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Dan Rackley

Dan Rackley is a US Naval veteran living in Philadelphia and a contributor to "Will They Ever Trust Us Again?"

February 3rd, 2011 12:38 PM

Bullying and Zero Tolerance

A few weeks ago, a young eighth grader in Upper Darby, PA was walking home from school.  For reasons to rational person could possibly come up with; over half a dozen other kids, ranging from thirteen years old to seventeen surrounded the young man and beat him senseless.  For twenty minutes.  The kid tried to get away, but the numbers of the attackers was simply too great and this kid had to take a beating that would put most grown men in the hospital.  At one point, these young men(and I use that term very loosely) hung the boy on a metal fence by the back of his coat.  God only knows what the poor boy was thinking, he must have been terrified.  The whole thing was captured on video, and the poor boy that was attacked will probably remember it for the rest of his life.  This was a case of bullying the likes of which I have never seen.

I only watched a few moments of the video that has been spread around the local new programs, and the few seconds I saw sickened me.  This was on a public street, not in some back alley.  The beating went on for several minutes and nobody did a damned thing.  They treated this poor kid like a soccer ball; for no damned reason.

The kids that were involved in this attack have all since been arrested and charged.  I gotta say, it makes me absolutely sick that the news stations around here have to go through the motions of calling them alleged attackers.  For God’s sake, they videotaped the whole damn thing!  Is there any possible way when you look at the people you arrested and the people on the video tape that it could have possibly been anyone else?  These little punks took a poor kid and beat him to within an inch of his life, and then they had to gall to tape it.  How can anyone reasonably say that there was a doubt it wasn’t them?  And another thing, some of the parents of the attackers are defending their kids saying that their kids were only observers to the beating.  So that makes it all right then?  That they sat there and it go on?

Bullying is an epidemic that has been around for decades.  Everyone gets bullied at some point and it is truly sad that some kids have to wake up in the middle of the night fearful of going to school because they might get beat up.  Or worse like what happened with the child in question here.  The schools do all that they can, but more needs to be done.  Zero tolerance is a nice idea in practice, but it seems to be more of a failed sentiment than anything else.  Too many of the kids that are getting bullied in this country are scared out of their minds to go to a teacher.    People that don’t have kids or don’t care may just think that it is just the normal course of things in a child’s life; but as in this case it’s getting way out of hand.  Things that these bullies are saying and doing to the kids they are going after will affect them for the rest of their lives.  The teachers and parents of these bullies need to begin to realize that it’s not just kids being kids anymore.  People are getting hurt and hurt bad.  I would like to call on all adults in any kind of educational position to children to make all that “zero tolerance” you preach more than words in the middle of an assembly.  And finally, to all the bullies out there; knock it the hell off!

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