Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume XIV: Beating Back the Bullies Edition

Bullying.  It seems to be a perpetual nightmare only exacerbated when a child has special needs.  While taunting is a part of every childhood, bullying threatens, intimidates, and can literally make a person shut down.

Since this is such a pervasive problem, with schools, advocacy groups, and even news media giving great attention to the issue, one would think that a school administration would be eager to quickly squelch any activity that clearly reveals bullying taking place.  But not this week's winner.

Are you SERIOUS?!

Image Courtesy of Facebook
As last week's winner was being announced, I was read news of 15 year old special needs student, Christian Stanfield, being arrested for capturing his bullies via recording on his iPad.  It seems that the young Mr. Stanfield resorted to this measure to assure his mother that he wasn't inventing stories of being bullied and abused by fellow students at South Fayette High School in Pennsylvania.  Only after he felt nothing was being done about previous incidents involving purposely tripping him, slamming books into his head, and nearly being burned by a cigarette lighter did this student resort to capturing these other students via audio recording.

When his mother arrived to meet with the principal regarding her son's tormentors, she was instead stunned to discover that the principal had referred her son to the police for felony wiretapping because of the recording.  In other words, instead of these deviant students being punished -- the very kids who were heard on audio threatening to pull down Stanfield's pants, spewing every sort of vulgarity, and mocking him right in front of a do-nothing teacher -- the principal, police officer and court all saw fit to further torment the one being bullied without intervention.  While it is true that consent must be given from both parties involved in a recorded conversation in the State of Pennsylvania, a lack of wisdom and discretion clearly prevailed in this instance.

Thankfully, the criminal disorderly conduct charges were eventually dropped.  It is good to know that there is at least one adult in the Allegheny County district attorney's office with some shred of common sense.
To her credit, Christian's mother, Shea Love, did a pretty remarkable job of keeping her composure and did the right things in this situation.  The Mama Bear in me would have had heads rolling if this were my school district, not to mention a lawsuit underway.  At the very least, Ms. Love is considering transferring her son to another school for the next academic year.  Let's all pray that no matter what her decision, this is the end of her son receiving such treatment in ANY school.

~ Barb Dittrich

Read more at: Special-Ed Student Who Recorded Bullies Accused of Felony Wiretapping 
Teen punished for recording bullying against him
Criminal charge dropped against Pennsylvania bullying victim with learning disability who recorded his abusers
*Do YOU have a nominee for a future "Are You SERIOUS?" Award?  E-mail us a link to the story with any of your own personal insights to 

1 comment:

  1. This is within miles of my house! It is a travesty and proof positive that we live in a mad, mad world! Everything is on its head when bad is labeled good and the reverse! I'm so glad tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday - That's the ONLY hope we have to offer such a world of darkness!