Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Punching Teenage Girls in the Face

Sorry folks, we're going to get a touch personal. And you're going to get pissed off. It's either write this post or do a shot of bourbon at 11am. And depending on how this goes, don't be surprised if this post disappears in a day or two so the story can be detached and reassembled with my real persona.

There's a boy at Irish Dancer's school. He's not a nice boy. In fact, he has a bit of a history talking shit to young ladies and has expanded his repertoire this year to smacking a few with the reason that they are girls and girls only speak when spoken to. Obviously, you don't learn that kind of behavior from your buddies or video games.

This past Friday he was getting into Irish Dancer's face at lunch time and having had enough she told him to "back the fuck off." He punched her in the mouth.

Allow me to let that soak in: A 14-year old boy punched a 14-year old girl in the mouth. She was afraid to retaliate because the VPrincipal was like 20 feet away.

Yes, she is okay. Lip bleeding, she talked to a trusted teacher and then to her counselor. And then? Then the weekend came. No, that's not odd; the weekend comes every week end, but this happened over 3 hours before school was over and we didn't get a phone call, the kid was still in school, and, well, let me just continue.

[Breaknote: What the fuck!? I'm not that old, and when I was in HS in the early 90's if a boy hit a girl in the face, no loyalties or social divisions would exist for him. He was getting knocked down at least once during lunch with a guaranteed jumping after school. You don't fucking hit a girl. EVAR! My belief on why there was no retaliation? We live in a snooty little upper-class suburb where most of the kids are spoiled, entitled, and stoned. I guess that's what we get for moving into a neighborhood where we don't fit so ID can get a great education.]

Mrs. Shambles and I calmed ID, made sure she understood she did nothing wrong, that he was the one way the hell out of line, and that what he did no one should ever do - or have to put up with. I know that sounds simple, but that's the reassurance just about everyone needs in a situation like that.

So after some bourbon, beers, breathing, and talking it over the weekend, we both walked in Monday morning (yesterday) with one clear goal: This kid would be removed from the 2 classes they shared. But when we got there and met with the Vice Principal, he had NO knowledge of anything happening on Friday. Shocked, all we could do was let him know and wait for him to do the due process thing before passing on our expectations.

Within 90 minutes, VP interviewed ID, witnesses, and bad kid and confirmed it with the video (our taxes are at least purchasing something useful). Bad kid was suspended - for 3 days. And ...that was it. He left school early yesterday.

So I spoke with VP again today, expressed our need to have the kid removed from ID's classes. Nope, he didn't agree. He ascertained that bad kid was impulsive, but not dangerous, and the school's kinda small so they'd end up seeing each other in the halls anyway.

What?! Okay, final card: FYI, we're looking at pursuing filing a police report. "Well, that would be your prerogative."

*brain explodes*


So in a world where all of the media is horny as hell for another bully story, in a school where a boy has a history of verbally and physically abusing young ladies, this boy escalates to assault (an offence listed in the student handbook as punishable by expulsion) - of which they have video proof - but they do not want to ensure the psychological well-being of my daughter because they don't think it's necessary to mess up his schedule.


So even though ID said she doesn't want to go to the police, she doesn't want him in her classes more, so if she agrees we'll be taking her this afternoon to make a statement. Luckily it's a softball event; the school has video proof, so there's no question to her integrity. Bad kid also apparently has had a few run-ins with the local police, so this might get bad for him.

And we might take it media if we feel the need. Every local station is drooling for a national connection. But that might mean making ID a spectacle and all we really want is for the kid to be out of her classes, not more of a circus.


Comments, thoughts, advice always appreciated.

(UPDATE & RESOLUTION in Comments)

18 comments:

CDP said...

That is horrifying, and I'm glad your daughter is physically OK. I would recommend that you take it to the school board, with the threat of going public. That boy should be expelled, not suspended, but there's no reason on earth that the school shouldn't at least be able to get him out of your daughter's classes. If they're not cooperative, seek a restraining order, which would then require the school to keep him away from her. Good luck!

Pearl said...

Yikes.

I hate to see a 14 YO with a police record, but I also hate to see a 14YO boy hit a 15YO girl in the face. It's wrong.

I agree with CDP. Take it to the School Board. Mention the bullying.

I also wonder if there's any way to talk to the kid's parents? It would be the high road, although you may actually come away with some sympathy for the boy that you may not want, as, like you say, he's getting it from somewhere...

Generally speaking, too, any mention of liability will make things happen. There's a paper and video trail, after all. What more do they need to know to see that this guy has, at the least, had an inappropriate response to your daughter and, at the most, the warning signs of being a first-rate jackass and criminal...

Pearl

Zaki said...

Yikes. This story is messed. Sorry you had to go through it.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I feel bad for your daughter! Wish I had some words of wisdom but I don't. All I can rather lamely suggest is checking Dr. Phil's website to see if he has advice about how parents should handle bullying of this nature.

Kal said...

This stuff makes me crazy. Being a teacher I have unfortunately seen the office staff gloss over these events because they are afraid to confront parents about the behaviors of their kids. That kid should be expelled because no way is this the first time he has crossed the line.

I agree with many of the comments. If you threaten the board with taking this to court, especially at a time when the topic of bullying shows up at every newcast, they may be forced to act. Or threaten to go to the media. The last thing that school needs is publicity.

We had a kid once who was pulling girls into the bathroom and then trying to feel them up. The Principal, and VP were unwilling to do anything without proof and the girls were too scared to talk. The parents were less than cooperative also. It took the actions of four of us male teachers who took him into a room and scared the hell out of him to finally get him to stop. We could have all been fired but we had reached our limit. He never told his folks what we did to him. About a month later he attacked a girl at a dance in front of many witnesses and was send to juvinile detention. Everything could have been avoided if someone had listened to us in the first place.

I know you don't want to put any more of a spotlight on your daughter but having her stick up for herself may save other girls from a worse fate and will give her the confidence to do the right thing in the future. She doesn't have to be a victim.

Best to you and her.

Liberality said...

If he's done it once he'll do it again. He needs some serious counseling but that is not up to you or yours to provide. He learned this behavior somewhere and someone has to get him to stop if women are to be safe in this world. Thanks Dad for sticking up for your daughter!

Ricky Shambles said...

Thanks all for your comments and support. And good for you Kal for getting into it like that!

UPDATE: Principal & Superintendent are out together this week on some school thing, so when Mrs. Shambles called Super & found that out, she told the secretary fine, we'd just file the protective order - and got Super's personal cell. She explained things, he said he'd call her back, then had the Principal do so (booo!), saying we'd get a call tomorrow afternoon to see if Kid could be removed.

I already predict the response: Ooh, sorry, we can't disrupt his schedule because we wouldn't be able to put him in X class.

And then we're where we were before: Should've f'ing gone to the police Friday, but now (tomorrow) it's Wednesday and because Bad Kid is going to be back in school Thurs, we'll be keeping our daughter out.

After hearing Kal and my brief experience teaching and fighting for advocacy for kids, it's stunning to me that VP, P, Super in a row seem to want to take not the path that is right or just but the path that is closest to cakewalk. And I don't think it's a disillusionment or broken will - they are pleased with rising into prominence in one of the best districts in Ohio and have an almost delusional view of slight bumps being quickly ironed out - cause that's how the parents want them - that when something seriously pops up big they want to toss it over the fence and be done with it.

More drama tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Kal said...

This is why you have to push it because the higher ups would rather see this go away than to deal with it. As far as I am concerned, the kid did the crime so he has to do the time. The victim should have more rights than the offender. You are doing a good thing by not letting this go. The silent majority of kids who suffer in silence need your courage. A letter to all the other parents can also go a long way. Once parents here the story of this kid they will support your efforts if only to protect their own kids. The brat deserves nothing and will only become emboldened if he thinks he got away with what he did. I admire what you are doing. Keep us posted.

Chris said...

Definitely keep us posted. And kudos for not dropping it. Too often people let it go.

I can't believe the school is concerned with disrupting his schedule over the safety of students. I'd love to know what the school board has to say.

Ricky Shambles said...

Thanks Kal & Chris. We won!

RESOLUTION: After Mrs. Shambles brought out the big guns yesterday by calling Super's personal cell, we got a call back today from Principal.

Bad Kid has had his suspension extended until Friday and when he returns Monday he will have a meeting with his father and the VP to make sure there is no repeat or retaliation. He will also have a new English class and a new lunch period, eliminating all class-sharing between himself and ID.

Looks like we have a little retaliation already as he's trying to spread to his friends that he's being suspended because ID's a snitch. [And what fucking kid gets phone privileges when he's suspended? Oh, probably the same kind of kid who smacks around girls like Daddy does.] So far, everyone seems to agree Bad Kid was way in the wrong except for a couple stupid bully-folks who want to push ID's buttons. She's not biting.

Odd part about this morning: We're quite aware how this got done, but we got a few emails from the VP saying things like "I talked to Bad Kid's dad and based on that we're going to remove him from ID's class and lunch" and another like that about the extension of the suspension. Dude, who you foolin? You dropped the ball and Super squoze your sack cause "a parent" called him directly; you're no hero.

And for now - though I really kinda want to - we're refraining from the police report. We had a goal and we met that goal. Just hoping it doesn't come back to bite us in the ass. This kid is dangerous.

Oh, and we're putting ID in self-defense classes so that next time someone tries to assault her, if she can't block it at least a couple hundred pounds of dancer-leg muscle pressure automatically crushes some nuts.

Thank you all for your advice and support!

Kal said...

Sounds like a win all around. Everyone has been put on notice and ID sees that she has got powerful support in her corner. Remind her that the nuts are always the NUMBER 1 target. It's the grip of last resort gauranteed to bring a Rhino or 300 pound attacker down to the ground. I admire you for being a good parent. It's moments like this that pay dividends long into the future.

thatgirl said...

I haven't met you or Mrs. Shambles but I'm proud of you both and wish your family the best.

Chris said...

Chalk one up for the good guys!

Way to go!

loveable_homebody said...

He fucking assaulted her... And all he gets is a three day suspension? I'm wondering legally what he could get from police if he did this outside of school property? I think at least in my former question, the fact that he is a minor means he doesn't have to face a stiff punishment. You know. Boys will be boys.

No wonder bullying is so prevalent and often leads to catastrophic things. It doesn't seem like many school officials ever do anything about it.

I'm so sorry your daughter went through this. Good for her for standing up for herself -- you as well, although in some school systems, maybe that's considered the equivalent of provoking or "asking for it."

steve macdonald said...

I know I'm late to the comments here, but I just discovered your blog, only now read this post, and am so outraged that I'm compelled to add my two cents.

What the guy did is assault, pure, plain and simple. He should have left the campus that day wearing handcuffs in the back of a squad car.

The failure of the school administration to act appropriately constitutes negligence. Even now, weeks after the incident, I urge you to retain an attorney and sue the hell out of everybody.

Here's why: You let them off the hook this time. How are you going to feel down the road when some other kid belts someone else's daughter (or son)? You're going to blame yourself because if you had taken appropriate action (even at this late date) the resulting stink would have been sufficient to sensitize the staff
to make absolutely sure it never happens again.

Allowing it to be even slightly swept under the rug now guarantees that it will happen again someday.

And when it does, you are going to feel like crap.

Wolf Reinhold said...

Let’s be clear here: you have established that you are an advocate of violence against children by children. You state that what would have happened in your day (and clearly you long for this in the current situation) was the boy, “…getting knocked down at least once during lunch with a guaranteed jumping after school. ”
So the only thing we need to establish is motive, or perhaps justification.
According to your post, it is unacceptable for a boy to hit a girl under any circumstances, but it is acceptable for other boys to beat up another boy in retaliation for, in this instance, hitting a girl, ala “honor beating.”
I also wonder why you write of this boy, “talking shit to young ladies,” as, “Obviously, you don't learn that kind of behavior from your buddies or video games,” when the girl herself apparently said, “Back the fuck off.” What kind of a 14-year-old girl talks like that? Where did she learn that sort of gutter language?
You said that this boy has, “expanded his repertoire this year to smacking a few [girls] with the reason that they are girls and girls only speak when spoken to.” Is this past conduct hearsay or you actually have proof of this? And how did you determine that this boy’s explanation for his alleged behavior was that girls should only speak when spoken to? Did he actually say this or is this what you surmise by trying to read his mind?
Finally, if a group of boys had waylaid this youth at lunch and then after school and beaten him, as you suggest would have been the way such things would have been dealt with in your day, would you also advocate all of those involved being expelled as well? Or would this have fallen under your personal heading of “honor beating” and would have resulted in a resounding “Well done boys!” to the attackers?
I think you have one rule for yourself or your kid, and one for other kids. Assault is assault, is it not?

Ricky Shambles said...

Kal, thatgirl, Chris, lh - thanks for your support!

steve - I hear what you're saying, but ID doesn't want it to be a massive spectacle and we're respecting her wishes. One hint of continuation on his part with our daughter or another and we'll take it to another level.

Wolf - your comments are terrifying. I'm guessing you are neither the parent of a daughter, nor have a sister, nor have ever stood up for a woman. It sounds like you're justifying this kid's actions to yourself.

To clarify: Kid's verbal and recent physical abuse of females has been corroborated by many students, the verbal by teachers. And yes, the words "Women don't speak unless spoken to" were words out of his mouth.

But that's as far as I go; the type of person who makes statements such as yours and does not see a difference between an abusive bully punching a girl in the face and someone standing up for that girl (honestly, ID should've gone straight for the nuts and dropped him), who does not see the potentially sociopathic, patterned behavior of someone who is following well-documented path to rape, is not someone who lives in any world I am familiar with and is someone with whom I will never connect or understand. Good day.

padraig said...

"And for now - though I really kinda want to - we're refraining from the police report."

My advice would be do NOT refrain from filing a police report.

Moving these sorts of complaints through the system, should this occur again, requires lots of documents to hit red tape over the head with.

File the report. Interview with the police officer. Ensure that the video is preserved as evidence. You can always decide not to press charges, but you *want* that record in official police channels