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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

SRO's side of bad karma bully story

6

January

So did a Pinellas high school student really get suspended, and charged with stalking, because she parked in another girl's spot and, after her car was allegedly keyed, wrote on Facebook that bad karma was coming? Today's follow-up story about the 16-year-old at Osceola Fundamental High School noted it was still unclear what actions led to those sanctions.

The reason: We still didn't have the school resource officer's report. Well, we just got it a little bit ago. And at the risk of beating this story to a pulp, it's attached below.

The report references the karma comment (which is printed in full in both stories) and a second comment: "bitch doesn't see what's coming for her." Do those comments together rise to the level of a suspension and a criminal charge? Maybe along with parking in the other girl's spot?

(The sheriff's office sent us a file with copies of the two Facebook pages in which the comments appeared. There were two short threads of comments. The two referenced in the report are the most heated from Allie. A couple of others, from other individuals, were arguably more heated. One said, "Im gonna beat her ass for you Imfao." Another said, "i swear if she even touch my car I'm gonna be goin off on a bitch." We tried to attach the file so you could see the threads for yourself, but it was too big. You'll just have to take our word for it that the threads were short, and there wasn't anything more incendiary.)

The SRO also writes in the report that the two girls had been told - it's not clear by whom, and when - to stay away from each other. If Allie was ignoring previous pleas and cautions to cut it out, does that change things enough to warrant a suspension and a criminal charge?

In a supplemental report with today's date (it's part of the first attachment), the SRO writes he was advised by an assistant principal on Tuesday that the school decided to offer the two girls an opportunity to take part in an anti-bullying program. "Due to the school's re-assessment of this case and their willingness to provide school sanctions/consequences, it was decided by all parties that this matter would not be pursued criminally, but handled via school sanctions," he wrote.

Was this story worth media attention?

Like the original story said, the situation touches on a sensitive issue for school districts - when and how to intervene in bullying or potential bullying situations, especially when they happen off campus and/or in cyberspace. As everyone knows, there have been plenty of stories about bullying that attended tragically. And as we pointed out, the district has been sued at least twice in recent years by parents who allege it didn't intervene in bullying situations and their kids ended up seriously hurt.

From another angle, there's this: 794 students were arrested in Pinellas middle and high schools in 2010-11 alone. If anybody thinks this case was not handled correctly, does it also make you wonder how many other students were wrongly arrested?

 

[Last modified: Friday, January 6, 2012 6:31pm]

    

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