Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Customer Service | Contact Us | Routes Available | All Access E-Edition | Home RSS

Schools mishandle bullying victims

April 18, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
Why has a Pennsylvania judge convicted a 15-year-old bullying victim of disorderly conduct for recording the bully in class? Apparently because it is against the law in Pennsylvania for someone to record a conversation unless both parties are aware they're being recorded.

In this one case, you'd think they'd overlook the letter of the law in favor of looking at why he recorded it, but apparently not.

The incident involved a 15-year-old boy at South Fayette High School in Pennsylvania. He recorded the bullying surreptitiously on his iPad and presented it to the school. Instead of helping him, the school authorities forced him to delete the video clip and reported his actions to the prosecutor, who threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping, according to the blog at Photography is Not a Crime at Instead, he was convicted of the lesser charge. This week, the charges were dropped after the prosecutor finally saw sense, according to a story at

The bullying this kid suffered is vile and all too common. It is the sort of treatment that can result in victims suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and years of failed relationships and suicidal thoughts many years after they have escaped their tormenters. The bullies themselves also often grow up to have similar mental health and relationship problems.

According to the boy's mother, who saw the deleted video clip:

"As the teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, "You should pull his pants down!" Another student replies, "No, man. Imagine how bad that (c***) smells! No one wants to smell that (t***)." As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, "What? I was just trying to scare him!" A group of boys are then heard laughing."

Also in the news this week is a story about a Lincoln, Neb. school that sent home a flier with fifth graders earlier this month advising them not to tell on bullies. Here are some of the other gems in this flier: "Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you. No matter how insulting or mean they may sound, be grateful and think they really care about you." How well do you suppose that would have worked for that poor kid in the Pennsylvania high school?

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the advice in the flier, which outraged parents of kids at the school, is similar to that given by a national bullying expert called Izzy Kalman. The story can be found at—63e58a52-21e8-59c9-8901-fcec37129b93.html

Yes, charging the victim with disorderly conduct or felony wiretapping and teaching him to internalize self-blame and loathing sounds like an excellent way for schools to head off bullying. Or maybe it's just easier for adults not to see what's really going on.


Article Comments



Apr-29-14 8:19 AM

What I find strange is that evidently one can use force to defend oneself, but one cannot use a camera to defend oneself.


Apr-20-14 8:03 AM

I get a kick out of this, some people are actually trying to become more civilized ( not act like animals) and want less aggressive actions out of the children but will turn around and vote to let some other Mother kill(abort) her unwanted child. It's like you all help take care of my kids but I don't care if you kill yours before they are born.

Happy Easter everyone and my sincere condolences to those who are missing loved ones at this time.


Apr-19-14 5:00 PM

I don't have a problem with the way you reported this situation, Andrea. We are all grownups and able to digest this information in order to comment.

It is unfortunate that some kids are subjected to this. Yes, it does follow people years after the bullying, years after school is finished. I have a friend who was bullied - I guess we called it "teased" back then. There have been long term effects. It's a shame.


Apr-19-14 1:50 PM

If someone chooses to use vulgarities and profanity in a personal attack against someone else in the forum or the author of the blog, yes, I would click the "report abuse" button and ask the editor to consider removing the post. For whatever reason, the filtering software will filter out certain words in the comments that it does not in the body of the blog.

I quoted this very upsetting material, using asterisks for the vulgar language, because it shows exactly how horrible this incident was and what this kid had to deal with. The Associated Press recommendations on use of such language is to use only when they are part of direct quotations and only when there is a compelling reason for them. In my judgment, there was a compelling reason to use this quote.


Apr-19-14 7:32 AM

I suppose the bullies grow up and get into republican politics so they can keep an upper hand and the bullied also go into politics but as liberals instead so they can use others to fight their battles.


Apr-19-14 7:29 AM

red necks


Apr-19-14 7:27 AM

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me!!

That is what we were taught about bullies, we would basically torment them back with that chant. Then when we got to HS things changed, if they showed up at an outdoor party they seldom got past the gate. We called them ******** in those days though.

Apr-18-14 7:45 PM

Bulling is schools is an all to frequent occurrence that has led to so disastrous results in the past and will probably happen again. Anyone associated with the school should be required by law or by school board action to take action to rectify these situations. No child should have to tolerate bulling. I think bulling probably has similar effects on the child as sexual abuse. The traumatic effects of bulling may very well last a life time. Bulling should not be allowed anytime and I mean anytime and laws need to be passed that will put an end to it. We owe this to our children and in many cases everyone in our society.


Post a Comment

You must first login before you can comment.

*Your email address:
Remember my email address.


I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web