A Boy the Bullies Love to Beat Up

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
    A Boy the Bullies Love to Beat Up, Repeatedly

    By DAN BARRY

    All lank and bone, the boy stands at the corner with his younger sister, waiting for the yellow bus that takes them to their respective schools. He is Billy Wolfe, high school sophomore, struggling.

    Moments earlier he left the sanctuary that is his home, passing those framed photographs of himself as a carefree child, back when he was 5. And now he is at the bus stop, wearing a baseball cap, vulnerable at 15.

    A car the color of a school bus pulls up with a boy who tells his brother beside him that he’s going to beat up Billy Wolfe. While one records the assault with a cellphone camera, the other walks up to the oblivious Billy and punches him hard enough to leave a fist-size welt on his forehead.

    The video shows Billy staggering, then dropping his book bag to fight back, lanky arms flailing. But the screams of his sister stop things cold.

    The aggressor heads to school, to show friends the video of his Billy moment, while Billy heads home, again. It’s not yet 8 in the morning.

    Bullying is everywhere, including here in Fayetteville, a city of 60,000 with one of the country’s better school systems. A decade ago a Fayetteville student was mercilessly harassed and beaten for being gay. After a complaint was filed with the Office of Civil Rights, the district adopted procedures to promote tolerance and respect — none of which seems to have been of much comfort to Billy Wolfe.

    It remains unclear why Billy became a target at age 12; schoolyard anthropology can be so nuanced. Maybe because he was so tall, or wore glasses then, or has a learning disability that affects his reading comprehension. Or maybe some kids were just bored. Or angry.

    Whatever the reason, addressing the bullying of Billy has become a second job for his parents: Curt, a senior data analyst, and Penney, the owner of an office-supply company. They have binders of school records and police reports, along with photos documenting the bruises and black eyes. They are well known to school officials, perhaps even too well known, but they make no apologies for being vigilant. They also reject any suggestion that they should move out of the district because of this.

    The many incidents seem to blur together into one protracted assault. When Billy attaches a bully’s name to one beating, his mother corrects him. “That was Benny, sweetie,” she says. “That was in the eighth grade.”

    It began years ago when a boy called the house and asked Billy if he wanted to buy a certain sex toy, heh-heh. Billy told his mother, who informed the boy’s mother. The next day the boy showed Billy a list with the names of 20 boys who wanted to beat Billy up.

    Ms. Wolfe says she and her husband knew it was coming. She says they tried to warn school officials — and then bam: the prank caller beat up Billy in the bathroom of McNair Middle School.

    Not long after, a boy on the school bus pummeled Billy, but somehow Billy was the one suspended, despite his pleas that the bus’s security camera would prove his innocence. Days later, Ms. Wolfe recalls, the principal summoned her, presented a box of tissues, and played the bus video that clearly showed Billy was telling the truth.

    Things got worse. At Woodland Junior High School, some boys in a wood shop class goaded a bigger boy into believing that Billy had been talking trash about his mother. Billy, busy building a miniature house, didn’t see it coming: the boy hit him so hard in the left cheek that he briefly lost consciousness.

    Ms. Wolfe remembers the family dentist sewing up the inside of Billy’s cheek, and a school official refusing to call the police, saying it looked like Billy got what he deserved. Most of all, she remembers the sight of her son.

    “He kept spitting blood out,” she says, the memory strong enough still to break her voice.

    By now Billy feared school. Sometimes he was doubled over with stress, asking his parents why. But it kept on coming.

    In ninth grade, a couple of the same boys started a Facebook page called “Every One That Hates Billy Wolfe.” It featured a photograph of Billy’s face superimposed over a likeness of Peter Pan, and provided this description of its purpose: “There is no reason anyone should like billy he’s a little bitch. And a homosexual that NO ONE LIKES.”

    Heh-heh.

    According to Alan Wilbourn, a spokesman for the school district, the principal notified the parents of the students involved after Ms. Wolfe complained, and the parents — whom he described as “horrified” — took steps to have the page taken down.

    Not long afterward, a student in Spanish class punched Billy so hard that when he came to, his braces were caught on the inside of his cheek.

    So who is Billy Wolfe? Now 16, he likes the outdoors, racquetball and girls. For whatever reason — bullying, learning disabilities or lack of interest — his grades are poor. Some teachers think he’s a sweet kid; others think he is easily distracted, occasionally disruptive, even disrespectful. He has received a few suspensions for misbehavior, though none for bullying.

    Judging by school records, at least one official seems to think Billy contributes to the trouble that swirls around him. For example, Billy and the boy who punched him at the bus stop had exchanged words and shoves a few days earlier.

    But Ms. Wolfe scoffs at the notion that her son causes or deserves the beatings he receives. She wonders why Billy is the only one getting beaten up, and why school officials are so reluctant to punish bullies and report assaults to the police.

    Mr. Wilbourn said federal law protected the privacy of students, so parents of a bullied child should not assume that disciplinary action had not been taken. He also said it was left to the discretion of staff members to determine if an incident required police notification.

    The Wolfes are not satisfied. This month they sued one of the bullies “and other John Does,” and are considering another lawsuit against the Fayetteville School District. Their lawyer, D. Westbrook Doss Jr., said there was neither glee nor much monetary reward in suing teenagers, but a point had to be made: schoolchildren deserve to feel safe.

    Billy Wolfe, for example, deserves to open his American history textbook and not find anti-Billy sentiments scrawled across the pages. But there they were, words so hurtful and foul.

    The boy did what he could. “I’d put white-out on them,” he says. “And if the page didn’t have stuff to learn, I’d rip it out.”

    :aargh4: Where do I begin? This is insane. The school officials who have done nothing to help Billy Wolfe or his family need to be fired. The parents of the bullys as well as the bullys themselves should have charges bought against them and perhaps be required to take anger mangement and sensitivity training for a minimum of one year. I don't know if it will help but it's something.

    I can't help but be angry at Billy Wolfe's parents as well. :12: Why are they not protecting their child? :confused: How can they possibly justify remaining in that community?!

    If my child were beaten and harassed like that, I'd pitch a western the likes of which that town had never seen. I'd sue their butts so bad their grandchildren would hate me. :angryfire2: Even if I had to work three jobs to afford it I would a) get my son therapy, b) move far away, c) if possible, put him in a private school.
     
  2. B_dumbcow

    B_dumbcow New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    3,220
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    This world sucks sometimes...
     
  3. rexcasual

    rexcasual Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Southern Ontario
    It's really shameful that these boys somehow think what they are doing is advancing their status as males, when the true path to manhood is standing up for those weaker, and having the self-confidence to abide diversity.

    Their cowardice is truly sickening, and the other parents and authorities' inaction seems to be a perversion of responsibility.
     
  4. IntoxicatingToxin

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Messages:
    10,133
    Likes Received:
    152
    People wonder why I want to be a social worker.... how can anyone sit by and watch this happen? I want to be proactive. I want to help.
     
  5. whatireallywant

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,587
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Female
    Wow, and I thought I had it bad! I was bullied but not to where I lost consciousness or anything. Most of what I went through was verbal, which I actually think in some ways is worse than physical (although in extreme cases like this one I would say not).

    I'm not sure if these ideas would work, except maybe moving far away where the culture of the town is different. Therapists may side with the bullies (they did in my case when I was growing up), and private schools may actually be worse, depending on the type of school (I guess my experience with private schools - only from what I'd heard - are only with two in my hometown, the Catholic school which probably wasn't TOO bad, and the Baptist school where some of my cousins went to school, where they were VERY rigid and would side with bullying anyone who was "different" especially if they didn't adhere to rigid gender roles.)
     
  6. Principessa

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    19,494
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Female
    Clearly, you had bad help. I said private NOT parochial school for a reason. Parochial schools are notoriously narrow-minded and unsupportive of any student who doesn't fit into their idea of normal.

    I attended a private prep school which had no religious affiliation for many years. It was bliss. :smile: If I am in that area and have the financial resources I would not hesitate to send my children there.

    I agree, I have considered that line of work myself for the same reason.

     
  7. hypoc8

    hypoc8 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    718
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    SC
    I was picked on in school too, although not at this level. I guess I was an easy target since I wouldn't fight back unless I absolutely had to. This could be part of his problem.

    If it were my child I'd had this shit stopped long ago, or somebody would be getting the ass whipped right there in the school office, I'd worry about jail later, you don't mess with my kids.

    It wouldn't surprise me if this poor kid doesn't snap and go on a shooting spree one day.
     
  8. whatireallywant

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,587
    Likes Received:
    7
    Gender:
    Female
    True... They didn't have any private prep schools with no religious affiliation in my area. The only private schools were the Catholic school and the Baptist school. I went to public school which was probably the best out of the three.

    I later found out about a school in the city that would've been perfect for me, but it didn't exist when I was a kid, and it was in the city, 2 hours drive from where my parents lived and where I grew up. It would not have been appropriate for this boy though, as it was a school specifically for "gifted children". There are schools where this boy would be fine, though.

    I sometimes wonder if some of the current trend toward home schooling is a result of the bullying. Although many of the homeschoolers I've known have not been that way, they've been fundamentalists who would've probably sent their kids to the Baptist school but decided to home school instead. But not all are fundamentalists.

    And yes, I wouldn't be surprised if this boy did in fact wind up going on a shooting spree... sad...
     
  9. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    10,742
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Female
    I was bullied too... I never had help. His parents are stupid for not changing towns.. they put their own sons misery on the line with trying to make a point.
     
  10. Phil Ayesho

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Messages:
    5,591
    Likes Received:
    878
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    San Diego
    I was born in California... and never had much experience with bullies there... then got transfered to a Chicago suburb...

    I was the darkest skinned guy at the school and, in 1969, the only guy with long hair.

    Because they thought their school system superior to California's... they wanted to put me back a year... but because I was an A student in California, they decided to only place me in their remedial 7th grade class.

    With the mouth breathers....


    I got beaten up every single school day for weeks on end...

    My parents complained to the principal, who refused to do anything about it.

    My Dad offered to teach me to box... and advise me on how to identify the right guy to hit.... But I told him that I was unwilling to solve this by behaving like they did.

    My Mother told me that I could get them to stop, but it would be hard...
    I had to take it... just let them beat the hell out of me and NOT get angry, NOT cry, NOT respond in any way at all....

    "they are getting something out this" she told me, " and if you deny them that satisfaction, they will lose interest and leave you be".


    I tried it... for a week... I didn't try and hide or run... simply waited in the same place everyday and let them pound me.

    WHen they would slow to a stop I would just look up and ask, "you done?"



    After a week of this... they never bothered me again thru the rest of my schooling.



    Life can be brutal.

    I didn't want to go thru it...
    wouldn't want my kids to go thru it...
    wouldn't wish it on anyone...


    Still.... I learned something very valuable about myself and others.
    How aggression works... and what I was capable of enduring...


    I would not undo what happened if it meant losing that awareness.
     
  11. B_Morning_Glory

    B_Morning_Glory New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,925
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    lucasville, ohio
    yes i agree the school system let this young man down as well as his parents, BUT his parents are a little at fault as well by this i mean his father. my oldest son has had simmler things happen to him such as this boy did,i went to the school nothing was done, i told my husband how they reacted to me so he went to the school board nothing was done then either, my son got expeled from school for 3 days in another incedent and his nose was fractured this time, my husband just happend to be home that day when the princable called to say that my son was being in the office for fighting at school, unbeonce to me at that time my husband went to the school while i was at work, had a very stern chat with him, he practiuly jerked him over the desk as i here it and took our oldest son out of school that day, hubby an in to the princebale latter on and i guess he was not on school property and he handled it like a man know charges were filed and my youngest son was well looked after by the princable and his staff, hubby wont tell me what happend but i have heard bits and pieces threw the grape vine so to speak, my kids are now home schooled and they love it and are honer roll students they are tested quite often and are getting all passing grades, so this is a problem we as parents should handle peacable first violence dont solve violence but what else can we as parents do when our kids cant protected them selves and the law wont help eather, i might add here as well about a month ago my kids was in the store shoping and they ran into this same princable an he recongized them an went out of his way to be nice and was very apolagetic for the past incedent,why he did this i dont know but i feel if hubby wouldnt done what ever it was he did my older son would not be here to day with us,i did tell about all thing done to my sone at this school tried to make this as short as possible but it was simaler to the story above about billy, we as parents need to stick up for our kids when there in trouble and if they are failed we need to kick ass for there protection, as the story showed about billy no one did anything about it and money wont bring back our kids once they are gone, sorry so long but this is a big promble in our schools, and i am very active in trying to help kids who have been bullied for no reason other than just being them selves
     
  12. Gillette

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,309
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    14
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Home schooled by you?
     
  13. B_Morning_Glory

    B_Morning_Glory New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,925
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    lucasville, ohio

    no it is a charter school in our state and they have teachers who help teach them and make sure they are geting all the information they need and that they understand what they are learning at the same time, i am just something of a teachers aid to them.
     
  14. No_Strings

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    4,100
    Likes Received:
    6
    He sounds like a loser, I probably would've beat him up to.

    I kid, I kid. I would've thrown yogurts at him instead.
     
  15. Charles Finn

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,538
    Albums:
    3
    Likes Received:
    29
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toledo Ohio
    why is it so hard to love one another?
    love your sister lover your brother.
    we need more love and understanding
    not more hate and violence.
    please end the violence and hate
    we may bicker and argue but in the end we all belong to the human race.
     
  16. AlteredEgo

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,441
    Albums:
    3
    Likes Received:
    6,510
    Location:
    United States
    I was Billy Wolfe in my Jr. High. The problem is that when that many people are out to get you, the grown-ups start believing that you MUST be doing something to earn the scorn of scores of people. They catch you defending yourself, and interpret it as instigation. I got detention almost every day. My bullies got off. I missed out on school trips, and special assemblies, my bullies did not. If I slugged someone, it was a major problem. The fact that I usually just got slapped around, punched, molested, stolen from and mentally abused on a daily basis stopped being important to anyone but me after a year or so. I mostly turned the other cheek like I was taught in Sunday school. My mother attempted to teach me self-defense, but the very notion of the consequences of some of the techniques she taught me made me nauseous. I could have ruined lives with my mother's dirty fighting techniques. Other children would have been crippled, blinded, deafened, humiliated, etc. My mother meant business, and wanted me to be fearsome. I just tapped into my inner strength, and told myself that anything temporary was something I could overcome. I figured bullying was a phase some people went through, and that once I was an adult it would be over.

    So what happened? I went to high school and was immensely popular. I had very little trouble with bullies, because I was surrounded by an entourage of tough-guys and ball-busting girls. I forgot what it was like to be in constant fear, to feel lonely and rejected, to search for an acceptable identity. I was accepted exactly as I was, and assumed that bullying was behind me forever. Until one day when I was 17.

    I found myself being bullied by a grown woman in her late 20's or early 30's. She was the wife of my boss, and in retrospect, I think she was threatened by his attraction to me. I would have been nervous too, if I were that woman. Anyway, she put her hands on me without provocation, and I was unable to respond appropriately. I had survived bullying with my sanity in tact only because I believed that adults didn't experience such things. But here was a grown woman, a co-worker, the wife of my boss, and she was pulling my hair like a cross between a chihuahua, and an 8-year-old girl. I snapped, and made an attempt to kill her.

    You read that correctly. I immediately tried to kill her.

    In my mind, at the time, it was perfectly justifiable. She represented everyone who never got punished for hurting me. She had shattered a paradigm by which I had survived, and in that crazy moment I was in grave danger of never being sane again. Luckily for us both my mother showed up and stopped me.

    I am somewhat damaged from all that happed to me between the ages of 8 and 13 at the hands of my nearly 100 bullies. On the other hand, no one was bullied in high school on my watch, and I have learned to neither accept anyone's bullshit, nor suppress my emotions even for a moment. Therefore some good has come out of it.

    So to me, these "news" stories ain't new. I lived them. I bet there have always been children like this: A little too different, a little too sensitive, a little too willing to let things slide. I'm glad these things are making the news more often now. I'm just sorry it takes so much tragedy (school shootings, for example) to bring this discussion to the fore, and I also wish the media would stop trying to make it sound like a brand new problem. That notion is very painful to me. It makes me feel a little violated all over again (like when school officials stopped believing in my innocence).

    By the way, NJQT: Moving does not solve this type of problem. It follows you everywhere. When you're a Billy Wolfe, everyone everywhere knows it. You have "victimize me" written on your forehead. I had nearly 100 bullies in school, but they didn't know the kids with whom I went to summer camp. Yet, somehow the summer camp kids knew to bully me as well. Further, moving just teaches the child to flee problems. His parents are doing the right thing. Billy has to learn to whoop someone's ass. An old-fashioned beat-down is the ONLY solution, despite that most adults would advise him to the contrary. I know this from experience.
     
  17. D_one and done

    D_one and done New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,154
    Likes Received:
    1
    well from reading this article ive come to three conclusions.

    1. that boy's parents are wrong for being too lazy or proud to get that boy out of that situation. but if this situation is actually how i think it is, the problems would only follow them.

    2. the teachers who refused to act need to be axed. under no circumstances should they ever pick sides in a fight between students. that is very childish and shows that they are not fit to be in a position of authority among students.

    3. this is part of my first point. ASSUME WITH A 99.9% CERTAINTY THAT THE ENTIRE STORY HASNT BEEN TOLD. when i was in school, the people that were bullied usually werent bullied for no reason. usually they have smart mouths or like to make rude snobby or obscene remarks. i refuse to believe that this boy is just inadvertently having all of this hostility drawn to him. thats why i dont think moving the boy is necessarily the end-all answer to this.
     
  18. AlteredEgo

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,441
    Albums:
    3
    Likes Received:
    6,510
    Location:
    United States

    When I was in school my smart mouth was one of only two things between me and worse bullying. (The second is that I was one of the tallest kids.) I didn't start out with a bunch of slick things to say. I learned them while experimenting to see how I could stop being such a target. Sometimes I could humiliate people into backing off,other times it made it worse. I wanted to belong. I wanted it desperately. I NEVER instigated. I NEVER had anything rude to say for no reason, it was ALWAYS a defense mechanism. You're one of those people who catches the defense and interprets it as the beginning. Nothing wrong with that. I find that's most people. Or, you're a former bully who chooses to remember things in a convenient way. Nothing wrong with that either. We all have our defense mechanisms- even bullies.
     
  19. Gillette

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,309
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    14
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    That's a very difficult way to go about it as valuable as the lesson may be. Unfortunately it doesn't always work that way.

    Sometimes it's the feedback from the victims that reinforce a bully's behaviour, sometimes it's feedback from their friends egging them on and the victim's behaviour doesn't matter at all.

    A boy who was frequently bullied and refused to bow to pressure was shot by one of his tormentors not long ago. Sometimes taking the beating and refusing to be cowed by it only infuriates a bully more.

    My experience of it was different.

    I was singled out by a bully and herded by her friends after school so they could watch the "fight". She punched me, I reflexively kicked her and a teacher broke it up. He let her go first and used the most effective threat on me possible. Suspension from school.

    She and I lived in the same direction so when he let me go I ran as fast as I could to catch up with her to beg her to leave me alone. Her friends lived in the other direction. She was alone. She saw me coming and took off like a bat out of hell. The realization stopped me dead in my tracks. Without her friends to back her up, she was afraid of me. Damn! Neither she nor her friends ever bothered me again.

    You and I are lucky that the bullies we dealt with were content to let it drop when they did. Others could just as easily have escalated it to another level.

    Bullying is a frightening thing and a very ugly facet of human nature. There is no easy solution.
     
  20. D_one and done

    D_one and done New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,154
    Likes Received:
    1
    na im not a bully. i was too apathetic to be a bully or to be bullied. i kept to myself throughout middle and high school and no one bothered me. i had a smart mouth sometimes even with teachers, but i always did it in a way that diffused conflict. the only thing i based my post on were my personal experience, and in MY experience, most of the people who were widely disliked in school were usually disliked for a reason. i dont know about your situation. there are always exceptions like im assuming your case is, but the only thing i can respond from is my experience. i guess you can be the counterpoint to my views
     
Draft saved Draft deleted