Assault Not Bullying If Only Once? 6

Pretend FightingThose of us with boys know they love to play violent video games, but when did beating a child up for real become a spectator sport?  I hope the answer is never, but apparently to some children in California it was just that recently.

Three days ago I came across a story about a young man in California who was lured to a site where others were waiting to harm him.  This is bad enough, but the story gets worse.  You can read more about it at sacramento.cbslocal.com.  I cannot understand why this mom is not getting more help from the sheriff’s department.  I decided to investigate what California laws might apply to this incident.  First, I want you to click on criminal.findlaw.com to read a definition of assault.  Next I want you to read an explanation of California’s law at stopbully.gov.

You also need to know a new law went into effect in California in January regarding cyberbullying.  You can read about it at bullypolice.blogspot.com.  Now I am not sure if the incident happened before January or not.  However, another important fact is that everyone who opens a Facebook account agrees to their terms of agreement.  See numbers one, five, and fourteen at facebook.com/legal/terms.  Lastly, the victim has the option of suing those who posted this on Facebook.  You can read about this at blogs.findlaw.com.

I would love to know what you think.  Is the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department dropping the ball here?  What would you do if this happened to your child?

6 comments

  1. I can not pretend that I understand the legal terms – assault, battery, misdemeanor. Luring someone to be attacked by a mob by 30 teens is bad. Posting it for everybody to see is bad, stupid and heartless! The authorities, be it the sheriff, DA or the school, encourages the bad behavior by not doing anything about it – is twice as bad.
    Bullying is a heartbreaking situation I wish no one ever has to experience.

    • Charlotte,
      “The authorities, be it the sheriff, DA or the school, encourages the bad behavior by not doing anything about it – is twice as bad.”
      That’s my thoughts exactly!

  2. I think it is awful. Bullying on any level just needs to be dealt with and ended so it doesn’t happen again. I can remember a girl calling my daughter on the phone and asking for her when I answered. When my daughter answered the phone she just hung up suddenly because the girl was threatening her . I was stunned that the girl had the guts to do that. The girls mother was the same way I found out from asking around about the girl and I feel that a lot of this is passed on by the parents or their lack of parenting. Society just needs to wake up and make bullying punishable with consequences that would discourage it from happening.

    • Grace,
      I agree. Unfortunately, too many people still seem apathetic about the issue or at the very least afraid to speak up. For example, I received my Kirkus review for my book yesterday. Overall I loved the review, but the comment about the bullying really bothered me.

      They said, “The book’s advocacy impulses occasionally overheat, as when Francesca goes ballistic over an incident in which mean girls tease Mia at school. Still, through Mia’s story, Walker dispels much of the mystery of Asperger’s kids while revealing the richness and promise of their lives.”

      While Francesca does get overheated because what mother in her right mind wouldn’t when her child is mistreated, I’m not sure I would go so far as to use the word ballistic. She doesn’t even “storm a bus.” The word teasing implies it was just a joke and no harm was intended. That was not the case.

      If the average reader or in this case the reviewer sees things that way after the airing of “Bullied to Death,” how do I get through to people? It sometimes seems like the world is insane. Yet, I know there are still good people out there. Why aren’t more people speaking up? That is what I really want to see happen!

  3. I confess to not reading all of the legal links you posted, but I’m confused as to why the teens are being charged with assault and battery. If I’m walking down the street and someone decides to kick my ass, I can press charges. It doesn’t have to happen repeatedly.

    As for whether or not it’s bullying, to me. No. I do think that the word bullying has a connotation of repeated action over a period of time. But I also don’t think it should matter if this is bullying or not. If the kid was assaulted, it’s assault. (I didn’t watch the video.. I didn’t want to risk too much jumble) Further, if the mom quoted the sheriff accurately, it shouldn’t matter if the DA wants to “see” these cases or not. He’s got a job to do, and this is it. This whole thing confuses me.

    • Laura,
      I did a double take when I heard the sheriff department’s response. I’m with you, assault is assault and who cares if it is bullying. However, if the post on Facebook happened after January 1, 2011, there may be a case for cyberbullying under California’s new law. In any case, it seemed to me that the sheriff’s department was dropping the ball. I was glad to hear that they are continuing to investigate according to the response given to the reporter anyway.

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