Four New Jersey teenagers have been charged in connection with the attack of a 14-year-old girl who later took her own life after video of the incident was posted on social media.
One juvenile is charged with aggravated assault, two juveniles are charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and one juvenile is charged with harassment, Ocean County prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer told CBS News in an email.
Adriana Kuch, 14, was found dead in her Bayville home on Feb. 3, two days after the disturbing video of the attack at Central Regional High School was posted online. The video showed girls allegedly throwing a drink at the teen, then kicking and dragging her down school hallways. They allegedly pushed Adriana into red lockers lining the school hallways and one of the girls in a pink shirt punched Kuch repeatedly.
When I was an elementary child riding the school bus, we had a few fights on the bus. One young man who didn’t live that far from me was constantly getting into fights on the school bus. One day he had a kid down repeatedly punching him in the face. The bus driver stopped the bus and escorted both boys off the bus while still a couple of miles from their homes. We then drove off and left them on the road. I don’t recall seeing the fight continue as they now had to walk or hitchhike a ride to get home. Since the one boy was being beaten so bad, I don’t think the driver made the best decision since the other kid could have finished him off on the rural road we were traveling. However, it did appear the fight had stopped as we drove off. Most likely not having a bus audience, bleeding and having to walk home changed the scenario.
In the 60s and 70s there were bad things that happened in schools that often got swept under the rug. With no social media, kids usually ended up working it out or staying away from people we didn’t like. Often many of us never took our school problems home because our parents had enough problems without having to worry about our school fusses. Or we were afraid we might get in trouble at home.
School children face challenges. There are ongoing pressures from bullies who must be corralled and disciplined, dismissed from school or in some cases put in a place where they can get rehabilitation and help for their psychotic issues. Locking a 14-year-old up in jail for years solves nothing. However, kids who bring about injury or death to another student need mental help and rehabilitation before being freed to invoke pain on someone again. Most likely if your family has lost a family member to a bully you want the offender locked up for life.
Even though my school era was not a perfect world schoolteachers and principals had authority to paddle our butts. They had authority to discipline us, suspend us from school and could put bite with their bark. We knew the teachers ruled and we respected them. I can remember see paddling’s that I never wanted to get and received a couple myself.
No school has the ability to patrol every corner of a school facility. Bullying, fights and bad things typically occur in unsupervised spaces. Schools can’t hire enough security guards or have enough monitors to patrol ever corner.
Every day in every state in America a private school is starting or the groundwork is being formulated.
Ten years from now almost every city and even small community in America will have a private or faith-based school. Some of these will only be elementary schools but many have or will develop junior and senior highs. Such schools are not free of their own issues but parents across America are desperate for safe places for their kids. Parents want a place where there is zero tolerance of bullies and an administration who means business about protecting the children. They want an environment where their children can be mentored, taught and prepared better for life, college or to move into adult jobs.
Parents don’t want a school who they feel is working against them or hiding things from them.
Life is like this. The world is like a jungle most days. There are bullies in the workplaces, neighborhoods and mean people can be found all over. This is why we have the right to call 911. We can file charges against people with the police. We should have the right to carry a firearm and defend ourselves. We have to work to help each other and protect each other.
Teachers, administrators, parents and students must work together for safety and security. Children and teachers must feel safe with an environment free from bullying, hazing or intimidation. Kids should not have to wake up every day fearful of going to school. Neither should the school staff and parents.
The issue of bullying and school safety requires school boards, all staff, parents and students to work together. It’s not a task for a few to accomplish but a job for us all.