Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Bullying with proof hold less sway than alleged molestation with no proof?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (20282 points ) October 10th, 2012

As reporter Katie Kyros was prepared to interview a student at Brunswick High School in Frederick Md., who was being bullied about bullying he was attacked right in front of her and the camera crew. Though the actually attack was not captured on camera the immediate aftermath was. All the school official would say is that they had to do a ”FULL INVESTIGATION” before they could comment; to see what was actually going on or happened. Would they have been so unperturbed had some student mentioned without any witnesses that a teacher touched them the wrong way, fondled them or performed a sexual act on them? Something tells me the school would have been more brisk; the teacher would have been hauled to the office, striped of duties, sent home without pay and the cops would have been visiting them within 48hrs. Even with witnesses to the pummeling is alleged molestation still more important to act on quicker than a of bullying with proof?

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15 Answers

mangeons's avatar

I feel like people are less quick to act on the matter of bullying because they don’t see it as an immediate danger to anyone, while sexual harassment is seen as a “more serious” issue. I’m not saying that this is necessarily true or untrue (it often differs between circumstances), I just know that it is often perceived that way.

On a side note, I live super close to there and I heard nothing about it until I read this question!

Earthgirl's avatar

If only the “aftermath” was caught on camera it isn’t proof. It may be highly incriminating but it’s not proof. I agree with the schools decision to do an investigation. But hopefully they will move swiftly to address the situation.

chyna's avatar

I do have to wonder why a camera crew for a news station didn’t immediately start filming when they saw news in the making.

Earthgirl's avatar

@chyna My thought exactly. Suspicious.

Kayak8's avatar

Because any decision made about bullying could be undone by a careful review of the tape, the choice to delay a decision until the tape is reviewed makes logical sense. It would be too easy to make a mistake and having documentation that could prove helpful, it seems worth taking the time to review available “proof” before making a decision.

With any allegations (bullying, sexual assault, etc.) for which there are no witnesses, one must collect as much information as possible and, hopefully, give the victim’s story full consideration before taking action as well.

chyna's avatar

@Kayak8 The poster says the actual bullying was not caught on tape.

Patton's avatar

@chyna @Earthgirl Cameras take time to get started. If the camera crew’s story and the taped aftermath support each other, what’s suspicious about it? I also wonder what you think proof requires. No human being has ever seen a proton or caught one on tape, but we have enough “highly incriminating” evidence that we are happy to call it proved.

Kayak8's avatar

@chyna I understood that. It doesn’t mean, however, that allegations or additional illuminating information was not caught on tape and I would still wait to make a decision until I looked at such a video for the reasons I mentioned above.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

No proof = no sway.

Due process trumps all.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

No proof = no sway.
Due process trumps all.
I’m so close to agreeing with that, but I have seen or heard tell of differing things that prevent me from saying that that is actually spot on. Otherwise I’d agree.
For a start off, in the UK, if you have a bullying problem, and there’s no proof, the most you’d probably get out of it is a low level investigation into the matter. If it was at a school, then maybe a member of staff would look into it, but the chances of something coming from that investigation with no proof being present would be minimal.
The law on the other hand, and by that I do mean a complaint that would involve the Police…if the Police receive a complaint about anything of a sexual nature they are most likely to look into the matter without batting an eyelid. Proof or not. They are ten times more likely to be extremely concerned about molestation without proof than they are about bullying with proof – because bullying would be considered perhaps something that should be dealt with “in-house”. That is to say, if it was bullying in a school or college, then the school or college should deal with it, if it’s in the workplace, then management in that workplace should deal with it. It’s not an entirely cut and dry thing because the two are different. Bullying could be nothing short of verbal abuse on a near daily basis, but molestation is so very different in comparison.
In relation to the story the OP posted, I did happen upon that story in the (not exactly reliable) Yahoo news, having a tendency to prefer to read US news which is comparatively better than the crap they tend to lather on in the UK version of the website, which may be a stupid thing to do, but I should point out that I don’t completely ignore the news in my own country – I just choose not to read about it on Yahoo.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think it’s about one having more sway than the other. Instead, in your examples, I think it has more to do with the people involved. A teacher has a different role than a student does, so they have to be handled differently. Removing an innocent teacher before the investigation, while troubling for the teacher, does not hurt the students learning time because they can get a substitute. However, removing an innocent student before the investigation could cause them to miss valuable learning time that they may not be able to make up after the fact.

In the bullying issue, it involves students, one of whom was recently suspended for fighting last week related to another bullying incident (it didn’t say if this was the same bully again or if this was someone else). So, the school needs to investigate the situation fully to see what happened, why it happened, and determine appropriate punishment. The school needs to figure out who needs to be removed and for how long. Considering this isn’t the first time this student has had an issue, it sounds like they need to really look into what’s going on. Is it the same student from last week that he had an issue with again this week or someone different? If it’s someone different, why does this one student seem to be bullied by so many others? Is there more going on? If it is the same one, why is it repeatedly happening? All of those things need to be figured out. Also, punishments usually get more severe with each occurrence, so they probably need to figure out what the next step is in regards to punishment for the people involved.

In regards to an accusation of molestation of a student by a teacher, I think it’s different because it is a teacher that is the threat to the students, not other students. Teachers have different rights and responsibilities than the students do in regards to the school system. I’ve seen teachers removed for hitting students as well, then pending a full investigation, they could come back if they were cleared. So it doesn’t just happen with accusations of molestation.

hearkat's avatar

@seaofclouds made the same point as I was going to make. The bullying scenario is between students, as opposed to a staff member being accused of harming a child. There have been news stories recently about teachers bullying students, so when it is adult staff member vs. minor student the responsibilities and actions of the school are more clearly defined. When there is conflict between students, it isn’t just a school issue, and the lines are much more blurred.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Kayak8 Because any decision made about bullying could be undone by a careful review of the tape, the choice to delay a decision until the tape is reviewed makes logical sense. What, what, wha…? Why would you need to “roll tape” when you have eye witnesses? If a perp pulls a heist at a mini mart, points a pistol in the clerk’s face have them open the cash drawer, snatches the money then pops three in the clerk before running out, why would you need to check the security tape as to what happened if there were 5 other customers who witnessed it and they can say what happened. The only thing the tape can add is what the perp looked like, what type of pistol he had, maybe the direction he fled to when he left or if there was a getaway car. There is nothing to investigate as to if there was a robbery, there were enough witnesses to say. The reporter and the camera crew was there, they just did not know who the attacker was not IF there was an attack or not.

@lightsourcetrickster No proof = no sway. Not with sex cases in the US…..

@Seaofclouds However, removing an innocent student before the investigation could cause them to miss valuable learning time that they may not be able to make up after the fact. Maybe yesteryear, we are in the digital age now; they can get their lessons via the Internet. They do not have to miss a beat. If they are not innocent, other students might be the next to go home with missing teeth, needing stitches, or a mouse under their eye.

In the bullying issue, it involves students, one of whom was recently suspended for fighting last week related to another bullying incident (it didn’t say if this was the same bully again or if this was someone else). Because rather then get pounded like a tent stake he took his safety into his own hands, because apparently the school was rather feckless in protecting him.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central which is why I stated “in the UK”

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Maybe yesteryear, we are in the digital age now; they can get their lessons via the Internet. They do not have to miss a beat. If they are not innocent, other students might be the next to go home with missing teeth, needing stitches, or a mouse under their eye. That depends on the school and how they handle things. My son’s assignments are not online. It’s not just about getting the assignments, it’s about being there for the lecture and the in class discussion.

Because rather then get pounded like a tent stake he took his safety into his own hands, because apparently the school was rather feckless in protecting him. I wasn’t addressing why he was suspended, merely the fact that it is obviously an ongoing issue for this particular student and the school needs to figure out why this one student is having multiple problems, especially if it’s a different bully each time. Therefore the school definitely needs to do a full investigation.

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