A note from the author: I am finally breaking my blog silence. Part of the reason I had stayed silent and not written very much at all stems from school and personal issues. As to the other reasons… well, truth be told, I was trying to refrain from writing about negative things. Heck, I even gave up sharing bad news on my Facebook page for Lent (with certain caveats in place)!
However, recently something came to my attention, and it is angering me to the point to where I am, as I said, breaking my silence.
Now, given the tone I’ve made regular use of in most of my columns, I know that some of you may find it hard to believe me when I say that there are few things that make me angrier than when I come across a case in which the victim is being punished instead of the aggressors.
Unfortunately, this was the case in a pretty recent incident in Pennsylvania.
A 15-year-old Sophomore named Christian is a student at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania. He is also a special-education student. He had been the victim of daily bullying at the hands of his math classmates. Not surprisingly, the “authorities” at the school weren’t doing anything about it.
In his frustration, Christian took matters into his own hands and recorded a 7 minute clip of the bullying on his iPad. In his position, I more than likely would have done the same exact thing.
Now, when the school officials caught wind of what he recorded, what did they do? First, they forced the victim to delete the recording. And instead of punishing those bullies, they chose to further turn the screws on him, by turning him into the police. Superintendent Billie Pearce Rondinelli and Principal Scott Milburn decided that Christian had (possibly) violated wiretapping laws.
Christian had initially been slapped with two charges- disorderly conduct and illegal wiretapping. Happily, Judge Robert Gallo tossed the wiretapping charge out; in fact the officer who issued that citation could not be reached by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office.
Not so happily, the disorderly conduct charge stuck, and Christian was convicted of this. He was ordered to pay a fine of $25 plus court costs. He and his family are appealing the verdict and sentence. There is also a possible lawsuit in the works.
I truly wish I could I was surprised about all of this, but the truth is, I simply can’t. Disgusted? Obviously. Angry? Yes. I have seen too many cases of the victims being charged instead of the actual criminals. One reason I’m so angered by this is because it happened to me, too. Some of you may recall reading my column “I Am A Survivor.” In it, I detailed some of the abuse I had gone through at the hands of my ex-husband. I was arrested and charged with domestic violence, even though I was defending myself.
But, I digress a bit. Bullying seems to be getting worse and worse, especially with the ever-growing advent of technology and new ways to utilize the plethora of social media sites and platforms. And with all of this comes more and more school staff members deciding to act like ostriches and stick their heads in the proverbial sand.
Wait… I probably shouldn’t insult ostriches like that, should I?
And to be completely candid, I’m not sure what bothers me more- the fact that those a-holes at the school chose to ignore the real crime here, or that they turned Christian in; when in all actuality, they virtually left him with no choice but to record the torment. While I’m happy that the wiretapping charge didn’t stick, it is beyond maddening to see that he is still punished for doing nothing wrong, yet his aggressors were not punished. It’s quite disgusting to see that our skewed “justice” system has once again failed a victim.
I can only hope that Karma pays them all a visit and soon.