Yesterday a 16-year old high school student from Pennsylvania wounded 22 in a stabbing at Franklin Regional High School. While motive at this point is speculative, on this same day there was another story that is attention worthy. This centers on the actions of South Fayette High School Principal Scott Milburn and Assistant Principal Aaron Skrbin protecting bullies rather than the victim.
The two school officials made it crystal clear that bullying at the school is an accepted practice. The Committee for Children a non-profit organization cites the no.1 reason for children not to report bullies and that is due to adults hardly getting the opportunity to intervene. In this case that is what exactly happened as a sophomore captured audio of fellow classmates bullying him with a teacher doing nothing to stop it.
So did Milburn and Skrbin thank the student for bringing what was going on to their attention? Nope. Instead had the recording destroyed and called in the cops to charge the victim with felony wiretapping charges. A judge found the student guilty of disorderly conduct, which is now getting appealed and rightfully so.
In this scenario District Judge Nancy Maureen Mcgraw-Desmet stated “Normally, if there is — I certainly have a big problem with any kind of bullying at school. But normally, you know, I would expect a parent would let the school know about it, because it’s not tolerated. I know that, and that you guys [school administrators] would handle that, you know. To go to this extreme, you know, it was the only alternative or something like that, but you weren’t made aware of that and that was kind of what I was curious about. Because it’s not tolerated, but you need to go through — let the school handle it. And I know from experience with South Fayette School that, you know, it always is. And if there is a problem and it continues, then it is usually brought in front of me.”
Why then make the recording? In court the mother and child testified that he “had been shoved, mocked, and almost burned with a cigarette lighter on numerous occasions.” The student went on to say “I wanted her [his mother] to understand what I went through. Like, it wasn’t like I was over exaggerating it. I wasn’t lying. It was really happening. I was really having things like books slammed upside my head. I wanted it to stop. I just felt like nothing was being done.”
Those who took part in the bullying according to reports haven’t been disciplined even though there was clear evidence of harassment and neither has the teacher.
For Mcgraw-Desmet does that really seem like it’s not tolerated at the school? It’s apparent that Milburn and Skrbin are protecting those involved in the persistent harassment of a classmate and teacher. This illustrates why many victims choose to keep quiet instead of reporting being bullied.
It’s truly hard not to fathom the rage that gets built up when a child is constantly tormented, which makes what happened yesterday at Franklin Regional not surprising or another high school where a student gets arrested for wiretapping.
Until schools are 100 percent behind the zero-tolerance for bullying these kind of events are going to continue to take place and educators like Milburn and Skrbin need to get removed from their position of authority at South Fayette.