- Category: LGBT Issues
- Published on Friday, 04 May 2012 17:54
- Written by Lara Landis
- Hits: 545
Schools often punish bullying victims for defending themselves, rather than taking steps to prevent the problem from getting out of hand. A Gay student in Indianapolis carried a stun gun into his high school, test fired it and warned his tormentors to back off. Officials at his Indianapolis High School knew the problems he was having. Arsenal Tech High School officials told Darnell Young to not be openly Gay if he wanted to stop being the target of the bullies’ attacks.
People may think that this will turn into a rant against bullying, but it is rather a rant against school district policies. Many schools let the tormentors abuse an individual day after day. As long as the tormentors do not cross the zero tolerance policies on school grounds, they do nothing. When the victim finally lashes out at the perpetrators, the victim is the one who gets punished.
Nothing Young did would have been illegal if it had taken place off of school property, he posesed a firearms license, and he were over eighteen years of age. His story would probably not have made the papers if it were not for the extreme reaction of the schools.
When six students surround someone and threaten physical harm, it is an individual’s right to defend themself. Zero tolerance policies benefit no one. They do not even achieve their claimed goals. Society has to allow people to fight back if they are harassed. Robert A. Heinlein perhaps has the best quote in this particular situation. It works because we do not live in the world that many of the people who promote these policies would like.
"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life,” wrote the science fiction author. There are limits to this idea, particularly when alcohol or drugs have flowed freely, but Young did nothing that requires him to be punished. There are those who would say that Young should have gotten a teacher or an authority figure, but the teachers and authority figures failed Young miserably.
I think stun guns are an extreme overreaction for school violence, but I know that when I went through school, there were times when the administrators would look the other way for a few seconds if they knew someone was standing up to a bully. If things got out of hand, then both parties would get punished.
Young may have violated school policies, and indeed he violated Indiana's law regarding the possession of these devices by minors. I believe the mitigating circumstances should remove or greatly lessen any punishment he might receive..