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.