Teen Violence – Must Be O.K. Based On The Consequences – A Truly Amazing Story

Names are withheld due to privacy issues – but the story is true.

His name was “Bud” (not really but you know we won’t use real names) and he was standing at his buddy’s car talking since school had just let out for Christmas break. All the students were leaving this western North Carolina high school (again unnamed – although it should be for the travesty committed). O.K., I couldn’t resist…so here’s they school’s logo.

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Quickly from behind, seven kids (of a different ethnic origin) approached Bud – pressing him into the car (which kept his friend from being able to open the door to help) and began to beat Bud with a billy stick and tire iron. Serious injury was inflicted. Bud was defenseless. As soon as the attack was over, Bud – who had then dropped to his knees – arose and ran to his car – blood streaming down his face from the injury to his head from the tire iron.

The attackers quickly dispersed. The knew there was strength in numbers and surely they would be reported if they stayed for more violence.

What happened next is startling. School officials became involved, but did not take the responsibility to call Bud’s parents. The only way Bud’s mother knew of the attack was someone else – a friend – called her. Question: Wouldn’t you think that the school (especially since it happened on school property) would be the first to notify law enforcement and Bud’s parents since he was brutally attacked on school grounds? I would!

The school security officer along with administration that Bud could press charges, but as far as the school was concerned, they could do nothing till school resumed after the Christmas holiday.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that amazing. Seven kids brutally attacked Bud and the school felt they could do nothing? I wonder how many parents in that sleepy western North Carolina town feel that their children are safe at this high school. Personally, I can’t say that I have any confidence that the school and it administration has safety as a first priority.

But the story continues.

Bud has multiple stitches in his head – both internal and external. His head is wrapped with a bandage – indicating a severe head wound – and he is sent home – driving privileges removed due to his injury. How do I know this – I saw him first hand.

“Bud, are you going to press charges,” I asked? “I don’t know. I want to see what the school is going to do,” he responded.

“What provoked this anyway?”

“Well, I stepped on this kids foot when we were playing tennis. He got real ticked off (he used other language) and said that he was going to get me for that. Several times later when I saw him, he stated that “they” would take care of me. I just laughed it off. I mean this kid is a lot smaller than me…so what did I think he could do? Nothing! I didn’t know he was in a gang.”

I must admit I had the real feeling that Bud was not going to press charges. For all his spoken bravado, I believe that he feared for his life. In his mind, without directly saying so and embarrassing himself in front of his friends, I feel that Bud knew that if the police took action, he would be the target of continued attacks. And the next attack might leave him dead!

Christmas came and went.

School is now back in session. Many in the community waited to see what school officials would do to those involved in such a brutal attack on school property.

The punishment: In school suspension and suspension for a day.

Really? That’s it? Yep – that’s it. A criminal attack occurs on school grounds and the outcome is a slap on the wrist.

Fear. I understand why Bud didn’t press charges. But what kept the school from taking more significant action? Fear? Perhaps. Perhaps it was fear that parents would know that violence can happen in their school to their kids. So perhaps it would be better to sweep it under the rug. Keep the publicity down. After all, sleepy little western North Carolina towns aren’t suppose to have teen violence (especially on school property) and gangs.

According the the Junior Achievement Teen Ethics Survey:

In a particularly alarming finding given recent cases of school violence, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of all teens surveyed think violence toward another person is acceptable on some level. Of those who think so, the justifications for violence include settling an argument (27 percent) and revenge (20 percent).

I completely believe the report from Junior Achievement. It is true as evidenced by the violent attack Bud received.

Is there more to the story. I’m sure. Perhaps school officials would dare to comment. Perhaps they would care to discuss why they would not press criminal charges since the attack occurred on their property? Perhaps they could fill in the blanks – clarifying things that I would have no way of knowing? Perhaps they would care to answer why they failed to contact Bud’s parents? There are many questions yet to be answered.

The question is – what should be done to reduce teen violence? Likewise, what do you think the school officials should have done in this case?

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