Friday, December 31, 2004

Student's Classroom Beating Caught On Videotape

Brazen Miscreant
When I saw this story on the local news, I couldn't believe what I was watching. A fifteen-year-old tenth-grade bully had an accomplice videotape his brutal assault upon a 14-year-old ninth-grade student at Midview High School, which is located in Eaton Township, (Lorain County) Ohio. Amazingly, this crime occurred while class was in session, just before winter vacation. The Morning Journal newspaper gives additional details of the incident, and a shortened version of the videotape itself can be seen here: WEWS TV 5. (Be sure to scroll down to "More Video Archive," which is listed below "News Video." They don't have permalink.)

This is what the full-length tape shows:

The clock on the classroom wall read 12:42PM, and students are at their desks apparently working on math problems. While two students distract the teacher on the other side of the room, and without any provocation whatsoever, a large male student approaches another student that is seated at his desk and begins attempting to slap the victim about the head. All the victim can do is attempt to block the blows.

After tormenting his defenseless victim for some time, the assailant begins punching his victim in earnest. The criminal administers at least 10 hard blows to the victim's head. Meanwhile, laughter can be heard coming from other students sitting in the area.

All the while the teacher remains distracted, apparently oblivious to what is occurring on the other side of the classroom. [EdWonk- How on earth could any teacher be unaware of this going on?]

Finally (probably because of the laughter) the teacher becomes aware of the situation and moves rapidly to stop the assault. The teacher then escorts the two miscreants to the office.

The school's response to this criminal act was to suspend the delinquents, and refer the matter to the police. They have been charged with battery and stalking. And the students may face expulsion.

After the incident, the student said that the bullies had been harassing him for the better part of the year.

Why, might you wonder, didn't the student come forward earlier?

After all, the unedited videotape featured an exasperated
Superintendent Jim Rykaceski of Midview Local School District who indicated that the teacher was not at fault for the incident. (His explanation differs substantially from the paper's account.)

Sadly, Rykaceski insinuated that it was the victim's fault because he had not come forward earlier to report the stalking.

I guess Superintendent Rykaceski has probably not been in the classroom for a while... So I (Humble classroom teacher that I am.) will attempt to shed some light on the matter.

There is an unwritten "code of silence" that every student knows, as does almost every public school teacher, as do most public school administrators. The code simply states, "If you go to the authorities, sooner or later we are gonna make you pay."

In other words, the bullies do not fear (nor respect) school authorities. And the victims know that the school will not protect them.

As an actively serving classroom teacher, I can affirm that this is the type of criminal behavior that is occurring everyday in classrooms around the country. There have been numerous classroom fights in my own mid-sized California school district. The difference, of course, is that this particular malefactor (obviously lacking any brains whatsoever) had an (equally idiotic) accomplice videotape the crime.

Expulsion for these two offenders will not even be automatic. There is a good chance that the school will find an "alternative placement" for these vicious predators. In other words, the school system will probably "pass the buck" and enroll these disgusting little creatures on another campus.

This will happen because there will be many in the educational bureaucracy that will be sympathetic to the assailants. Without a doubt, some will soon be uttering psycho-babble such as: "these kids have issues, they need help, we can put them on a behavior contract, let's give them another chance. Etc."

And when they get to their new campus, they will be free to terrorize other victims.

And this is the sort of thing that happens all the time in our public school systems. And nobody does a thing to change it.

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