COMMENTARY | When an Indiana mother justifiably sent her son to school with a stun gun to protect himself, it led to his arrest.
CNN reported high school student Darnell Young had been taunted by bullies for months and when the school didn’t do enough to protect him, Young’s mother gave him the device. Young, having been surrounded by bullies who were threatening him, held the stun gun in the air and scared the bullies. He was then arrested. The principal’s response is why the mother was justified in sending him to school with it and why Young should not be expelled.
Principal Larry Yarrell said he and school staff had been trying to get Young to “tone down” his way of dressing as he is openly gay and flamboyant.
Sure, because when a kid is being bullied, the first thing we should do is figure out what’s wrong with the kid that “makes” people want to bully him. Just as I’m sure there is something wrong with women whose husbands beat them. Give me a break.
I guess it’s easier to blame the victims of such behaviors than it is to teach the ones doing the bullying that their behavior isn’t OK. Schools want to say they have no tolerance for bullying behavior, but the truth is, this type of “advice” is given to bullied kids all over. “If you just conform, stop being who you are and subscribe to the majority’s notion of what ‘normal’ is, you won’t be bullied.” Seriously, school officials desperately need to stop trying to give bullied kids the impression that there is something wrong with them.
Instead, focus on the bullies. There isn’t anything wrong with being unique and happy with yourself. Address what is really wrong; kids (and some adults) who seem to think it is OK to threaten and belittle others for whatever reason.
It seems this mom was correct in giving her son a stun gun to protect himself given school officials’ attitudes about who’s to blame for bullying. I don’t think it is wise for every bullied kid to carry a weapon and Young should be reprimanded but under the circumstances, he shouldn’t be expelled.
Hopefully, the real message isn’t lost on these school officials and they’ll start dealing with bullies constructively instead of blaming the victims.