So today a rather odd thing happened to me. I had some teens come to me seeking advice and asking me to do something about a situation they find themselves or one of their friends in. I sat and listened to everything they had to say. Yet, I find I am just as helpless as they are. I am unsure how to guide them. I know that I am powerless according to law to step in and even speak with anyone on this matter as I am unrelated to the parties involved.
What I have decided to do is write this post in hopes that the correct parties will see it, read it and act to resolve the situation. I have decided also to leave out proper names and instead use pronouns to describe people. The last thing I want to do is add to an already desperate situation.
I also want to state right off the bat that I truly love this wonderful community that I currently live in. I am sad to say that I will be moving within a few short weeks, so other than this article, I feel my hands are tied. Our community outreach programs are wonderful. Our schools strive for excellence and our community does truly seem to get involved and care what happens. There are still things that need improvement though. No system or community is perfect. It is with great reluctance I have to share this story with you which paints a different viewpoint.
It is with the above in mind that I state my purpose in this article is not to call out anyone involved. Not to bash the school system that I have for the most part loved being involved with. Not to call out this boy or his parents. But it IS to rather ask the community to be more actively involved in coming up with a more proactive way to combat bullying no matter who the bully is. To demand that bullies be held accountable for their actions.
So in a time when the nation is focusing on violence in schools, school shootings, and gun control. There are still situations of bullying that go far beyond what should be allowed. Situations such as what I am going to explain here today that are being ignored but could lead to something more serious if it is not stopped. Something that is happening right here in our own backyard at Saline Area School district. I then wonder how many even know this is being allowed in our high school.
For the sake of this post, the instigator/antagonizer will be called he1. Now, he1 has a special circumstance to take into consideration here, he is Autistic. So yes, some degree of outbursts are to be tolerated or even expected. The question comes in when the condition is used as an excuse to bypass getting into disciplinary action over behaviors that would NEVER be tolerated out of others. I am not talking about minor behaviors either.
If we intermingle these children into the regular school classrooms using the basis that they deserve the same level of education as everyone else (AND YES I BELIEVE THEY DO), and then stating we don’t want them treated any differently out of respect for them. Then shouldn’t we also treat them the same as far as disciplinary measures are concerned? Or are we asking that they have all the benefits and rights but none of the discipline? I am truly confused here. Also, do they all have adult aids that go with them throughout the entire school day or is that just some of them? Please pardon my ignorance here. I ask these questions out of respect in an effort to learn and grow. NOT as a derogatory or demeaning thing.
Now onto the issue:
He1 has been found to have stalking behaviors towards the girls at school. Not just following them around, but touching them, taking pictures of them without their permission, getting mad at them when they ask him to leave him alone then throwing items at them, dumping trash cans over onto them, staring at them while masturbating in the middle of the classroom while class is going on and the list goes on and on. He1 moves from girl to girl making them uncomfortable and even fearful that he will harm them should he get mad enough.
The teens that came to me today say that he has now focused on one of their friends and has taken it further than school grounds. He is now attempting to make contact with this girl and her friends on social media and following them around at the local library. I am told that these girls have gone to the principal in question and were told it was a matter of perception. Come on, really? A matter of perception when a kid stalks you, harasses you and is caught masturbating in class while staring at you? I expect more out of a principal than to give such a response.
I am also told that this current girl of he1’s fascination was forced to have a meeting with he1 present along with some adults in the school. That the girl was not allowed to have anyone present for support for fear that he1 would feel ganged up on and that the meeting was not about what he1 was doing wrong but in support of he1 and what the girl could do differently to be more understanding of he1’s condition.
The bottom line is that there have been 3 different girls in this district so far that he1 has harassed. He1 is new to this district this year coming from who knows how many other districts. It has been said that he1 has been expelled from other districts for this type of behavior.
Okay so let’s just stop here to address some individual issues because a lot has been mentioned. First, I acknowledge that I am taking the word’s of these teens and all of this is hearsay on my part. However, it is important to note that these teens are good teens who have never been in trouble and can be trusted to tell the truth. Couple that with my past experience dealing with this school system’s bullying policy, I tend to give these teens the benefit of the doubt.
The next issue is why this boy is allowed to continue to attend school here and harass the girls given the nature of some of the things he has done? Is it just because of his Autism? Any other student would have been expelled instantly had they been found in a classroom masturbating in front of other students.
Then we have the violent nature of this boy. Thank goodness he has not truly injured one of these girls yet. But if he has had a history of this behavior not only in this school but others and it continues to escalate, it is only a matter of time before he truly does physical harm to one of them.
Let me tell you if these teens feel threatened enough to come to a trusted adult not related to the issue or the school it means they do feel threatened and scared. They feel like nothing is being done to help them or resolve the situation. They feel like the adults involved are failing them. This is a HUGE problem!
So why did they come to me? What can I do about it especially since I am moving in a few short weeks? I have no power in this situation other than to write this article. Yet, I am left with doubts as to this article working to help find a solution to the problem or if it will just add fuel to the fire? Which I do not want to do. If I sit back and do nothing, am I guilty of failing these teens when they sought me out for help? In which case I am no better than any of the other adults that have been involved up to this point.
I can only hope and pray on this situation from this point forward.