Why judges and law enforcement need to take bullying more seriously.
In NM a star high school wrestler mugged a kid 100 lbs lighter than him in the lunch room for $15. The wrestler was suspended from school and charged with battery and larceny – which are both criminal offenses. So far so good.
The problem is that the judge in the case overturned the suspension allowing the athlete to compete in the state wrestling tournament. (see: http://www.krqe.com/news/crime/bullying-case-outcome-irks-aps-leader)
The judge also dismissed the charges on the promise that the wrestler to be good for the last 3 months of his school career. Did I mention that this particular athlete’s parents are well connected politically?
Here is why this is so egregious. This incidence of larceny and battery was witnessed by a sheriff’s officer who thought it was egregious enough to file criminal charges! (see: http://blogs.krqe.com/2013/05/04/knipfings-notes-the-real-champ/) and yet the perpetrator was allowed to claim it was horseplay and so not criminal and the judge went along with it.
When you read the letter from the victim here: http://media2.krqe.com/_local/pdf/krqe-victim-letter-nick-chavez-case.pdf what you will see is that this victim didn’t really want criminal charges to be pressed, but he mostly didn’t want to be treated like he was the bad guy when an older boy, who was 100 lbs heavier than him, battered him and stole his AP exam money!
The other problem is that this was treated by everyone as a one off incident. But there is no way this was isolated. Kids don’t just suddenly decide to batter and steal from other kids. That is something that is worked up to and was done because the wrestler thought he could get away with it because he most likely had in the past and – this time he did as well, even though he was caught.
If we want to stop bullying. If we want to raise ethical compassionate kids, we have to stop treating criminal level behavior as acceptable. We have to stop tossing aside our values when they are inconvenient. We all need to ask ourselves. When it is ok for a politician, who didn’t witness an event, to decide the facts without talking to the deputy filing the charges? When is it ok to call a robbery, assault and battery “horseplay.” The answer, it never is.
We need to do better.