Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Neener neener neener.

Update below.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been the fat kid. Maybe I simply lack the requisite zero-tolerance school administrator sensibility that somehow must rationalize the winner of any fight into the bad guy. Maybe I'm a creature of another, simpler age. But I am damned if I can see how Casey Heynes did a thing wrong.

You probably have seen the video by now, despite the fact YouTube keeps taking it down. Casey Heynes, a 16-year-old high school student in Australia, is being tormented by a gang of nasty little bullies. They are taunting him for his weight while the lead cur in the pack steps in and punches Heynes in the face. He capers around Heynes, laughing and trying to hit him again, while Heynes fends off the blows. Then Heynes has had enough. As I have described here before, Heynes reacts violently enough to end the threat.

As it stands, both students are suspended from Chifley College where, the school says, they provide “a safe, supportive and productive learning environment to promote individual achievement and self-responsibility.” An official there has stated that  both boys will face consequences because the school "does not tolerate any violence.” But that is clearly a lie.

The only explanation for these events is that violence has been tolerated there for quite some time. How else to explain the fact that the vicious little snot who gets his comeuppance 41 seconds into the video clearly believed he could attack Casey Heynes with impunity? If similar assaults hadn’t happened before this – and often – how to explain that anyone that size thought he could hit someone Heynes’ size and get away with it? And how else to explain that the vicious, tech-savvy tormentors were ready to record Heynes latest humiliation?

I don’t know what’s going to become of Heynes and his academic career. I hope all this publicity will end up being good for him, but I have to doubt it will. I'm not sure if Australian authorities and parents have more sense than American ones, who -- if the events occurred here and now -- certainly would expel Heynes, then arrest him for assault and try him as an adult, while the scrawny little "victim's" family sued in civil court.

Happily, 35 years ago, when I was the fat kid and a freshman at St. Ignatius High School, similar events only earned me six weeks of Saturday detention,* awarded by an assistant principal who privately gave me a pat on the back for standing up for myself. Most importantly, they earned me a subsequently peaceful three and half years of high school, free from further taunts or bullying of any sort. (Whack a guy in the belly with a locker room stool, then kick him while he writhes on the ground, and word tends to get around.)

Unless the miserable little weasel Heynes put on the ground is stupid, as well as cruel, I suspect Heynes' actions will have at least that same effect.

* Despite having copied out all of the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" several times over those Saturdays, I find I remember almost none of it, except that it contained a recipe for albatross. Truth to tell, I still have a lingering grudge against Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

UPDATE: When the school says it does not tolerate "any violence," I wonder if they know what the words "any" and "violence" mean exactly. Consider this incident at the same school from about a year ago.


  1. Have to love that video. I remember being picked on in elementary school. It was not physical abuse, but it took its tole. There should be no place in our schools for it. Schools need to reform their policies to make bullying something that comes with a much more severe punishment than a detention or two.

  2. The problem is that the bully doesn't CARE if he's punished. How many bullies have you ever seen that weren't in trouble for plenty of other things? So the child being tormented is punished at the same level as the child who defended himself. That's what is screwed up about the PC world we live in now. The bully couldn't care less about detention or suspension because he's been there and done that before. For kids like me, that meant that any trouble at school meant being stripped of graduation honors, being thrown off athletic teams AND receiving whatever punishment was decided upon.

    I also was bullied and made fun of in high school by the ringleader of a group of girls. I wasn't fat...but being the "smart kid" always meant the other girls loved to pick on me. Like the child in the above video, I finally ended things one night OFF SCHOOL GROUNDS by giving my "bully" the beating of her lifetime.

  3. The video brought back a violent flashback. A resilient idiot who had been bullying me for years took three flips and then a sitting-on-his-chest-and-using-his-face-as-punch-toy to get the message. Nobody got suspended or punished in anyway (The Brothers were a bit amazed that I took action and won.) Still the bully's buddies decided that an affront was made and that I should pay for it and sent one of them to pick a fight with me in the school bus. The result of that was a busted laminated window and several stitches on the scalp of the second idiot who had to pay for the replacement glass. His ego did not let him admit I shoved his head against it so he said he slipped and fell against the window.
    But bullying was over for good. That was the last time I ever hit somebody with anger in my soul. 1973.

  4. Bullies understand only one thing--a big fist in the face. Good for the boy at Chifley College who tried to do the right thing by trying push the little twerp off twice and then clocking him when he wouldn't stop. It makes me sad that any administrator who had seen that video would not have rewarded him for his honorable behavior. Josie

  5. To say that the school is lying about the policy is to ignore the reality on the ground at nearly every school in the world. There are simply too many kids to watch each and every one of them ALL of the time.

    The school may very well have a true zero tolerance policy towards violence, but be unable to enforce the same for lack of adequate information on all violent events.

    You can't be so forgetful of school that you honestly believe that the teachers knew EVERYTHING that went on?

  6. Other reports say Casey had filed DOZENS of complaints about being bullied there, and the school did NOTHING. And any fool can watch the video and see Casey was defending himself as minimally as possible. The school authorities are criminally negligent in this case.

  7. "criminally negligent," seriously? see http://movieclips.com/NH7kE-the-princess-bride-movie-inconceivable/ skip to about 1:58 and replace the word "inconceivable" with "criminally negligent."

    Also, while I am absolutely on the fat kid's side, I don't think picking up a kid half your size and doing a suplex qualifies as defending yourself "as minimally as possible."

    The little bully got what he had coming. In a perfect world single payer health care puts the kid in a cast (I heard he suffered a broken ankle), both kids are suspended (zero tolerance to violence after all), and no one ever picks on the big guy ever again.