Revenge Bullying – A Sad Story

I found a sad story about Revenge Bullying that came out of Colorado. The Denver Post reported that an 8th grade boy was picked on and beaten by some classmates, because he has a German name. Adrian Ulm was called a Nazi and beaten so badly he had to be hospitalized with broken bones and a head injury.

Adrian UlmNow the interesting part is that the justice system says that this cannot be declared a Hate Crime. How can that be? The argument made in this case is that Adrian fought back. The boy who beat him up wanted to fight and Adrian decided to defend himself in order to make the bullying stop.

Now he has a hospital bill and no recourse. This just doesn’t seem right to me. If tables were turned or the case was presented differently, then I believe it would end up in court as a hate crime. In the Denver Post article, it goes on to say:

His attacker won’t face criminal charges, because Adrian voluntarily took part in the fight, the Ulms were told. But a 2-year-old amendment to Colorado’s hate-crime laws could make Adrian’s assailant the first youth in Colorado to be sued for punitive damages on the basis of school bullying.

“I would definitely describe this as a hate crime,” said Adrian’s lawyer, Gregg McReynolds, who has not made a decision about a suit…

David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, agrees it’s important for schools to take bullying seriously.

“You need lots of options,” he said Monday. “But first, you need a criminal-justice system and a school system that takes it serious.”

I agree that we need fairness in the system, but more importantly, we need a system that takes these things seriously.

18 thoughts on “Revenge Bullying – A Sad Story

  1. Well this whole story has blown way out of proportion. I live in the Denver area, and I can say that most of this is not true. First of all, Adrian tempted the bully and it was ADRIAN’s idea in the first place to fight his bully, hoping that if he beat up the bully, then it would all stop. Only one side of the story has been told, and it keeps changing every day!!!!!!!!

  2. There’s so much to say about this example of hostility, abuse and brutality. I want to comment on only a few areas. You can see more on my blog ( and in my recent book, “How to stop Bullies in Their Tracks.”

    The adults failed. Whether they blame the legal system or say they didn’t know; they failed. Since the severe beating happened at the end of November, don’t you think that every student in school knew what was happening?

    The parents of the bully and his collaborators failed. They are supposed to know their children’s character and to stop their children’s bullying.

    The teachers failed. They are supposed to know who torments, abuses and bully’s another student and they are supposed to stop it. They allowed a hostile, abusive environment to continue. If the typical educational approaches don’t work rapidly, they are supposed to intervene in other ways.

    The principal failed. The principal is supposed to set a tone of zero tolerance. The principal is supposed to be courageous enough to cut through the legal red tape and somehow stop bullies. If the teachers don’t stop it, the principal is supposed to stop it and then get rid of those cowardly and/or ignorant teachers. The worst beating happened at the end of November and the principal did nothing effective for three months until the story became public.

    The administrators in the school district failed. The administrators are supposed to be courageous enough to cut through the legal red tape and somehow stop bullying. If the principal doesn’t stop it, the school district administrators are supposed to step in and then get rid of that cowardly and/or ignorant principal. The worst beating happened at the end of November and the district administrators did nothing effective for three months until the story became public.

    How can we hold up these teachers, principal and school district administrators as models for children? They have failed as models. Despite, or maybe because of, their colleges and universities, their degrees and certifications, their possible expertise in some course matter, they have shown themselves to be ignorant or cowardly or inept or all three. They have failed the public trust and are unfit to be teachers, principal or administrators.

    They should not be allowed to hide behind a poor legal system. We all know that there are schools in the most violent locations in which courageous administrators, principals and teachers bullying. And they do it in the face of the same.

    The 14 year-old boy who was bullied has shown himself to be courageous. He has succeeded. At first he did what we all try to do. We try accommodating in hopes that the bully will move on. We ask bullies to stop; we take the bullying; we try to understand what lousy home lives we think bullies must have; we try to rise above it. These tactics may stop many kids who are temporarily trying on bullying to see what it feels like, but those tactics don’t stop dedicated, relentless bullies. They are not effective for teaching children to stop bullies at school.

    Eventually that boy fought. I say he succeeded because, even though he was severely beaten he did what was necessary to try to stop his tormentors. He lost the fight but he emerges as the one person who is not a coward in this affair. He can hold his head up high all his life. He can keep his self-esteem. He can judge the adults as cowards and failures. I hope he is resilient enough to bounce back and continue to bullies the rest of his life. I hope that when he becomes an adult with more choices, he creates a personal life that is bully-free. Sometimes, a tormented teen can fight back and win – as in the case of the “Teen acquitted in punch.”

    Of course, bullies will always exist. America is not unique, nor are we the worst people in the world. We are outraged and we will try to make better systems. And more important, we still must train, seek and hire people who can act effectively, no matter how poor the system is at any moment. And we must educate and prepare individuals to be as courageous as that 14 year-old boy.

    Best wishes,

  3. What I don’t understand is how this can’t be considered a hate crime. The boy’s attackers called him a nazi, not only is that racist but it is unbelievably disgraceful. In my solemn opinion this would have to be the worst thing I have ever heard happen to someone. Now look I might only be in middle school but here;s my webiste which will change to bullying prevention.

  4. As someone who also has a name that can create a panorama of a horrific period of time, this is absolutely unacceptable period! Geoffrey and his minion… have you every had to fight off racism in your life? Have you ever been backed into a corner and been verbally attacked because of what you look like or because someone didn’t like your name?! No one has the right to verbally or physically hurt anyone no matter if it is provoked or not! Yes, there is always two sides to a story… but there is no justification for a little boy to come home to his mother with his face disgraced by gashes and scrapes from anyone. I think that instead of trying to justify any side, both sides should be educated. Why can’t the adults also discuss with a mediator of some sort what happened and not try to justify anyones mistakes? It all goes back to the parents, how they raised their children, and how MATURE they are. As a new mother, I am terrified to send my son to school with the thought that there is no protection for my baby! And there are repercusions for defending himself ???? I believe the way Billy Wolfe’s case is being handled is a good example of fighting the right way. No matter anyone’s opinion from that small-minded biased community, how can everyone just gang up on one person? No one seems to have compassion for his family. Those children that bruised his face, made him bleed did not think about how his mother felt having to see HER baby come home like that! YOUR DAMN RIGHT I’D SUE TOO! That’s what takes real courage!… That’s the best way, can’t hurt them physically?… HURT THEM WHERE IT HURTS! THEIR POCKETS!— maybe their parents will think about how they raised their kids when they can’t afford cable and luxeries because of their childrens actions which they learned from them!!!!!

  5. @Geoffrey Mickelson

    Adrian “tempted” the bully thinking that if he beat the bully up, the bullying would stop. Hmmm… who do you think is the bad person if that!? The bully of course. Sounds like Adrian had finally had enough and decided to confront his tormentor. That makes Adrian a brave young man who is fighting against evil. Sad, but I bet even after reading this, you still won’t “get it.”

  6. This makes me ‘angry’. To hear about this kind of stuff happening in schools. Where were adults when this happened?
    And he fought back to defend himself! Is there anything wrong with that? Also i think that the kid that beat him up needs to be taught what hate is. I think that adrian’s parents must be VERY upset and angry and they have a right to be.

  7. Adrian is a child and may not make the best “adult” decisions. But defending himself against insults and bullying in no way makes him as guilty as the ones who were bullying him in the first place. I guess to some violent supporting citizens in Denver, tempting a bully by standing up to them allows the bully to commit violence with impunity. Is the proper way to not tempt a group boys that are bullying you, is to just let them beat you up? Being from the Denver area does not give one insight to the assault. Unless you are an involved party or witness. I am sure the bullies are attempting to negate their blame by saying the victim started it. Physical evidence would not support the attackers position. Unless in fear of even worse injuries if he didn’t defend himself why would Adrien Fight a group of boys. Those that commit an assault should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible by law.

  8. Sadly, all the self esteem building exercises don’t always work. Sometimes your pushed into a corner and the only way out is to fight. Whether it is to protect yourself from a physical assult or a constant emotional assult. I went through 7 years of being bullied as a child, now I watch my step-son go through the same thing. Sorry, but unless you have had to walk across the school parking lot in fear, walk the halls in fear, walk home in fear, and go to bed in fear of the next day for weeks and months at a time, you have no room to judge Adrians actions. I support you Adrian.

  9. i will pray for you adrian cause no kid in the world should have to go to school being scared. just pray about it and god will fix it if you have faith. god bless

  10. The title of this post is misleading. I don’t know all the facts, but it appears that the German kid was acting in self-defense. Any competent lawyer will bring suit and win.

  11. Pingback: Revenge Bullying – A Sad Story | Bullying Stories

  12. I’ve written a book that enables people to insult others (bullies included) without having to actually confront them – especially if the other party is prone to violence.

    It contains a different, disgusting insult on each of its 99 pages & on page 1 there’s a table where they can tick the page numbers that apply. It’s good to use as a joke too!


    Peter McLaren

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