On Monday afternoon I caught an episode of Montel where he was updating the viewers on previous guests. I watched in curious anticipation of what the show would entail and I quickly found out, and was immediately moved to tears as a result.
Montel was getting the current status on children who’d been assaulted on school grounds. I was shocked, appalled, and almost homicidal as the guests recounted the trauma that their children suffered at the hands of their peers. One boy and his friend (both aged 7) had been in the bathroom when four older boys (aged 12) came in and began threatening them. They kicked and punched the one boy, pushed him down, pulled his pants off and began raping him with a stick and then forced the stick into his penis. The four boys went on to force their penises in the boy’s mouth and in fear the remaining boy ran out to get help. He told the playground monitor what was happening and they disregarded his pleas; giving him no comfort at all. The abused boy lived in fear, pain, and intimidation for 31 days before he finally spoke up. Naturally, his mother contacted the school and sought retribution for her child only to be slapped in the face by the school not acknowledging the assault and rape. The offending boys were not suspended, expelled, or given any disciplinary punishment. The abused child under gone two surgical procedures to help correct the damage done to him and is facing a third; in spite of all the surgeries he will be scarred for life.
The real sad part of this story and the others I heard about is that the victim was treated like the bad guy. He was given no protection where needed and his abuse was compounded by school officials denying the severity of the problem and not ensuring the offenders were punished. To add insult to injury, the DA refused to prosecute citing they didn’t have enough proof or grounds. WTF? So, a 7 year old boy is violently attacked and raped, which was in part witnessed by his friend who reported it and you don’t have enough grounds? Friends, I had no words. None, zip, zero, nada! I was stunned and appalled that the school and the so-called judical system failed that child in gargantuan proportions.
This is one of many; if not hundreds of incidents that is occurring in our schools today. As parents, aunts, uncles, older brothers or sisters, we must play an active role in our children’s live in terms of their safety. We must get active in the school and find out what its policies are on bullying, assault, and other crimes that take place on school grounds. It’s important that we monitor our children’s grades, health, and behavior in order to know when something isn’t quite right. We must not remove our children from the schools when they are the victims because by doing that we’re allowing the problem to continue and leave other children in a violent environment. Instead we must remain diligent in our efforts to force the school and local authorities to take the appropriate action against the offenders. And where applicable, seek legal counsel from a lawyer who specializes in crimes against children because they are the most receptive to the issue.
Child on child violence is nothing to ignore as it can be equally brutal to adult on child violence. Furthermore, it forces dialog on how these offending children became so violent and dangerous in the first place. More often than not, the offending child was a victim of some form of abuse and/or exposed to sexual things prematurely. We cannot continue to sit idly by while our children are either becoming victims or the victimizer. Intervention and counseling is necessary for these children to understand that their actions are wrong and unacceptable. Appropriate action is mandatory to reducing this potential epidemic.
“I believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way; show them all the beauty they possess inside…” *excerpt from “Greatest Love of All”*
If that is really true, then we have of work to do; starting right NOW!