I was going to make a colourful post titled “I Could Have Been Your Friend” but I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait. While going through my Google Alerts on bullying, I read about an event that has me spitting bullets. Recently, in Pennsylvania, a boy was being bullied in school. He went through the proper channels of telling the school and his mother who also went to the school but the bullying issue was never dealt with. So, the boy, using a school iPad, recorded the bullying he was enduring and showed it to school officials.
Now, you would have thought that with this concrete evidence against the bullies, the school would have taken swift action here. Well, it did. The principal called in the police to deal with the situation, so the bullies were going to be arrested, right? Wrong! The police came in on the advice of the school and dutifully arrested the victim of the bullying for violating Pennsylvania’s wire tapping laws. The victim was interrogated by the police officer with the principal and assistant principal in attendance. Then, not knowing what to charge the boy with, the police officer sought advice from the District Attorney who informed the officer to charge him with violating wiretapping laws. The boy was then brought before a judge who could find no wrongdoing in regards to the school. The article I read doesn’t give the sentence handed down to the boy by the judge, but he was found guilty.
What a travesty of justice! All the boy was doing was trying to stop the bullying he was suffering and when he submits proof of it, he gets bullied again by the very people who were supposed to be supporting him. The bullies are probably not only laughing their heads off on account of their victim getting in trouble, they are also rubbing their hands with glee whilst scheming more hell they can inflict on this poor lad. I wonder if these bullies had taken a cell phone and filmed the bullying of this boy and then put it on YouTube, would they have been charged?
I thought knuckle head behaviour by authority figures such as this only existed in the UK. One of the reasons why I don’t go back to full time teaching is that I am still upset about an incident where a supply (substitute) teacher assisted in a TV documentary by going into classrooms with a hidden camera filming what classrooms can be like. Especially how supply teachers can be easily targeted by pupils without consequence. You thought this teacher would have gotten some sort of recognition for her efforts but no, two years later, she was struck off by the General Teaching Council for breaking the pupils’ trust. Even though the British High Court ruled that showing the documentary was in the public interest, the GTC stated that public interest wasn’t a good enough reason for what she did. But now, I see that such silly decisions by those in authority exists in the US as well and I don’t mean the religious fanatics either.
Thinking in relation to “He Was Weird,” I wonder if there is some of the small town corruption that Mark faces with the local police and school in the story. His plight goes ignored because some of the bullies are popular jocks and as far as the police go, one of the bullies is the chief’s nephew. Therefore, I can’t help wondering if one of the reasons why the school and the police acted in the way they did was because one or more of the bullies was one of the popular jocks or had an influential parent. It’s no excuse and my sympathies will always remain with the victim.
Next post: I Would Have Been Your Friend, if another topic doesn’t come up first.