April 28, 2004
Bullying is a crime +
16 year-old Joey Bari ("not a crybaby") won a lawsuit worth $195,000 from NYC public education because he was teased, pushed, and tripped while in middle school. I'm not sure if this case sets a legal precedent for defining teasing and bullying as a crime (or at least, charging a school system when they ignore such behavior) but it certainly makes me wonder how little Joey will turn out as an adult. Apparently the bullies teased him for his slicked-back hair and preppy clothes, and the primary bully called him "freckle juice." I don't know about you, but just about everybody I know went through way worse than this during those difficult pre-teen years. There were kids in my middle school who got physically harassed every day. Believe it or not, some kids were even called names way meaner than "freckle juice."
Teasing and bullying are major social problems in every single school in the country, and there are many in-school and after-school programs that encourage kids to accept differences and treat each other with greater respect. However, having a mother like Mary Bari (who is probably majorly bitter over her ridiculous name, and is lashing out at others to try to gain some self-respect) who says things like, "He was going through mental and physical abuse. I always told him never to fight. Now he's emotionally damaged. He doesn't trust older people after the school refused to do anything to stop this" probably isn't going to help little Joey develop into a self-sufficient well-adjusted adult either. Instead of suing the Deptartment of Education, maybe you could have taught Joey a few choice insults and washed the grease out of his hair, Mary.
Hope you fare better in private school, freckle juice.