Last month, a 13-year-old boy was viciously attacked by seven of his fellow male students at Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania. The attackers videotaped themselves punching and then later hanging the boy upside down from a fence. The attack lasted approximately 30 minutes, until a woman driving by chased the bullies off.
The boys later posted the video to YouTube. Police apprehended six of the seven suspected boys last week, escorting them out of the school in handcuffs. The victim, Nadin Khoury, the son of Liberian immigrants, has stated that he is not afraid to testify in court against his attackers.
It’s hard to decide what the most disturbing part of this whole incident is, the fact that the bullies would actually post such a video on the Internet, or that the video shows a passerby walking in the background and doing nothing to stop the attack. However, the fact that this whole event was published on the web has helped police investigate the incident and begin the process of bringing justice. There is no way for the bullies’ parents to blow off what happened and try to take the heat off of their children.
This is how many cases of bullying have turned out in the past. Many times there are no eye witnesses other than the attackers and the victim. Often times, if justice is pursued, it quickly turns into a battle of words, pitting one kid’s (and their parents) testimony against another. Now it is quite common for kids to live their lives out online on Facebook and YouTube, posting status updates and uploading videos and pictures. Additionally, it’s hard for kids to ignore the urge to snap a picture or take a video with their cell phone of anything they consider remotely interesting. Consequently, this has left police with an electronic trail of evidence.
Of course, social network sites such as Facebook have come under scrutiny for increasing bullying. Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old girl, committed suicide in January 2010 after three months of intense bullying from her classmates on Facebook and in person. It led many schools and states to institute rules against online bullying between students. Now teachers and the local police can monitor sites and hopefully become aware of bullying and address the situation before it gets out of hand. Although the Internet has offered kids a new venue for bullying outside of school, it has also helped the victims get protection and help.
Sean Alfano. “Teens arrested after posting YouTube video of beating 13-year-old boy and hanging him from a tree”, NY Daily News.
Danielle Lynch. “Schools implement anti-bullying plans”, Delaware County Times.
Russell Goldman. ” Teens Indicted After Allegedly Taunting Girl Who Hanged Herself “, ABC News.