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Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the it-takes-real-effort-to-be-this-wrong dept.

Education 798

An anonymous reader tips news of an incident in a Pennsylvania high school in which a student, Christian Stanfield, was being bullied on a regular basis. He used a tablet to make an audio recording of the bullies for the purpose of showing his mother how bad it was. She was shocked, and she called school officials to tell them what was going on. The officials brought in a police lieutenant — but not to deal with the bullies. Instead, the officer interrogated Stanfield and made him delete the recording. The officer then threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping. The charges were later reduced to disorderly conduct, and Stanfield was forced to testify before a magistrate, who found him guilty. Stanfield's mother said, "Christian's willingness to advocate in a non-violent manner should be championed as a turning point. If Mr. Milburn and the South Fayette school district really want to do the right thing, they would recognized that their zero-tolerance policies and overemphasis on academics and athletics have practically eliminated social and emotional functioning from school culture."

Update: 04/17 04:36 GMT by T : The attention this case has gotten may have something to do with the later-announced decision by the Allegheny County District Attorney's office to withdraw the charges against Stanfield.

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Rewarding the bullies... (5, Insightful)

killfixx (148785) | about 6 months ago | (#46765885)

This is why people don't like going to the authorities...

Not only was his problem not taken care of, but he was actually punished for trying to protect himself non-violently!

Fucking ignorant fucks!

I usually don't feel this way, but as a person who was endlessly bullied, I hope they eat a bag of diseased dicks.

Another person who will be afraid of authority.

And, what if this kid commits a Columbine-esque revenge scenario? They'll blame it on some other bullshit, not their own lack of souls...

FUCK!

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765955)

The police aren't there to protect the innocent. They are there to defend the criminals. I have witnessed this firsthand.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46765987)

When you take a look at school shootings, I can't help but ... is it me or is it blatantly obvious to everyone what's going on? I mean, look at things.

1. Kids shoot up schools. Why schools? Why not shopping malls before Christmas or movie theaters during blockbuster premiers? If it's body count and fame you're after, that's where you'd have to do your killing spree. Schools are rather meh for either. Not very cramped, lots of exits, before you can rack up a sensible body count most of the people already hit the exit. Now try a movie theater with 2 exits for 200+ people. Shot 10 or so and a body count of at least 50 is certain due to the stampede! So why schools?

2. A killing spree is not targeted. That's not the case with school shootings. When you go on a killing spree, you want people dead. You don't care who gets to bite the dust, but when you look at the school shootings that is simply not the case. The shooters don't simply open the first door on their way in and clean the classroom out, then move on to the next. They usually are very selective where they go and who they shoot.

It's not a killing spree. It's revenge. Plain and simple. That's of course nothing you can say as a politician. Because the ones guilty of the shooting are usually the ones being shot. It's kinda hard to blame teenagers who just got their head blown away and get reelected. So we need to shift the blame on movies, computer games, music, you name it. As long as kids like it and parents don't get it, it's a convenient scapegoat. And it works as such, no doubt. It won't change anything, though.

We should make our mind up what we want. If we just want to feel good that we "done something", then we can continue as we did so far, ban various games, movies and songs and accept that we'll have a few revenge rampages a year.

Or we finally start get our heads out of our asses and accept that we have to do something against it.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#46766085)

Or we finally start get our heads out of our asses and accept that we have to do something against it.

...before the kids learn that bombs or poison are safer than guns.

What truly scares me is the progression. Soon we'll have a Columbine-like event but with chlorine, or an infected water supply, or a home made explosive device, or some other horror.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 months ago | (#46766181)

Columbine did include explosive devices. They just failed to explode....

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766195)

One can only hope. I am sad every time I hear about the death of those that only want to get revenge once in their life.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766225)

...before the kids learn that bombs or poison are safer than guns.

It is a lot harder to build bombs or to use a proper dosage of poison. Most likely the target will just be hospitalized but survive.
Guns are a lot more available and efficient.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#46766277)

We can only hope. While explosives can sometimes be effective, things like chlorine gas and tainted water supplies are very hard to pull off in any significant way. They tend to have a significant psychological place in our fears, but as actual implements of harm they have a very poor cost/benefit ratio in the general case.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#46766343)

I'm not sure. Even a few hospitalizations and the panic of having to run from a poisonous gas might be sufficient if accompanied with an anonymous message of "if bullying doesn't stop, the next attack will kill every single one of you."

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766285)

Unfortunately all these school shootings take out innocents.

The bullies deserve to die (death doe stop bad humans) but when the Hellmouth finally breaks a few who want to punish those who deserve it INSTEAD OF THEMSELVES they snap and bag those who often did nothing to them.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (5, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46766297)

Here's the thing: Everyone has been bullied at some point in their life. Not all children are prone to it, but there is always a bigger kid prone to intimidation tactics when growing up.

Kids live by the law of the playground jungle when adult supervision and rules are absent from the equation. It is ingrained into us as some form of social stepping stone, the animal in each of us at work, attempting dominance and security for an insecure bully.

There is a time honored civil process in which we attempt to retrain our young into civilized little pricks. Picking on the weak is wrong, and you don't get to take advantage of a fellow human because you're physically or mentally able to do so.

Everyone is small and helpless early, and many are old and helpless late in life. These rules benefit us all, and what happened here sends precisely the wrong message.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 6 months ago | (#46766005)

And, what if this kid commits a Columbine-esque revenge scenario?

Appropriately, the page with TFA has an ad encouraging me to "Win an AR-15 from Sebastian Ammo". Google is getting scary...

As for the action taken by the school, one really has to wonder as to what kind of cretins make up the school administration. And what they could possibly have hoped to achieve by filing charges, other than a nasty (and well deserved) publicity backlash? Although for a society run by lawyers, that's perhaps what one would expect. Squeaky wheel gets a beating, and a teenager gets hauled in front of a judge on charges of "disorderly conduct" in a school. Seriously... Can any of the officials involved in this case look in the mirror and tell themselves that they are doing the Right Thing?

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

killfixx (148785) | about 6 months ago | (#46766101)

I have the exact same ad! :)

Wow, feels like foreshadowing...

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (5, Funny)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#46766193)

As for the action taken by the school, one really has to wonder as to what kind of cretins make up the school administration.

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who're cunts, administrate.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about 6 months ago | (#46766283)

Appropriately, the page with TFA has an ad encouraging me to "Win an AR-15 from Sebastian Ammo". Google is getting scary...

Must not have been a Google ad, Google doesn't allow gun ads [google.com] . Personally, I think that's stupid, but in the interest of accuracy, your ad couldn't have been from Google.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#46766363)

Appropriately, the page with TFA has an ad encouraging me to "Win an AR-15 from Sebastian Ammo". Google is getting scary...

That's not Google. That contest is hosted on the same site as the story -- I actually hovered over the link to see where it went.

It's their own content.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#46766043)

He'll either:
  - Go Columbine.
  - Learn to cope.
  - Pay an illegal immigrant $100 to stab the bully in the kidney.

The third option is the safest one as long as he's smart enough to find a way to not leave a trace about the contract.

I'm not sure which option produces a better society as a result.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766105)

The one where the bully dies.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#46766129)

That's two out of three, you'll have to be more specific.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766209)

Preferably the one where the victim survives, but a Columbine is acceptable as well, it's not really my position to make that choice for him.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766251)

Pay an illegal immigrant $100 to stab the bully in the kidney.

There's another, more profitable option hiding right there: sell it into black market. Make the immigrant doctor now working as a doughnut seller extract the organ in a murky motel room.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#46766311)

So, the classic win-win-win-lose a kidney situation.

*: the third win is either for the happy recipient of a healthy kidney or the considerably less happy customer who tastes the new "meat doughnut".

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (5, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | about 6 months ago | (#46766313)

Most likely the bullies are members of the school's football team, hence the protection afforded to them.

So option three, but targeting the Achilles heel tendon or other sport-critical tendon/muscle, is a great option, in my opinion.

Clearly the school has a bullying problem, and a control problem. It's a sick, diseased school run by weak people, and teachers too afraid to do their job to protect students from bullies who are on the school football team. This is something that requires state intervention, I presume the state has school inspection bodies, and the ability to enact punishments? I would suggest a ban in intra-school sporting competition for a couple of years until the school's curriculum has moved back towards education.

Indeed, I think that US school sports is really weirdly venerated. I'd split the two up, schools can have basic sport, but clubs, etc, should be run outside of the school, maybe with loose affiliation, but having no influence on the school's central reason for existence - education.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 6 months ago | (#46766063)

The problem wasn't taken care of because the first priority of schools officials isn't to protect the students, it's to protect the school (and their jobs). They wanted the recording deleted before it could get out and embarrass them. The police just helped them.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#46766235)

Yeah, that is the thing that drives me crazy about all the talk about bullying in schools. Schools (and police) pretty much never acknowledge the role they play in strengthening the bullies' hands or even actively participating.

The worst bullying cases I have known involved teachers joining in, reenforcing the idea that the victim deserves it or is simply being shown their proper social place. And sadly the whole myth that bullies are some broken losers really makes things more difficult since most of them simply have a higher social standing in the school and are acting as their peers feel is appropriate.

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766259)

Next thing they'll do is call him a Terrorist and a Traitor to his country... good girls and boys don't wiretap!

Re:Rewarding the bullies... (4, Insightful)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 6 months ago | (#46766335)

A girl got raped here a few years ago and later committed suicide. It would of been the end of it, if not for the divine intervention of Anonymous.
So then people wanted to form a torch welding mob when the facts surrounding it came out, not everyone though, there was a smaller group supporting the rapists.
So while that angry mob never did form, the pro-rapist group managed to carry out some assaults on people speaking out in favor of punishing the rapists.
Of course, our fearless POlice step in and say they will spare no expensive or lethal force to protect these people, the rapists that is... the victim and her supporters can go to hell. "She deserved what happened to her."

Felony vs terrorism deterence (5, Insightful)

OffTheLip (636691) | about 6 months ago | (#46765921)

Ordinary citizens face felony convictions for this while the feds do something similar and are combatting terromism to keep us safe.

WTF?? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#46765927)

So, kid gathers evidence of bullying by other kids, gets charged?

That is insane.

So, if I take a video of someone stealing my car, would I get arrested? Under what circumstances could I do that and not be charged? WTF doesn't gathering evidence of bullying get an exemption from wiretap laws?

Whatever law enforcement and officers of the court were involved in this are total morons. This makes no sense at all.

Re:WTF?? (5, Informative)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 months ago | (#46766009)

Yes, the kid got charged because he violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping and recording laws. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state so both parties to the conversation must consent before a recording can be made.

No, you would not be arrested and charged for video taping someone stealing your car because you aren't recording a conversation.

Re:WTF?? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766135)

Yes, the kid got charged because he violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping and recording laws. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state so both parties to the conversation must consent before a recording can be made.

A good lawyer would get it thrown out for Necessity.

"In U.S. criminal law, necessity may be either a possible justification or an exculpation for breaking the law. Defendants seeking to rely on this defense argue that they should not be held liable for their actions as a crime because their conduct was necessary to prevent some greater harm and when that conduct is not excused under some other more specific provision of law such as self defense." - wikipedia

Recording the bullies was NECESSARY in order to prove the bullying existed, so it could be dealt with.

Re:WTF?? (1)

killfixx (148785) | about 6 months ago | (#46766187)

Vote this up!

Re:WTF?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766219)

So if the criminal stealing your car notices you, he can approach you and start to chit chat about the weather and suddenly the recording is not legal? WTF, seriously.

Re:WTF?? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#46766257)

Yes, the kid got charged because he violated Pennsylvania's wiretapping and recording laws. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state so both parties to the conversation must consent before a recording can be made.

Yeah, and supposedly this school has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying.

And according to TFA, the bullying was happening in the class room, with a teacher present. Which means the school had more or less abandoned their role in policing this, and the kid was left with no other recourse.

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 heard laughing.

What teacher can't be watching this in their own classroom and NOT understand that bullying was happening?

If the teacher who was physically in the room wasn't doing anything, WTF good is telling the school about it? Because the school is either indifferent, clueless, or incompetent to address the issue.

And the officer involved?? I would also say was incompetent or indifferent:

He later answered as to why he thought the disorderly conduct charge applied to this case by saying, "Because his (the student's) actions - he engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose." He then read the statute as, "Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by acts which serve no legitimate purpose."

I would say the legitimate purpose was to demonstrate that the bullying was, in fact happening, was happening while there was a teacher present, and that nothing at all was being done about it. He certainly didn't create a "hazardous or physically offensive condition". Sorry, but I think the cop was a fucking idiot.

I'm inclined to agree with the lawyer on this one. The police misapplied the statute here, forced the kid to destroy the evidence, and then didn't do a single thing about the problem.

And people wonder why kids go into school with guns? I can't even believe the story has a link to a contest to win an AR-15.

I read this whole story as a complete failure of the police and school to understand and deal with the actual issue here.

Re:WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766019)

As long as you don't record the audio, your car theft video is probably legal. The wiretap laws deal with "non-consent *audio* recordings of third parties"

In reality, I suspect that the kid could have beaten the wiretap rap in court (at great expense and pain), because it was recorded in a public place, with no expectation of privacy (unless it was in the bathroom or something).

And, I'm quite sure there's more to it than is obvious from the published story. Not that the school/police weren't being inappropriate here, but in these sorts of cases, they are constrained from telling "their side of the story".

Re:WTF?? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 6 months ago | (#46766035)

I don't understand how this is "wiretapping" - no *wires* were being tapped, this was a recording of a face to face conversation.

Re:WTF?? (3, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 6 months ago | (#46766053)

So, kid gathers evidence of bullying by other kids, gets charged?

When bullies grow up, they become policemen. The police protect their own.

Re:WTF?? (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766115)

Reason enough to end the life of bullies early on. Killing a policeman can really get you into trouble.

Re:WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766379)

This is too fucked up for Slashdot.

You realize you're wishing death on 15-year olds? Don't do that, even in jest, not even if they're mean and selfish. Let's hope they get the guidance they need to grow out of it.

Re:WTF?? (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#46766119)

So, if I take a video of someone stealing my car, would I get arrested? Under what circumstances could I do that and not be charged? WTF doesn't gathering evidence of bullying get an exemption from wiretap laws?

Depends on what your state recording laws are. Do you live in a one-party consent state or all-party consent state? Are you recording just video, just audio, or audio and video? Does the other party have an expectation of privacy (e.g. recording bullying in a restroom). Was the recording done covertly or in plain view?

If someone stole your car that was parked in your driveway and you had a video only security camera in plain view, you most likely would be fine. If there was audio and you lived in a all-party consent state, then you're probably in trouble.

Re:WTF?? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 months ago | (#46766223)

He got charged for disorderly conduct. But we don't know the details of why or what he was actually alleged to have done.

As for wiretapping, he shouldn't have been threatened with it, but he was never charged.

Re:WTF?? (0)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 6 months ago | (#46766315)

I blame Rodney King

Re:WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766347)

WTF Wiretapping laws for a civil matter that happened in meat space? What next? Being charged for computer hacking for recording said bully getting beat up by some tall 6'8 guy?

Must have made some football players look bad (5, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 6 months ago | (#46765931)

Judging by how past actions of Pennsylvania HS football players were judged, this is not surprising. Compared to letting them get away with rape, this is downright reasonable.

Re:Must have made some football players look bad (3, Informative)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about 6 months ago | (#46766007)

I think you meant the Steubenville High School football players [wikipedia.org] . Steubenville is actually in Ohio.

Thats the Alayna Macaluso incident in Steubenville (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766295)

That is, what happened in Ohio versus the PSU incident in Happy Valley.

Quite logical reaction (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46765941)

What did his mother expect from the school as a reaction? Siding with the victim of bullying? Seriously? Allow me to give you a brief rundown of how school deal with bullying.

What a school wants is "peace". They want pupils to shut up and not cause a problem. Especially not a disciplinary one. So how do they deal with bullying? Well, easy: Not at all. Because it is not a school's problem. The bully has his victim, is satisfied and will not cause any other problem towards the school, its property or its faculty. The victim is being pushed and punched.

Now when does the school run into a problem in this scenario? Right. When the victim does not want to play his role anymore. That is when the school runs into a problem. Because now they have to do something. Until that moment, there was no reason for a reaction. A pacified bully is no problem, and a victim that lets the bully kick him is none either. The very LAST thing the school wants is to be forced to take action against the bully. Because then not only does it draw attention to the bullying problem, it puts a very unhappy bully at their hands, someone who knows how to cause trouble if he wants to, who may or may not be even supported in his actions by his parents.

The school's reaction is a logical one: The victim upset the apple cart. He created a problem for the school. What the school wants is him to shut the fuck up again and swallow the punches.

Re:Quite logical reaction (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#46766033)

and now they may have a civil rights issue on there hands. I think that when that cop was talking to him they some how passover his right to an attorney

Re:Quite logical reaction (2)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#46766319)

When a school is involved, minor's rights are generally suspended.

Re:Quite logical reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766047)

This was training for when he gets out of school. When you have a co-worker who is dumping his work on you don't go to management! They actually told us that if a co-worker is goofing off cover up for them so management looks good!

Re:Quite logical reaction (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766081)

The difference is that if you notice that, you can quit your job and get the hell out of there. No such luck as a student. You can't simply quit school without severe problems. Depending on the town you're in you might have no choice but either go to THAT school or drop out.

And even in the worst areas it's not like you HAVE to work for that single crappy employer or live on the street.

That's the stress being put on our youth today. Anyone still wondering why from time to time one of them grabs a gun and redecorates his school?

Re:Quite logical reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766069)

From my memory of the early 90's that sounds astoundingly familiar. In that case it was plain old apathy rather than fear of drawing attention to the bullying problem or fear of upsetting the bully though.

Re:Quite logical reaction (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766141)

Of course they play along. It's just so win-win, it's convenient AND makes the school look good to not do anything about the bullying problem. Because until you deal with it, the only one who has a problem with it is the one bullied.

That's also why YOU will get into trouble if you dared to fight back against the bully. Because 'til you did, everything was in order. The bully was happy and docile since he had his punching bag, you were quiet and nobody had to do anything. If you fight back, the bully might go to his parents and they might cause a stink.

Ever noticed how bullies are also the first to squeal?

Re:Quite logical reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766145)

Best response is to hire a giant beefed up security guard to be with the kid all the time.

Re:Quite logical reaction (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 6 months ago | (#46766279)

This is dead on, I had the same experience.

sickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765943)

And a very strong reason why we won't be sending our child to public schools.

They are not places of learning. They are prison systems for children in which the biggest bully rules.

I would not be surprised if there were a strong correlation between the freedom of bullies and test scores. Why should anyone care about school when it's absolute torture going? How can they learn when it's all about emotional and sometimes physical torture?

Re:sickening (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765979)

And therefore never learn about finding a place in a hostile hierarchy. Because life is filled with environments where you don't have to fight for social acceptance. Not.

Re:sickening (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 6 months ago | (#46766237)

If you want your kid to learn to stand up for himself, would you pay a couple of other kids to beat him up until he finds the nerve to punch back, or would you send him to a self defence class? The first is likely to end in physical or psychological trauma, the second more likely to instil confidence as well as help keep potential bullies off his back.

What schools like these are doing is teaching him that his place in the hierarchy is being the classroom punching bag, and that he will be punished if he fights back or complains. Yes, life can be like that too, but only if you let it. School should be teaching him how to deal with such issues, not forcing him to suck it up.

Re:sickening (4, Insightful)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 6 months ago | (#46766117)

And a very strong reason why we won't be sending our child to public schools.

Do you really think that just because a school is private bullying automagically will cease to happen? Allow me to burst that bubble [theguardian.com] for you.

A private school for children of Sweden's wealthy elite has been shut down following accusations that boys were burned with hot irons by older pupils.
The latest allegations about severe bullying at Lundsberg boarding school emerged at the weekend after one of the boys was taken to hospital and the police were informed. Nine boys were involved in the assault, police said.
Following a visit to the school in rural Värmland, in south-west Sweden, inspectors announced its immediate closure until measures are taken to prevent abuse.

So while all of this was happening (2)

Renozuken (3499899) | about 6 months ago | (#46765953)

A police officer makes him delete his recording, he then gets in trouble for the recording, then he was forced to testify and then was found guilty, and through all of that no one thought to ask the what the fuck they were doing. The problem with this is if he went to the principal and said they were bullying him he would have passed it off like nothing ever happened. You are told in school to tell an adult when something happens and when you do they don't ever do anything about it, but when the kid gets proof that he is being bullied he gets in trouble and they don't get punished at all(and they probably beat him up for telling on them). And everyone involved just says they were only doing their job.

Re:So while all of this was happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765997)

In a small town, never go to the police unless you know why they're on your side. A shiv would have worked better. Remember, disarming people is to keep the strong in power.

Re:So while all of this was happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766121)

The problem with this is if he went to the principal and said they were bullying him he would have passed it off like nothing ever happened.

Two things:

1. Boys will be boys.
2. The abused should learn how to defend himself. Send him to a karate class.

I am being facetious, of course. But those two things were the attitude of the authorities back in my day. And of course, it doesn't matter if the victim was abused, because the bully/bullies can always just lie and say that the victim "hit him first." And then it's a "he said/he said" situation, which cancels out. See how that works?

I am so glad I punched my neighborhood bully in the face. He never messed with me after that, and he got beat up by other kids for it because I was smaller than him and he was considered a coward. Which he was.

Re:So while all of this was happening (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 months ago | (#46766271)

2. The abused should learn how to defend himself. Send him to a karate class.

Bullies either have advantage in numbers, or they're very, very good at playing victim once they encounter any kind of "defense".

Basically, the victim has three options:

1. Suck it up. Leads to all kinds of physical and mental scars.

2. Report it to the proper authorities. Victim gets punished. Bullying does not stop.

3. Defend themselves. Victim gets punished by authorities. Bullies resume bullying.

Re:So while all of this was happening (1)

jythie (914043) | about 6 months ago | (#46766355)

Let us not forget the 3rd common thing authorities bring up, "well, you are acting XYZ so it is your own fault".

A solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765959)

I have no problem with this. Just get rid of the law where I as a parent can not shit beat a 14 year old that is bullying my kid because he is under 18.

Re:A solution (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46766153)

Last time I checked I could beat the shit out of a 14 year old just fine.

All-party state (5, Informative)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 6 months ago | (#46765963)

The probably is Pennsylvania is an all-party state, where most states only require the consent of one party to record.

Re:All-party state (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765991)

Recording something that happens out in the public is not wiretapping. This is as stupid as the police officers that claim that recording them out in public is wiretapping.

Re:All-party state (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 6 months ago | (#46766143)

I agree, and again, the issue with recording cops is a far bigger one outside of one-party states. The ACLU and such will give you things to say if police try to stop you from recording them. If you are in a single-party state, it's basically just reciting that this is a single party state, so you don't need their consent. If you are an all-party state, you have to state that it's a public place, first amendment, etc.

Re:All-party state (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766173)

Recording something that happens out in the public is not wiretapping.

According to you or according to the law? They are not the same.

Re:All-party state (2)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about 6 months ago | (#46766099)

Correct [wikipedia.org] . Maryland is one as well, and MD police used the anti-wire tap law as an excuse for years to prevent people from videotaping their actions before the Supreme Court finally called them on that perverse interpretation. Even now, MD police hate to be recorded [wbaltv.com] .

Re:All-party state (3, Interesting)

sasparillascott (1267058) | about 6 months ago | (#46766233)

Here's a nice map showing which states are and aren't (by a company that sells phone recording products). Odd mix of states that are two party.

http://www.vegress.com/index.p... [vegress.com]

Time for another plan: (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 6 months ago | (#46765967)

Assuming this kid doesn't get his tablet smashed as the very next level of bullying...

He needs to record the bullying again, but this time, the recording needs to go directly to all local media outlets, and perhaps directly to social media as well. This may not make much difference to the bullies on the bus, but it's a lot harder for the bullies in the school administration or police department to bury.

It is still possible to shame entrenched bullies out of positions of authority. It doesn't often happen, but it's worth a try. It's certainly a Noble Cause.

Re:Time for another plan: (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#46766091)

but if it's on a school ipad and then they can hit him with one of the Computer Hacking / Unauthorized Access Laws also if an school ipad tablet smashed then the $800-$1000+ (cost of ipad (full cost price) + software + IT time adds up) damage may also be an felony as well.

Legal Analysis (5, Informative)

What'sInAName (115383) | about 6 months ago | (#46765975)

Here's an interesting article that looks at the legal aspects of this case:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

tl;dr version: The charges are bullshit.

Charge the officer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765977)

Tampering with evidence, intimidating a witness, and dereliction of duty. Under no circumstances should he have ordered the child to delete the recording. If there was a felony charge to be made, it was his duty to make it. Ordering and then overseeing the destruction of evidence to that effect is actionable.

Re:Charge the officer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766231)

Tampering with evidence, intimidating a witness, and dereliction of duty. Under no circumstances should he have ordered the child to delete the recording.

B- b- b- but, I thought we are supposed to obey whatever the cops tell us to do, and argue it out in court later. I guess that doesn't work out so well when what the cops are telling you to do is destroy evidence, does it?

captcha: avenger

How factual is the article? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46765993)

The author works for a questionable blog and this is her credentials:

"Priscilla Jones is a business writer and communications strategist based in the nation's capitals—Austin and D.C. Shedding light on incidences of abuse by overreaching government entities is her passion."

Re:How factual is the article? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 months ago | (#46766211)

It's legit. let's not shoot the messenger.

http://triblive.com/news/alleg... [triblive.com]

Every single adult involved in this case, from the teacher to the judge, needs to be fired. The cop needs to be arrested for destruction of evidence.

Re:How factual is the article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766339)

How legit? All we have is hearsay from all sources...

if there's a 'reasonable expectation' of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766037)

in the school, why the fuck are they giving students (or allowing them to have) electronic gizmos with recording capabilities in the school? which presumably may also include bathrooms and locker rooms?

oh, wait. this is pennsylvania.. where schools spy on students via webcams http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com... [nbcphiladelphia.com]

All joking aside (2)

AbRASiON (589899) | about 6 months ago | (#46766039)

I'm sure I speak for a few slashdotters when I say, I copped it at school too.

The few times teachers got involved, I was apparently doing the wrong thing, not the person picking on me. As far as I'm concerned, if there's one thing I could change about my childhood - it would be the balls to stand up for myself and at least settle on a point in the pecking order. The few times I did stand up for myself, while incredibly scary for me - worked out in the end. The people involved generally left me alone after that.

This is instinctual bullshit, bullies themselves are often more messed up than the people they intimidate, normally stuff from parents, older brothers or god knows what, bad homes, drugs, alcohol, abuse - etc. None the less playground bullying and intimidation is simply alpha dominance rubbish but it's also part of life and nature. The last person who is going to help properly with this is a teacher unfortunately.

Same old, same old. (5, Insightful)

SlurpingGreen (1589607) | about 6 months ago | (#46766059)

I was assaulted once by a kid twice my size in middle school. He was harassing a group of 5 girls, taking their bags and throwing them on the ground. I asked him, "Why are you being such an asshole? Why don't you just leave them alone?" He punched me in the back of the head when I turned to walk away, then took about 12 swings at my face while sitting on top of me. I never hit him at all, just deflected most of his attacks.

The next day, the school administrator gave both of us detention for a week. He said I shouldn't have used foul language.

I think there's a kind of deep inability on the part of adults to distinguish between rough play that got a little out of hand and a bully who's completely out of control. I can't see any school policy fixing that.

Re:Same old, same old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766191)

This is why I never had kids. Can't risk subjecting a kid of mine to that kind of treatment.

Re:Same old, same old. (1)

NormHome (99305) | about 6 months ago | (#46766365)

Having been on the receiving end of a lot of that myself, I can tell you that back then teachers always considered both kids at fault. To this day I'll never understand why teachers were so blind to the fact that the bigger stronger "athletic" kids constantly harassed the weaker kids.

Nothing new here, move along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766065)

Ah, (United States of) America, land of the dumb... laws.

Bullies (1)

Rich_Lather (925834) | about 6 months ago | (#46766131)

I thought a phone had to be involved in order for it to be considered wiretapping. What is missed here is, bullies eventually grow up and become....police lieutenants.

Misaaplication of the law (4, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46766147)

A couple of points about this. My first thought when I heard this was that Pennsylvania law on recording someone requires their consent except in certain circumstances; one of those circumstances is when a crime is being committed. I thought that was the case here, except the boy recorded others as well as those committing a crime (terroristic threats, at the least). However, there is another exception to Pennsylvania law, when one does not have an expectation of privacy. The judge ruled that the boy recorded people when they had an expectation of privacy. Since everything I have read indicates that all of the recordings occurred in the classroom, I have a serious problem with the idea that anyone in the recordings had an expectation of privacy.
Further, the judge claimed that she was confident that if the bullying had been reported to the school, it would have been taken care of appropriately, the the school did not tolerate bullying. How the judge could reach that conclusion is a mystery to me, considering that the incident which was recorded occurred in the presence of a teacher.

Who Does The Law Serve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766151)

The notion that voice recordings can not be secretly made exists mainly because politicians and officials fear being recorded. Many business people also fear being recorded. If covert recording was allowed we would live in a much more honest society.
              A looming prospect is a device that can work as a very accurate, real time, thought reader. Watch how quickly the courts disallow the device to be used on witnesses on the stand in court. And watch how quickly the police are forbidden from using the device as well. Imagine being able to read the thoughts of a suspect while he is being interviewed.

Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766157)

So now we want people running around making secret recordings of each other? I can't keep up.

Charged when the evidence got deleted?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766165)

In the summery it is stated he was forced to delete the recording..... So if there is no evidence of a recording, how can he theb be charged for "felony wiretapping"?

It makes no sense

you want school shootings? (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#46766175)

because this is how you get school shootings. Or in Pennsylvanias recent case, school stabbings. When you strip a person of their safety, and offer them no recourse, they become hard. They become determined with nothing to lose. They adopt these horriffic scorched earth tactics because nothing you say or do is consistent or fair, so the outcome and result of their actions is no longer relevant. And the saddest part is in the aftermath.

people will wonder how they could have helped, what caused it, and why this happened. Gun nuts will bark about bullet proof blackboards and guns for teachers. Parents will entirely miss the point and call for tougher gun laws. No one will stop to consider students or kids for that matter as real people.

Hey kid (1)

sootman (158191) | about 6 months ago | (#46766189)

Work out, get some allies, and beat the ever-loving shit out of the bully. You'll get off easier.

That's obviously the school's lesson here.

There's a school that emphasis academics? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 6 months ago | (#46766267)

I didn't think those existed anymore. While the bullying is wrong, and the prosecution of gathering evidence is wrong, having a school that's about academics is not.

So many things wrong with this.... (1)

NormHome (99305) | about 6 months ago | (#46766275)

There are so many things wrong with this situation it's unreal. Not living in Pennsylvania I don't know what the laws there are i.e. what kind of anti-bullying laws they have and what kind of conversation recording laws they have but the school was wrong, the police were wrong, the judge was wrong and the parents of the kid were stupid for not saying "this conversation stops NOW until our lawyer gets here" when they saw where it was going. And the bully gets off Scott free and the kid who was probably already a nervous wreak now had psychological problems.

Assistant Principal doesn't believe it was bullyin (2)

Formorian (1111751) | about 6 months ago | (#46766301)

(assistant principal Aaron ) Skrbin testified that the district had records of Love complaining about students bullying her son, including an incident in October in which a student hit her son with “spitwads,” even after her son told him to stop.
“To be blunt, I would not classifying that as bullying,” Skrbin said.

WTF?!?!?!?

I was bullyed in high school. Swirlies/harrassment/vocal/physical. Worst 4 years of my life. I never had the courage back then to stand up, and/or tell my parents. I've since grown and now I'll stand up to random people on street harrassing a complete stranger. It's just gaining confidence, but in HS it's hard to gain that while being bullied.

But spitwads are a form of bullying, esp if requested to stop and it doesn't and it escalates. It's a way of hummiliating someone. I can't stand teachers/adults in position like this and they nothing against the bullies. no let's punish the victims. I always hoped that with the bullying issue brought more to light a few years ago, this would end, but nope teachers still blaiming the victims. It's sickening.

PA law is the problem and it's not just at schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46766323)

PA law is defective. Many States allow one party to a conversation to record it.

Contact info for the relevant human garbage (5, Informative)

korbulon (2792438) | about 6 months ago | (#46766329)

Here are the details of the relevant parties:

The "judge": Maureen McGraw-Desmet

295 Millers Run Road Bridgeville, PA 15017 phone: 412-221-3353 fax: 412-221-0908

The "officer": http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ro... [linkedin.com]

and then there's this piece of shit: http://www.southfayette.org/si... [southfayette.org] (smilburn@southfayette.org)

If ever there was a job for Anonymous...

Where is the teacher? (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 6 months ago | (#46766333)

From the article, the incident took place while he was receiving math help from the teacher. From the sound of it, this crap goes on all during class. What a sad system that puts someone who needs a different approach to teaching into a class where kids mouth off and can't (or won't) be controlled.

mixes special ed (3, Insightful)

colfer (619105) | about 6 months ago | (#46766377)

The special ed kids with learning disabilities are mixed with the ones with behavioral/emotional disabilities in this school. In other words, people that get made fun of, and people that are a danger to them. Sheep and wolves. Must make the regular classrooms nice to remove both the slow learners and troublemakers.

The same thing happens in homeless shelters, where it's hard to protect the defenselessly mentally ill from the bad guys. And prisons, where a lot of mentally ill people live due to the policies of our country.

Another problem in this case is that the police and the judge are an extension of the school administration, and see themselves that way. Also, it is a small Western Pennsylvania school district surely dominated by athletics. Also, we don't know the full story. This could be the best school in the world, but I somehow doubt it.

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