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What Did This Bullied Kid Learn In School?

This sets me on fire:

A South Fayette High School sophomore claims to have been bullied all year at his new school located in McDonald, Pennsylvania. In February, the student made an audio recording of one bullying incident during his special education math class. Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping before eventually agreeing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct. On Wednesday, March 19, the student, whose name we have agreed to not include in this story, was found guilty of disorderly conduct by District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet.

The judge blamed the bullied student and his mom for not alerting the school administration first to the bullying. Because, she said, they would have taken care of it. Yes, she said that. As we all know, adults in authority always and everywhere stop bullying. Unless they’re the teacher of the special needs student who was the victim of these classroom thugs. More:

On February 11, after doing research on several anti-bullying websites, he used his school approved personal iPad to make a seven-minute audio recording of his classroom experience. He played the recording at home for his mother. Outraged, Love, a former Air Force Morse code operator, transcribed the audio before calling school administrators.

According to Love, as the teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, “You should pull his pants down!” Another student replies, “No, man. Imagine how bad that (c**t) smells! No one wants to smell that (t**t).” As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. 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.

We don’t have the recording to check Love’s transcription because school officials erased it from the iPad.

Dear Shea Love: you sue these administrative bastards in civil court, and you sue them till their teeth rattle and they fear to let anything like this happen to another kid.

It does seem true that the bullied kid’s recording was illegal. But this is akin to throwing the book at a starving man for stealing a loaf of bread. This is not justice. A teacher who lets this kind of abuse go on in her classroom is a bad person. A school that punishes a victim for bringing them news they would rather not think about is a bad school that needs to change. If it takes a lawsuit to make them do the right thing, then bring it.

About Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet, I don’t know what can be done. I feel sorry for those who have to depend on her for justice, though.

When I was in eighth grade, I was beaten into unconsciousness in a classroom by an older, bigger psychotic kid (he was later sent to a state home for mentally ill juveniles) who had been moved into our classroom after having picked up a smaller boy and thrown him across the room, in a rage. The school administration never called the doctor to check into me, or called my parents. They let the boy roam around the school all day, where he threatened me again. I ended up at the hospital anyway, and was diagnosed with a concussion from the beating.


My parents didn’t sue. My dad threatened to, unless the school removed the psycho and got help for him, which they did.

That wasn’t the first instance of bullying I went through. As a general matter, I have no confidence in the willingness of authorities to do the right thing in these matters, as opposed to doing the butt-covering thing. I came by it honestly.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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