about the consequences of our speech and actions torward others. We must become a kinder society so every Phoebe and Ashlynn can reach their full potential.  Think B4 U Click, Send or Post!!!

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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