The many incidents seem to blur together into one protracted assault. When Billy attaches a bully’s name to one beating, his mother corrects him. “That was Benny, sweetie,” she says. “That was in the eighth grade.”
It began years ago when a boy called the house and asked Billy if he wanted to buy a certain sex toy, heh-heh. Billy told his mother, who informed the boy’s mother. The next day the boy showed Billy a list with the names of 20 boys who wanted to beat Billy up.
Ms. Wolfe says she and her husband knew it was coming. She says they tried to warn school officials — and then bam: the prank caller beat up Billy in the bathroom of McNair Middle School. via NY Times
The beatings have continued over the years, resulting at times in the need for medical care. Moreover, students have "ganged up" by putting up a demeaning Facebook page and scrawling notes that are "anti-Billy" in school textbooks. Despite the fact that the article notes the school district has a policy that does not tolerate bullying, the incidents have continued over the years. One school official said that Billy's behavior is part of the problem and the school defends its actions in the case.
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.
Mr. Wilbourn said federal law protected the privacy of students, so parents of a bullied child should not assume that disciplinary action had not been taken. He also said it was left to the discretion of staff members to determine if an incident required police notification.
I was particularly struck by the severity of the beatings when I read about this case, which required medical treatment on numerous occasions. One beating took place when a teen in a car pulled over and began beating Billy on a street corner, stopping only when his younger sister began to scream. What would be treated as assault in any other context is often called bullying when it happens in our schools or between students, which in this case appears to have escalated not only the incidents of abuse but the numbers of those who feel free to join in.