Billy Wolfe – The Reluctant Victim


My friend and co-worker Jay Ferrari sent me an article from the NY Times about Billy Wolfe, the tragic character who was recently caught on a cell phone video getting attacked by a bully.

But, of course, that is not the end of the story. He is 16 and this has been happening for 4 years, since he was 12. The school district knows about it, but seems to place blame on the victim.

It remains unclear why Billy became a target at age 12; schoolyard anthropology can be so nuanced. Maybe because he was so tall, or wore glasses then, or has a learning disability that affects his reading comprehension. Or maybe some kids were just bored. Or angry.

Whatever the reason, addressing the bullying of Billy has become a second job for his parents: Curt, a senior data analyst, and Penney, the owner of an office-supply company. They have binders of school records and police reports, along with photos documenting the bruises and black eyes. They are well known to school officials, perhaps even too well known, but they make no apologies for being vigilant. They also reject any suggestion that they should move out of the district because of this…

Judging by school records, at least one official seems to think Billy contributes to the trouble that swirls around him. For example, Billy and the boy who punched him at the bus stop had exchanged words and shoves a few days earlier.

But Ms. Wolfe scoffs at the notion that her son causes or deserves the beatings he receives. She wonders why Billy is the only one getting beaten up, and why school officials are so reluctant to punish bullies and report assaults to the police.

It’s more disturbing then this. Read the whole article at the NY Times site. Let me know your feedback. I am certainly disturbed at the way Billy was and is treated. What do you think. Watch the video!   Is it telling the whole story? What is the school’s responsibility? I have to wonder, when will we see some real change here.

46 thoughts on “Billy Wolfe – The Reluctant Victim

  1. They shouldn’t have to move to another school district. Billy has the right to go to school there, and be safe.

  2. As a victim of bullying during my Junior and Senior High school years, I certainly will be watching this case very closely. During my High School graduation, I was booed by several kids when I went on stage to receive my diploma. They just couldn’t resist to get in one more final taunt before we all went our separate ways. At that point, I vowed to never attend any of my High School reunions. They say time heals all wounds, but emotional scars take longer to heal.

  3. I was bullied from age 5 till the day i graduated high school and the sad truth is schools don’t do enough to protect students and its very wrong.this child deserves protection and i hope the parents win the suit and the stupid school open their eyes to what they should be doing for the student body.

  4. First of all i am a student at Fayetteville High School…I am sick and tired of everyone feeling so sorry for Billy Wolfe. Only the students at Fayetteville High School know the full story. I find it very worrisome that the national news can publish a story that is so onesided and wrong. There is hard proof against everything that Billy and his mother have said in the past weeks. No attacks on Billy have happend just because “the bullies were bored”!!! Billy is known for his trash talking! When you walk up to a black man and call him the “N” word, kill a disabled childs cat, and talk trash about a dead mother what do you think is going 2 happen 2 you? In a perfect world the people Billy is hurting would just turn their cheek and walk away but last time I checked, we don’t live in a perfect world. I really don’t have anything against Billy but i have been going 2 school with him since 5th grade and hes not the perfect child that the nation thinks he is…

  5. Wow, I don’t recall a post getting so much feedback. As I have said before, there are always two sides to the story and ensuring that the all sides are heard is very important. But violence is not the solution and the video of the fight is not going to solve the issues on either side.

    Certainly the full story is known mainly by those involved. Your voice is important “concerned student” and I for one am glad you feel that you have a forum through this blog to rebut. I will say, though that I won’t post rebuttals with profanity or threats. I do get those as well. If you sent one, it won’t show up here. Being respectful, direct, and creating a good argumentative case will most certainly get you published on this blog and I want to see as much of that here as possible.

    The bullying problem is not unlike a war. There are two or even many sides to it. It is not my intent to take a direct side, but to hopefully help end the war and find a peaceful solution. At least that is the hope. Thank you for the dialogue and please continue to send your responses.

  6. The concerned student set me thinking. His logic seems so extreme. Did Billy walk up to a Black student and call him the ‘N’ word or did he kill somebody’s cat.
    Look at the consequences, instead of reporting the matter, the students took the matter in their own hands. What gave them the right to beat up Billy… his trash talks… So if anybody talks badly to them they will retaliate… is it. Is that what they are learning from the school system. What i heard from the concerned student was a ‘bully’s’ attempt to justify himself. A physically strong person does not have to strong arm his way to make his point. That person has lot of recources including walking away from such scenes.
    Finally look back at what the concerned student wrote and read it a couple of times. He tries to create sympathy for justification of violence and it is time such people suffer the consequence of their action.
    Finally… if people like the concerned student and even Billy have no faith in the school and local administration, then they have a right to appeal to larger institutitions or bodies to address their grievances than taking matter in their own hands.

  7. @concerned student

    If your accusations of Billy are true (cat killer, racist, etc.), it in no ways justifies the response of his peers! The video showed an unprovoked attack that cannot be justified in any manner whatsoever.

    Since you have taken the initiative to “out” the real Billy, perhaps you might provide some evidence to back up your claims?! Without it, it simply looks as if you are both a victim and perpetrator of hurtful rumors. You know, my sister was rumored to be a slut in Junior High, something she wasn’t. The rumor stemmed from a boyfriend whose Father molested her. The boyfriend was told by his Father that she “wanted it.” When news got out, he spread the rumor that she was a slut who seduced his Dad. This led to her eventual mental collapse and sadly drug addiction. Not one student thought to themselves that she was an innocent victim. Pathetic.

    You, concerned student, are evil in my eyes. One, for being so naive and ignorant to believe everything you hear and Two, for further spreading the vile rumors in an attempt to justify the torture of another human being. I pity you.

  8. And to the post by “concerned student,” he did not call a black man the N word, dont spew out bs on a national blog.
    And also, I’m not even a friend of Billy’s, I have just been in one class with him, and the treatment he got was extremely bad

  9. I feel for Billy Wolfe and his family. I share with mbark his anger at the blame the victim mentality that bullying is part of a child’s life. However that doesn’t change that such a mentality exists. If I were geographically closer to Billy Wolfe I would ask his parents for permission to take the boy under my wing to teach him among other things how to defend himself for that very reason.

    It may be politically incorrect for me to say but I don’t doubt the lad tried to use these post-new-jack-era conflict resolution methods they palm off on children nowadays with only raucous sardonic laughter as his reward.

    I’m from the old school and know from personal experience that the only way to get a bully off one’s back is to, as my mother used to say, “bite a plug out of him.” Those efforts of “I statements” and “assertiveness training” would never work with the likes of Pinochet, Duvalier, Milosevic, Saddam, bin Laden or al Farah. The only way to stop those guys is to let them have a good poke in the snoot. For me, the methods of conflict resolution they teach in school nowadays is fine up to a point but in some cases is inappropriate at best and often hypocritical at worse.

    I urge any veteran especially those who served within the special warfare community or anyone who could teach Billy Wolfe how to protect himself to do just that. If Billy Wolfe himself and/or anyone close to him is reading this I urge them to get hold of a copy of Get Tough or Defendu by W.E. Fairbairn (Author). I hesitate to post this for fear that those who torment the lad will do so and use those techniques against him.

    In high school I, too faced tormentors who during the 1970s used the combative aspects of the Disciplines of the Body and of the Mind that most of you know as the martial arts against those without such skills or physical training of any sort. In fact that is how I learned many of the techniques I used as an instructor years ago. It was so rough that even schoolteachers had used these techniques against “recalcitrant” students. I began formal study in high school when a bully had challenged my slightly-built self. Although it wasn’t the first time I had successfully stood up to a bully, it was when I had sworn an unspoken oath to stand up to his ilk. Thus I rejected a full-ride art school scholarship and worked my way through to study law. Billy Wolfe and children like him are why I took that unspoken oath. I hope that someone will help him.

    If everyone folds up their arms and refuses to help Billy Wolfe I guarantee in this writing that either the lad will commit suicide or worse, become a terrorist angry with the world and eager for revenge. Columbine and Oklahoma City were just warnings that bin Laden and his ilk could become the least of our problems if we don’t do something for that boy right now.
    Billy, if you can read this, son, you’re not alone. I’ve been there in the same spot and I had to fight my way out, too. Whatever you do, don’t think about suicide. Those cowards don’t deserve the right to brag about how they drove you out of life. I only regret that distance prevents me from helping you more than I can. Try to find your own inner strength. Know yourself. And I don’t care what anyone says, lad, YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS. Nobody deserves this.

  10. I just wonder what it would look like here at my work if we each took turns beating up the loud mouth of the group? Laying your hands on another human being without permission is unacceptable. I address this to “Concerned student”, and the many who might read this. Even if Billy is a problem child, who gives anyone the right to hurt another person? This should be compared to the terrorist threats that we assign to any threats in our schools across america today. These people who bully Billy, should be suspended, arrested, expelled and THEIR parents held accountable for their own out of control kids. There is absolutely no excuse for hurting anyone. My work would have the police here, we would be arrested and charges filed. What are you learning in this school, and what are we adults teaching this upcoming generation if we allow this kind of stuff in our schools?

  11. Often times words are as hurtful as being hit and it did not appear to me that Billy was injured at all on that video. He fought back and the other kld was about the same size. Boys are going to fight and the other kid must have been provoked at some point. Billy will not get away with that kind of behavior in the real world. He will either get fired or be the boss that you hate.

  12. I just hope this Billy kid doesn’t get really ‘angry’ and take a gun to school…I think Schools need to take Bulling seriously. We are living in different times Not putting a stop to this is just irresponsible.

  13. Who is in charge at this school and are there any rules??? I’m not sure what the law is there, but in Mississippi whenever a punch is thrown on school property the police are called NO MATTER WHAT! I think that has help our schools cut down on the physical bulling at least. I just can’t understand how any adult can possibly say this boy got what he deserved when he was hit in the face with a block of wood so hard that he was knocked out for several minutes! I don’t see anything changing with the school system until this family files a lawsuit against the district, and that’s a sad fact that that has to be done in order for these people to wake up and do their job….keep the children safe!!!! Billy if you or your family are reading this please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, I am so sorry that you have had to endure this…nothing you have done could make you deserve any of this treatment!

  14. I am also in favor of flooding his home with cards, gifts and other expressions of love. We could also take time out of our day and send the local court a letter addressed to the judge expressing our concern for the sake of Billy and others at that local school.

  15. I can only hope that the school decides to do something about these kids that are bullying Billy. Get them out of that school! No kid deserves to be treated this way and the way the school has been handeling this is disgusting. This is EXACTLY why there is violence in schools. Parents need to teaching their children to treat others with respect & kindness. I am perfectly aware that these kids are old enough to make their own decisions, but good behavior starts in the home. Are these kids being punished at home for what they are doing? I pray for Billy & hope that something is done about this & he can go on with his life & finish his education without always having to look over his shoulder. I also agree with sending Billy some kind of support. If anyone has any ideas on how we can do this, please fill us in!!

  16. I guess I just don’t understand this school system. As the mother of two high school aged girls I have seen and heard many stories…thankfully none have involved my daughters! Our school system has a ZERO Tolerance on bullying. If a student physically attacks another student there would be consequences: In School Suspension, Suspension or Expulsion…..depending on the severity and number of occurances. What is wrong with this school? Do the students committing the bullying have “connections” that protect them? Is this just a social “norm” for that area of the country? Did none of these administrators pay any attention to COLOMBINE!!!! At the very least the students who have attacked Billy should be EXPELLED from their school district and forced to apply to neighboring districts. This is what would happen if this incident were to occur in our school.

    My heart goes out to Billy and his family. I would be very upset if my child were being bullied…..but I would be devistated if my child were the bully. No one deserves to be tormented daily in their life. Shame on these bullies, shame on their school district and SHAME ON THEIR PARENTS!!!! Wake up folks!!! You’re an embarrassment!

    Although winning a court settlement cannot replace Billy’s loss of self esteem, give back his childhood that should have been carefree, or heal his unseen wounds that will stay with him for the rest of his life…I hope his family wins a huge settlement against the bully’s parents and the school district.

  17. As like pecos blue, is there a blog site or email address that we can send Billy and his parents expressions of our support and encouragement.

  18. I agree with the idea that violence is not the answer, but let’s be perfectly honest here. These are high school boys, they are filled with testosterone and are not known to make the best decisions. In the heat of the moment, all they can think about is showing Billy that they will not take that from him. And the only way they can think of at the moment to do so is hitting him. That is the way that boys that age work, they don’t always make the best decisions but they are not necessarily the ones to blame. Words can hurt worse than punches much of the time. Billy, coming from someone who knows him, would hurt those boys with his words. And a part of me believes that if he had the ability, he would hurt them with his fists as well.
    Billy was not being “bullied”. Billy was having people react to what he did. The definition of a bully is A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. The people who would react to Billy were not doing it habitually. It sounds horrible, but it was just him. And they did it because these boys do not know how to handle their anger.
    The school would punish them and there is nothing more they can do. You can not sit a high school boy down and say, “you must like billy Wolfe.” Just as they couldn’t get billy to understand to leave these kids alone.
    I know that if someone were to call my recently decease mother a “German Nazi Skank” I would not be thinking about turning the other cheek or the consequences of any action that I took. I am not even a male and I would have reacted in a violent way just because it was in the heat of the moment. Young kids are not able to stop and think about what is the “right” thing to do is that said situation.
    It also angers me that Billy and his family have straight up lied to the media. And that the media has done nothing but take their word for it. I would be much more understanding if Billy really was an innocent kid who was getting bullied, that would be a different story. But he is not. He is a bully himself. He matches the definition. And I wish that our country could see that.

  19. 1. Fighting The “Gang Mentality”
    By Anonymous (Male)
    I bet the bullies that actually fight with Billy are actually being manipulated by their friends. This is how it works: the ring leader decides to demonstrate his power by manipulating his or her minions to harass a seemingly vulnerable student. The ring leader says “so-and so is x, y and Z”. If you minions want to be in my click you must punish so an so. Off the minions go to execute their masters bidding. Of course, the master (alpha male or female) does not use such direct language – his or her instructions are subtle, but well understood. Often the ring leader avoids punishment because they are smart enough to avoid direct involvement. Instead they sit back and enjoy the show – manipulating their simple minded minions and indirectly bulling those that they cannot affectively control.
    Please do not encourage the victim to fight. The result can easily be devastating. Encourage the victim to use the law. Fights can go bad wrong. Lost teeth, death fro traumatic head injury, choking deaths, eye damage. The victim may not be willing to lose they may choke stab shoot hit with object ect…. the aggressor may be really mean – and or stupid he could do any of the above. Often the aggressor is just some stupid person that the real bully is using as a proxy
    My fights didn’t end to bad – A good undercut cracked my molar – and the magnetic CB antenna base plate I was holding severely injured and attacker – he came close to death. He was a good person manipulated by rotten idiots – what if I killed him?? I like my teeth and would have liked to skip the gold crown. My hands are still scared from the teeth and bone of the attackers I have been forced to fight. And yes, I have run from many fights also. I am proud to say I have never fought some who did not first attack me. I have learned through the years and I am now better able to stay away from dangerous people. Being out of school helps because it is hard to stay away from them when you are in the same school.
    Martial arts are great, but you don’t have to study them long to figure out how to kill someone – man its strange but 8 out of 10 fights I have been in were with some dummy that didn’t even realize he was fighting for someone else. Do you really want to kill someone like this. I don’t want to spend 20 years in jail. You don’t want your son or daughter going to reform school – I hear the fighting there is worse. They will be taught how to smoke crack.
    The school system needs to be trained to circumvent the sub grouping that is taking place at this undisciplined school. The school is obviously slandering the victim. Blame the victim – is the best tactic to use – its great when you can convince your parents and teachers that your violent behavior is ok. And guess what – allot of the uninvolved students concur that Billy is the problem. But, the truth is – they may actually be the behind the scene manipulator. Some of the students are saying “ I just avoid Bill”. That’s great so half the kids are physically and verbally torturing Billy and the other half are isolating him socially. May as well shot him in the head. Look Dummies be nice to Billy show him by example how to act. Help him make friends. Show some compassion.

    There is this great saying in this old book I looked in once. Goes something like “ Treat others as you would like to be treated” – I find when I am able to do this I sleep better. I’m not real good at it, but I am going to try to do better.

  20. Hang in there Billy Wofle!
    My son, Ryan, has been bullied unmercifully for 3 years now by jocks in his class. It all started with naming Ryan the class Fag and his self esteem and social standing have taken a dive from there.
    The “fearless” leader of these bullies (son of a weak mother & has no father) gets away with what he is doing every year, but our family vigilance has enabled the school to send two of his cohorts packing — one 2 years ago and one this year…
    My son still suffers everyday though because his classmates will not admit what they see and hear the bullies do — naturally they all fear they will be next.

    We cheer for Billy Wolfe & his family! Go get justice!

  21. I can say only a few things about Billy Wolfe, He is lucky that he can even come back to school, now i have been bullied at my old school before i came here but that was because i’m an army brat and the school was anti-war. But billy, you can say one thing to him and he is in your face and trying to start a fight with you. I have a class with him and everyone i’ve heard talk about him has said that going national with it was the worst thing he could do. he was supposed to have been on the Oprah talk show but she did some investigating about what was really going on at the school and she cancelled him from her show. On the today show you did not see the true billy wolfe. you did not see the pothead and the trash talker that goes to FHS. and for Mrs. Bucci. i respect what you have done to your son but please do not use stereotypical words such as “jocks”. Not all “jocks” are like that. I will admit some are like that, but i play football, and when you knock heads with 250 pound lineman monday through friday you can be a little tense.

  22. As someone who works in the school system, this article is very disturbing to say the least. I know what it feel like to be bullied and have a extra sensitivity to such issues. That being said, it does appear that Billy may be bullying other students as a reaction to being bullied himself. This however does not justify the cowardly attacks leveled at him I only state this to say that all bulling needs to be dealt with. The problem is bullying is a type of act that involves control and the ones who do it, have a way of intimidating others not to say anything about it. Most school administrators can not do anything about the bullying if it is not witnessed by others, especially if there are conflicting accounts of what actually happened. To be sure, poor Billy seems to be a victim of bullying, but it sounds like he has also given as well as he has received.

  23. To ‘Voice of Reason’ – PLEASE read Billy’s parent’s response to that article, which nwa news refuses to print. You can go to the blogs at http://www.myspace.com/mslovesbilly to read the “whole” story. I’ve copied and pasted it below:

    Letter from Wolfe attorney

    As you may know, I have been involved in a high profile case involving bullying at Fayetteville High School. You might have read an article in the NWA Times that we consider very unfair and irresponsible. Curt and Penney Wolfe have responded w/ the letter below. They do not have the resources of the Fayetteville School District and the Northwest Arkansas Times to rebut the irresponsible articles and press releases. After reading the letter, if you feel compelled to help we ask that you simply forward this letter to some of your friends. Then, we ask that you email the Northwest Arkansas Times and ask them to print the Wolfe’s response in its entirety. The Northwest Arkansas Times email is:

    email@nwarktimes.com

    A LETTER TO FAYETTEVILLE FROM A MOTHER AND FATHER

    As parents we hope that your children never have to endure the wrath of the public relations machines of Fayetteville School District and the Northwest Arkansas Times. Under the headline of “Who’s the bully? Police school records raise questions about claims made by Fayetteville High Student,” the Northwest Arkansas Times became a part of the problem instead of the solution. The head line is wrong and the Northwest Arkansas Times had all the information that we are sharing with you before it printed the article.

    With the exception of one, all of the boys interviewed have brutally assaulted our son, or have participated in the Facebook group entitled “Everyone That Hates Billy Wolfe” including Dylan Gray who suffers from muscular dystrophy and is in a wheel chair. Dylan was one of the creators of the Facebook site. All of the boys interviewed have violated the criminal statutes of the State of Arkansas, except for Andrew Holtzen who claims our son threw dirt clods at his house. In this Facebook group they called our son a “b****” and reminded everybody how they yelled “F*** you” at him and hit him in the face with a newspaper and the teacher did nothing. Ian Teeters states in the Northwest Arkansas Times’ article that our son is blowing this all out of proportion and “[he] never really planned to hit Wolfe.” The Northwest Arkansas Times presents the attack as if Ian Teeters stepped in the middle of an altercation between our son and another student whose name is Will Starks. That is far from the truth.

    On March 7, 2007, Will Starks posted on Facebook that “everybody’s going to kick his ass” referring to our son. On March 8, 2007, Will Starks stated “ha ha who said I was going to hit him? Ha ha nah I got people who are going to do it 4 me…”

    On March 9, 2008, another Facebook site that encouraged “Everybody Start Carrying Their Cameras to School and Provoking People to get into Fights! We Need Some Pictures!!” the bragging continued. Will Starks stated further:

    “my friend just clocks this little b*** right in his jaw and ends up bustin out 1 or 2 of his teeth and this little hoe just drops to the floor and just passes the F**** out or just starts ballin ___ but it was funny as sh**!!! I’m a little made that I didn’t get a punch in b/c a teacher was right around the corner ……. agh damn I wish I could of.”

    We brought these posts to the attention of Byron Zeagler who did not approach any of these kids. On March 9, 2008 Ian Teeters sucker punched our son knocking him out cold. His whole face was bruised. It was not Ian Teeters stepping in between Will Starks and our son. It was a cold blooded and pre-planned attack. One 14 year old girl related the attack to her mother as follows:

    She said a big boy just turned around and punched Wolfe in the face with his fist so hard it knocked him to the floor. She said that Wolfe had done nothing to this boy whom she did not know. The teachers stuck their heads out of the doors and said “kids cut it out.” They ignored the attack. This angered her and she wanted to say something to the big boy that hit Wolfe, but she was too scared.

    This was not an attack brought on by our son as the Northwest Arkansas Times and the School District would have you believe. Lindsey Broadway, the daughter of an FHS coach and teacher, posted in a new Facebook group entitled “Bias.” Lindsey claimed that she spoke with her father and another teacher, and that they spoke negatively about Billy’s academic performance. It does not surprise us that teachers continue to talk negatively and breed this culture of hate as they are just following the administration’s example. There is no way our son can learn in this hostile environment. She further stated “part of me wishes he would get the crap beaten out of him, he is lier [sic] and there is no need for that…he is lying!” Finally, she stated as if it were a fact that “Billy killed Dylan’s cat.”

    Lindsey is just one of the students engaging in an intentional rumor spreading campaign on the internet. A significant number of these posts are being done during school time, supposedly at Fayetteville High School. The posts appear to be a coordinated effort to portray our son as a “cat killer,” that is cruel to animals in general. The only student thus far to post a conflicting opinion was Dylan Gray himself (the owner of the cat that many students claim our son killed) who posted that he only “suspect[ed] that he killed my cat.” Our son did NOT kill Dylan’s cat. Our son is NOT cruel to animals. These rumors are just more savage assaults on our son. The vast majority of the student’s accounts offer nothing more than rumors; things the students have heard from “friends” or sadly, parents and teachers as in Lindsey’s case. We have been very careful to only relay facts, or events that we have witnessed first hand to every media outlet we have spoken with. It’s unfortunate (but predictable) that our son’s attackers, the Northwest Arkansas Times and the School District are not doing the same.

    Perhaps most heartbreaking is the continued bullying by the Fayetteville School District’s Public Relations Department and its Superintendent. On March 24, 2008, the school district issued a press release stating “In fact, the whole story cannot be told, since the Federal Family and Education Right to Privacy Act prohibits the release of any information from a student’s record to anyone other than the student’s parent or guardian,” inferring that if the New York Times writer knew that our son was really a loser, he would not be writing the article. John Brummett of the Morning News confirmed our suspicions in his April 3rd column where he wrote that although Bobby New, Fayetteville’s Superintendent of Schools could not discuss student’s disciplinary records, Mr. New pointed out to Mr. Brummett, with an assumed wink, a letter to the editor in the NWA Times which offered that it was the “shared opinion” that our son “picks fights,” he is “rude to his superiors” and his mother is an “opportunist.” This comes from a man that is supposed to protect our son. Statements like these from the School District are why it is necessary to have a police car at our son’s bus stop. This same attitude is why he has been beaten time and again. The School District is creating a culture of hatred along with the bullies and the Northwest Arkansas to savage our son and our family. By the way, the young man that signed the letter to the editor (we expect that it was written by the school district) in the Northwest Arkansas Times is the same young man that stated in the Northwest Arkansas Times article that our son threw dirt clods at his house.

    The press release goes on to state that the District has no jurisdiction over many of the incidents leaving the impression that the District was somehow absolved of its responsibility. Please note that out of the nine (9) incidents noted by the Northwest Arkansas Times, eight (8) happened on school property or on the way to school. Also, please note that there was no police report available for six (6) out of the nine (9) incidents. The report for the one incident that occurred outside of the jurisdiction of the school was unavailable because the perpetrators were juveniles. The two available police reports were only made because we reported the attacks after the school refused to report.

    It is interesting that although the School District and Superintendent New seem to lament that the federal laws prevent them from releasing student information they somehow found a way to get Byron Zeagler’s private notes about our son into the Northwest Arkansas Times with the purpose of making him look like a trouble maker. First of all, our son does not remember most of these incidents and secondly and most important are his individual education plans (“IEPs”) for the last four years. Our son is a special education student and a committee made up of his principal and his teachers develop a plan for him. This committee is one of Byron Zeagler’s responsibilities. For the last four years the committee stated that Billy needed no behavioral interventions. If Mr. Zeagler thought Billy’s behavior was a problem, it should have been in these documents. Instead of Mr. Zeagler providing the assessment of the controlling legal documents to the police or the press, he made his private notes available. Why? He did not have accountability to the committee for his private notes. The more incriminating question is why these documents were supplied to the police when our son was savagely attacked as noted above. Certainly he got our son’s records confused with Ian Teeters, the attacker. We wonder if Ian Teeters’ records are going to be made available to the Northwest Arkansas Times or does Mr. Zeagler only keep private notes on our son? Our son’s IEP reports showing this information will be made available to anybody that asks. Mr. Zeagler has defamed and terrorized our son. The IEP report goes further and states that Billy is “quiet, cooperative and pleasant, but has recently had dark circles under his eyes and they recommend counseling to help reduce his anxieties.” At the end of his IEP review one of the teachers said the ” bleeding of Billy Wolfe has to stop.” It will stop.

    We will be glad to provide all of our son’s records, Facebook posts and other source documents to back up this letter. These are the same documents that were in large provided to the Northwest Arkansas Times and were ignored.

    Sincerely,

    Penney and Curt Wolfe

  24. thank you “voice of reason” Its more oft than not that there is a one sided story. Ive known many Billy wolfes. They are not innocent. However, sometimes kids find any reason to hit or fight whether it is true or due. I am glad you printed the link. I was looking for the story, this sheds new light on the subject, as it is not only kids, but teachers and disabled children, with no reason to lie, tellling these stories. Get all the facts people before you believe every sad story. I feel bad for the boy, but come on, you reap what you sow. These are kids, what do you expect.

  25. I too attended Fayetteville High School and Woodland Jr. High School from 1988-1991. During my eighth and ninth grade years, I was mercilessly bullied by a great number of other kids. While most of it was verbal abuse, it did occasionally cross into the physical. After my parents complained to Woodland’s principal, very little was done other than a “talking to” with several of the bullies. Like with Billy Wolfe, when the bullies were called into the principal’s office, they defended their actions by saying that I brought it upon myself. This only resulted in intensified torment. I never complained again. I held my tongue and took the abuse, as I had resigned myself to the fact that nobody would protect me.

    To those of you who have never had to endure two years of abuse, you will never appreciate what kids like Billy endure daily. I know very well what it is like to fear waking up in the morning, knowing you have to go to school. I feared the walk to the bus stop. I feared the ride to school, where I was often forced to stand because no one would allow me to sit next to them. I dreaded every minute in the schoolyard prior to the doors being opened.

    In a situation like that, you are surrounded by enemies. You have no friends. No one to run to, and no place to take cover. You are exposed, naked, and at your weakest. No one will stick up for you and absolutely nobody intervenes on your behalf. Ever. Unless you’ve lived that, you have no idea how you fear the bell ringing, knowing you have to go out into the hallways to face the gauntlet before you get to your next class.

    I recall many times being either beaten, intimidated, or verbally abused on many occasions while a crowd of cheering kids looked on with hostile, acid glares of hatred. No one understands the fear, frustration, and silent rage you live with unless it’s happened to you repeatedly.

    Fortunately for me, as I entered FHS, the bullying ceased. I was accepted into a circle of friends and my life got to be somewhat bearable.

    Maybe it was because I had moved to Fayetteville as the new kid form overseas. Maybe it was because of my glasses, my lanky physique, or my the fact that I was a complete geek. Who knows? I don’t really care. I still harbor incredibly intense feelings of anguish over my two years at Woodland Jr. High School, and still hold hard grudges against the teachers who never protected me. And I wasn’t the only one, either.

    I have since moved on in my life. I left FHS in such a rush after graduation that I joined the Army and volunteered for the Airborne just to see if I was tough enough to cut it. I have since stayed in the Army, grown to over 6’2’’, and weigh 220lbs. My physical size is enough to intimidate most people when they first meet me. I have earned a degree, a commission, and achieved the rank of Major. I am now serving our country proudly as a Military Intelligence Officer. I have served two tours with 30 months in combat in Iraq. The Army pays me to be a geek, and I’m pretty good at what I do. My co-workers and subordinates refer to me as a “Geek”, and I wear that label proudly, as they say it with both respect and affection.

    Most of the people that tormented me at Woodland are now over the hill, overweight, and have never left Fayetteville. They’re struggling to pay their bills and find a job. The most exciting thing they’ve done in their entire lives is watch the Hogs win a game or bowled a 280. I guess they just peaked too soon. I certainly got the last laugh.

    But the one thing I’ve taken with me my entire life has been the realization of my hatred for bullies. If there’s one thing that is still a personal issue with me, it’s bullies. I saw plenty of it in Iraq, only there the bullies are carrying weapons and killing their victims. I feel proud and sanctified when I stand up for the weak, and those who cannot protect themselves. It is my duty, my privilege, and my mission as a Soldier. Whether it’s protecting people like the Iraqis or Billy Wolfe.

    So you hang in there, Billy. Know that you’re not alone and that I stand firmly by your side. No matter how things get now, bottle that rage and funnel it into your own achievements. We Geeks live a rough childhood, but historically we have a pretty good track record and are the people responsible for making history. You have great potential to go far, my friend. Make the most of it.

    Major Mike Philipak
    United States Army
    Military Intelligence Corps

  26. Well said Major Philipak. Being in Washington, DC I have worked with many in the Army and appreciate what you have done for all of us. I only wonder what your bullies think now that you are one that has made your career out of defending and protecting them. Your story speaks volumes and proves that it does end and in many cases turns around to success from these tough days. While their is a saying “what doesn’t kill you only makes you tougher”, I don’t think that was meant to be taken against bullying.

    Thank you for your well said and life changing response. Good luck to you from a fellow “geek”.

  27. Major Philipak i respect what you have done for our country just as i respect what my father and grandfather has done. i do know that billy is picked on not just for doing what he did to some of these people but the way he came out about his bullying . now if the news had picked up the lawsuit after hearing about it from the local newspaper. he went to the new york times first than to today show than to the local papers and channels.

  28. I am the mother who had to call the school administration about a year ago to tell them that my child came home concerned because Billy Wolfe told him that he was going to bring a gun to school and kill some people. The police were called and it is on file. My child was not one of the bullies. He was the victim of being bullied. Mrs. Wolfe denies that her “perfect” son could say such a thing. I think she needs to examine the situation and realize for her child’s safety that he may be the bully. She needs to get herself and her son out of the lawyers office and into counseling!

  29. No matter what “Billy did” to these other children…what he has received in return is outrageous and out of line. Where are the parents to the other children? Why have they not spoken? Maybe they have and I missed it.

  30. Why would the Wolfs drop their legal battle? Billy Wolfs has been harassed, beaten and slandered by people at his school for a long time. And, don’t you expect Billy would lash out after such long term abusive treatment. Box anyone into a corner and see what they do. The words the other students used were not to describe Billy, they were used to torment Billy. Does your child hate Billy Wolf? Why don’t you call the Wolfs and offer them some support. Make sure your sons and daughters know to involve Billy in their social circles and activities.
    The Wolfs going to the press was the right thing to do – this doesn’t need to be swept under the rug , it need to be investigated and examined in detail, problems need to be addressed, solutions need to be implemented and justice needs to be served. Do you want to solve the problem are do you want to keep blaming the victim.
    Bullies harass their victims and then when the victims lash back the bullies use this to justify their torture.
    This reminds me of day when I was 13. I waved at another boy driving by with his father in our neighborhood. They pulled up beside me and the father dog cussed and threatened me for giving him the bird – I didn’t give him the bird. I just waved. His son was laughing. I was very scared and hurt. The boy was a Bully It was then I realized where it came from. I tried to tell him I didn’t give him the Bird but he didn’t want to believe me.

    What is wrong with contacting the Media. Its a great story. Glad I heard it

  31. I was bullied throughout from kindergarten through 8th grade when I transferred to a charter school whose students are more accepting. Mostly the kids made fun of me because I’m autistic and I don’t wear “popular clothes” – just jeans and a T-shirt, can’t afford anything else. One girl harassed me for not going to church, which I didn’t at the time. There were many rumors that I was a lesbian, which was true but I still denied. They also made fun of my seizures. The worst thing about that year, though, was that the physical violence elements of the bullying I’d experienced all my life intensified much more compared to previous years.

    There would be usually five boys ganging up on me, beating me and at times trying to rape me. Luckily I could get away at that point, but it was pretty awful. They would slam my head against the water fountain and the sinks, and push me to the ground, and one time because of this for a week I could barely walk. They made fun of my special interests, which at the time were quantum mechanics and UFOs. One thing I learned at this time is that when you’re dealing with serious bullying, even when it’s still just at the verbal stage, ignoring just makes things worst. Maybe it works with little kids just making typical insults, maybe they tire quick, but I know that I spent three weeks not even acknowledging them, just looking through, and it just persuaded them to up the ante, so to speak, to try to provoke me. Running away and fighting back were my best bets, though as I was out of shape running wouldn’t do me much good (in elementary school and junior high I most often did not get to participate in PE because it was easier for the school to sit me out than to deal with the bullies on the field, and I was in adaptive PE anyway, and motor tasks are difficult). Fighting wasn’t much good, either, since I hadn’t been formally trained (though my dad did teach me the right way to punch) as we couldn’t afford lessons, and I wasn’t nearly as strong as five boys.

    When I reported these things to the office (I would litterally spend a couple hours out of class each day in her office pleading to have something done about this, but she would just ignore me, lecture me about the importance of being in class, or tell me it’s all my fault because I rock, walk oddly, have seizures, and don’t wear designer jeans. Yes this is really what I was told. And they told me I shouldn’t defend myself because it doesn’t get me anywhere. Well, as long as they’re taking me down, I’m at least going to cut them down a notch too. Cussing at a jerk can be all you have when they otherwise have grabbed so much control over you. Throwing things at them, hitting them, threatening them, sometimes it’s all you have to keep yourself from lashing out in more drastic ways. It’s been five f***ing years and while I no longer have flashbacks and nightmares about it, it still makes me angry.

    An exact quote from the counselor: “There are three things you don’t talk about: religion, politics, and space aliens”. The visiting counselor agreed with a nod and an mm-hm and then added, “Abortion, too”. She said, “And abortion.” These are the people who are supposed to be advising me?! In the United States of America? Screw that! It’s not even me who would bring these things up; I rarely spoke at school before high school, and approaching someone I don’t already know to expend the huge amount of energy it takes for me to talk; these people are just unbelievable. They broke into my locker and saw books about UFOs which is why they knew that interest, and I usually had physics books with me.

    It’s not okay when you saw a rape victim had it coming because she was attractive, or was in a certain area. Likewise, it’s not okay when you blame bullying on the victim because their behavior was odd. BTW, it doesn’t surprise me at all that the victim in question has a learning disability.

    Also, witheld — I do agree that he needs to get some help, even if he was totally innocent. When I was being bullied ferociously in 7th grade, I told those guys in a serious, yet shaky voice that I wanted to (curse word removed) kill them, and that I could do it, too. Not a wise thing, of course, and if I were an adult and knew that someone had said that I would contact the authorities too. But because someone says that, while it’s wrong and warrants attention, doesn’t mean they are the bully whose “fault” this is. I in no way antagonized those kids throughout my life, yet I was driven to that point. Not saying he’s necessarily innocent, just that the saying of such a thing doesn’t tell us anything about his prior status as instigator.

  32. I realize I’m late in the game, here, but I just saw this story on “Dateline,” and had to respond. If I knew the address, I’d write a letter to Billy Wolfe and his family that says this:

    Once, I was just like you. I lived in a close-minded, tight-fisted town, and, in high school, I was tormented, branded a slut, and the administration didn’t help.

    Now, with the aid of some really good therapy, I’m completing my second Master’s degree in Creative Writing, and publishing my poems (also working on a book).

    I’m married to a wonderful man who understands and supports me, and we’re raising an intelligent and beautiful little girl.

    The hell that can sometimes be high school is not representative of who you are, but of other people’s inadequacies and insecurities. Those people cannot, and do not thrive in the real world.

    Take heart! Be proud of yourself for refusing to back down or quit in the face of pressure. Give your parents huge hugs on a daily basis for taking your side and standing up for you. Above all, sleep sound with the knowledge that success is the best revenge, and you will achieve it on the high road.

    Best of luck and many blessings to you and your family!!

  33. The intellect of some of the mindsets in defence of the bullies is exasperating to me! The “boys will be boys” mentality does not EXCUSE attacks on another human being. If an adult was attacked, the police would be called and charges pressed in most cases. Even if it was true, which I seriously have my doubts, that Billy instigated altercations with glares and passing comments…It is still WRONG to physically attack him. I am disgusted with the cowardly behavior of the Fayetteville school system. Is it not up to the adults, to show to our youth, that attacking another human being is flat out wrong. Is it not up to the adults who teach our children, to teach restraint when and if we are antagonized? Is it not up to the adults to teach boys how to be MEN, and not simply accept the “boys will be boys” mentality. This mindset is one held by an uneducated lot. It is no wonder the so called “adults” in the Fayetteville school system still are very immature themselves, from growing up and no one teaching them any different. Well…I’m here to tell you along with much of the nation I’m sure, that you need to wake up and re-educate yourselves! If it is wrong for people to be attacked. Then, of course, it is wrong for our children to get attacked. Period. The arrogance of these “bullies” should make thier mothers question what kind of “Man” am I allowing my son to become? Will I be proud to simply raise a Man-Child? As adults we should never look the other way when a hate-group is being formed. To act blindly with teens, only makes them feel empowered. This behavior of bullying should be considered intolerable in the school system. When these bullies become a part of adult society and get an unfriendly look or dissaproving comment, they have learned not to walk away. They have learned that violence is rewarding to them and acceptable. How stunned they will be when standing before the judge and the judge informs them that they were not justified in thier actions, and sentences them with jail. As parents, we send our children to school believing they will be safe. That surely, the ones in charge would never tolerate physical and verbal abuse. That they will teach respect and compassion. Let’s say, just for the heck of it, that Billy did come to school with a chip on his shoulder now and again. Let’s say he did feel so on guard, that he did mutter comments he shouldnt have, or give unfriendly looks to those who degraded him in the past. Let’s say he did have a lack in social skills. Does that make it okay to publicly slander him nationally via the net? Does it make it okay to make him fear for his safety on a daily basis? Does it make it okay to attack him physically on school grounds…or the school bus? Any decent law-abiding citizen with half a brain would say emphatically NO!
    Have we not learned the horrific effects on the human psyche what the gang mentality can do to those on the outside? Day in and day out abuse on someone can and has made some snap. Have we not learned from the suicides and school shootings what bullying does to kids? Have we not learned that bullying is intolerable and that it can become a learned behavior in the victim? It is not simply “kids being kids”. It is torture.
    Is it the bullies fault or Billy’s fault? Who is really to blame here?
    I say…it is the school system for turning a blind eye. I say it is the Mother’s who listen to the accounts of thier sons unabashedly boasting about beatings…and excusing it. I say it anyone who praise the violence as a justifiable means to resolving an “annoyance”. You should be ashamed. I pray none of your children, or future children, will ever have to deal with the pain you have inflicted…either knowlingly or blindly.
    To Billy.
    I don’t care if you have muttered a derogatory comment, or shown your hatred in some glances at others. It was wrong, but I understand when tortured it must be very hard to keep your resentment inside. I just ask you this. Don’t become what you hate. You will only wind up hating yourself. I feel for you and your Mother. You are better than those redneck low-life’s that try to act like they are better than you. Your life is worthy, and even more worthy if you don’t ever allow thier small-minded ways to become a part of you. I have been to Fayetteville. It is but a tiny speck in this nation. Many are on your side. We don’t have to go to school with you to know how wrong you were treated. You don’t attack another person because they looked at you the wrong way. You don’t attack another person because they called you a name. Those that say different are simple-minded fools. What is going on now in your life will become a distant past. Know that. This and the support you have and will receive, can make you stronger, and a humble compassionate man. I hope you can make your pain into something that helps others in the future. You can do great things and overcome this. Many quietly laugh and pity the lack of intellect these poor bullies have. They have much to learn. Thier hard road lies ahead. Yours…is in your past.
    I am a mother of five. Three are grown. One in Jr. High. One is graduating this year. I have been a voice for those who feel they don’t have one in our own school system. I commend your Mother for not standing helplessly by. Make her and all the others that are going through what you have wrongly endured…proud.

  34. Hello all. I think I have somewhat of a solution for Billy and his family. We have all had bad experiences in our lifetime, but the best thing to do is to use them to our advantage. My idea is for Billy to create his own website which explains his story. He can sell T-shirts and other gear which have silkscreened statements on them such as “Billy Wolfe fan,” or “I’m for Billy Wolfe.” Then as his fans purchase them, he can encourage them to e-mail pictures of themselves wearing the t-shirts, which Billy can then post on his website. This would be a great way to show those evil kids that he really is liked; and, additionally, Billy could have quite the productive business. What does everybody think about this?

  35. To Concerned Student.

    You said “he talks trash” that seems to be what you’re doing!! Where do you get off making accusations about someone with out any proof? Yes the national news is in your community and for good reason a child is being beaten while at school and no one is doing a thing about it. No where did you indicate Billy in any way did a thing to you? I am very curious how you would feel if you were being brutally beaten up while trying to get to school or jumped in the washroom by a gang of thugs. This is very sick and no one has any remorse for their actions. Here you are backing up the bullies. Billy has also had to contend with slander on the internet, I wonder if concerned student would appreciate this happening to him. No kid is perfect and I am sure he’s spoken up when kids are giving him a hard time. He’s no coward he fights back even when the odds are stacked against him. I am so sad for you that you find this worrisome, the whole world finds this worrisome. Stop spreading rumors that doesn’t fly here.

  36. Hello, I also have a late comment but, hey I think it’s pertinent. I had a class with Billy my sophomore year (I’m a senior now) I noticed through encounters and from stories from close friends that Billy had some emotional issues. When I heard about the story of his “Bullies” brutalizing him I had to do a little research. I called a good friend. He is a German foreign exchange student who had a very unfortunate thing happen to him. His mother died. I asked about this and, with a choked voice, told me the story of his mother’s death and his interaction with Billy. He told me that he entered the Fayetteville school system after he moved to America because of his tragic loss. He continued to tell me the story about the “Woodshop Incident” in which he took violent action against Billy. He said he is ashamed for acting like that but, quoting him, “He called my mother a Nazi whore, I couldn’t let that stand”. I noted this and continued in my research I heard the name of a friend who has cerebral palsy. I digress but he is the nicest most honest person I know and I have spent every year with him in the FHS band program (we’re both percussionists) he cannot play because of his disability but loves the music nonetheless. Well I spoke to this boy and asked him about his experiences with Billy. He became angry and told me the stories of his unacceptable behavior. I asked him how he has seen so much of this and he replied “because I live near the SOAB”. I thanked him and turned to my classmates. I asked the students that shared classes with him and I what they thought of him. Most of the students replied with answers such as “he’s okay but I’ve heard stories about his fights” or “I hear he starts fights”. I found this extremely insightful. I then asked the teacher of this class if she had noticed any violent behavior from said student. She told me that Billy had “issues that needed to be sorted out”. I asked her if she thinks that he instigated the fight that has caught so much media attention, she replied saying “I do, he’s a kid who would, ya know?”. The image of Billy on television is extremely false and “sugar coated”. Billy is not a nice boy who plays sweet melodies on acoustic guitars and loves his mother (I’ve heard him refer to her as a “b*tch” on several occasions). He has since dropped out of high school and is living with a girl who dropped out as well. From what I’ve heard from friends of his, he’s somewhat drunk with power and believes he is a competent adult now though lacking a job and education. The story of Billy Wolfe must be put from both perspectives. Please learn the facts before casting judgment on the Fayetteville School District. We have an incredible program that has gotten me two 5s and a 4 on AP exams (AP European History, AP Literature and Composition, and AP Physics B) I am going to Berklee with a near full ride as of next fall because Fayetteville provided me with an environment that I could feel safe and learn in.

  37. Pingback: the bullying of billy « STOP Bullying! Canada!

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