Bullying is a big issue in our schools nowadays, or at least an issue that has been receiving increased attention in recent years. Part of the reason for this is, no doubt, that schools are anxious to address behavioral and social issues early on so as to avoid escalation and school violence. Bullies, of course, are unfortunately often able to fly below the radar, sometimes leaving the victim without much response to teachers and school authorities.
Recently, a 15-year-old male student at South Fayette High School in Pennsylvania was convicted of disorderly conduct. The charge was not for bullying, however, but for how he responded to bullying when nothing was done to address it. According to authorities, the student used an iPad to record an encounter in which the bullies were debating whether to pull his pants down in class—such bullying was apparently a regular occurrence. Staff members at the high school were apparently aware of the bullying prior to the incident.
Following the recording incident, the school principal notified local police about alleged wiretapping, which ultimately led to a charge of disorderly conduct. Sources didn’t detail whether the bullies involved in the incident faced any repercussions for their actions. Obviously, situations like this are frustrating from the perspective of the bullying victim’s parents, but it should be frustrating for anybody who has ever been bullied and hasn’t received an adequate response from teachers or other school authorities.
When a young person is faced with criminal charges as in this case, it is important for them to work with an experienced advocate. Although, in this case, disorderly conduct is a low-level crime that usually doesn’t result in jail time for juveniles, it can remain on a juvenile’s record permanently. Having an experienced advocate when facing such charges ensures that the juvenile defendant is able to take advantage of all available protections.
Source: www.care2.com, “Pennsylvania Teen Convicted of a Crime For Recording Bullies at school,” April 16, 2014.