Thursday, June 4, 2009

Boys will be boys will be charged as adults

Four Florida youth are staring down the barrel of a dose of reality. I hope.
 A CNN report by John Couwels on June 3 shared the sordid details of how four Tampa teens are accused of sodomizing a fellow male classmate with a broomstick and a hockey stick.
Prosecutors allege multiple attacks took place over a two-month period. The victim didn’t report it. The witnesses didn’t report it. Yes, people heard the attacks and no one reported it. None of the four accused reported their alleged acts. School officials began an investigation after a fight brought the issue to light.
I was shocked back in the early 1990s when a similar incident occurred at a small, Georgia middle school. Back then, the case was prosecuted; but many in town seemed to explain away the behavior with a wink and the old saying, "boys will be boys." 
The news of this modern-day court case, reminded me of that story I reported on so many years ago. It made me sick to my stomach back then. This Florida story makes me sick to my stomach now, especially as locker room crimes continue to be labeled as horseplay.
The four boys aged 14 to 15 are accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy. They each face four counts of sexual battery. Each is charged as an adult. Each count has a maximum sentence of 30 years. Surely, the middle school students can do the math — up to 120 years. They are facing a lifetime in jail plus a couple of decades for good measure. 
I know schools and parents talk about bullying, but it seems like something should be said about locker room behavior. Unfortunately, teachers cannot physically be in every square inch of a school building.
Have we really arrived at the sad day when parents or school officials have to spell it out and say, “It’s wrong to hold down a classmate and sodomize him with sticks.”
While that conversation is uncomfortable and unlikely, I have an alternative one. It's simple and goes like this, “Tell a teacher if you hear screams from the locker room.” The fact no one said a word about this confuses and saddens me.
If this is how boys are supposed to act, they need to be retrained.

1 comment:

  1. As disturbing as this was, it's almost as disturbing that people stood by and didn't stop it, didn't even report it. Parents need to sit their kids down and tell them, if you hear or see something that scares you, talk to me. I'm an adult and am not scared to step in and protect you and help you report what you heard.

    Straight From Hel


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