Billy and the Bullies: Family Sues High School Bully and May Soon Sue an Arkansas School District

A case in Fayetteville, Arkansas could prove very interesting as a family has sued a high school bully and may soon sue the school district over a prolonged and dangerous pattern of bullying directed against 15-year-old Billy Wolfe. It appears that the school district left this family few choices other than litigation after their son was repeatedly attacked as a type of collective sport for bullies in this high school — and school officials seemed remarkably passive and unsympathetic in the face of the resulting injuries (even after viewing the video below). Notably, the Wolfes are not alone in seeking legal action when school official fail to act.

At some point, high school bullies decided that Billy was the designated victim for the high school and made him a type of sport prey for punches and ridicule. A video shot by some boys on a cellphone shows how arbitrary the attacks could be. On the video, one of the boys announces that he is going to beat up Billy Wolfe and in front of his younger sister he walks up and suddenly punches him. For the video, click here

This appears to be the life Billy has had to live while trying to learn. The beatings were triggered years ago after Billy mentioned to his Mom that a kid had called teasing him about buying a certain sex toy. When his Mom called the boy’s parents, the boy showed Billy a list of 20 names the next day of boys who signed up to beat him.

One attack occurred in a bathroom. In another, it happened in shop class when a boy walked up and sucker punched Billy so hard he needed medical attention to stitch up his cheek. What is bizarre is that, despite the video above, the school suspended Billy.

The bullying then extended to the Internet. In a situation disturbingly like the Megan Meier case, here, Billy was made the subject of a vile Facebook page called “Every One That Hates Billy Wolfe.” The bullies put a picture of Billy’s face over an image of Peter Pan and wrote: “There is no reason anyone should like billy he’s a little bitch. And a homosexual that NO ONE LIKES.”

Not surprising, Billy is hardly flourishing at school.

This is not the first lawsuit involving Fayetteville and bullying. The district was previously sued after a student was savagely beaten for being gay. Parents in other school district have also turned to the court to force educators to take action and not simply treat bullying as a nature part of growing up. Click here and here and here and here.

Juries and courts are not buying the argument of educators that there is nothing that they can do. One obvious measure is to expel bullies. In one case, a Kansas boy harassed and bullied for being gay (he wasn’t) resulted in a $250,000 award. Dylan Theno, 18, filed the lawsuit in May 2004 against the Tonganoxie School District after years of bullying led him to drop out of school.

Such lawsuit may force educators to act with the threat of financial penalties. I have been a critic of one response, however: taking the victims out of the school and leaving the bullies, click here. As soon in the Meier case, bullying can resulted in terrible injuries or even deaths. It often results, as with Billy, in the destruction of a high school education — the most important stage of education for individuals.

The idea of suing the bully is a bit novel, but perhaps it will have a deterrent on those parents and other parents who fail to control their children. I do not believe that kids just spontaneously become bullies. The parents share responsibility in such actions. For those who decry “bringing in the lawyers,” they should consider the fact that these kids received little support from the educators. Moreover, these are physical assaults by bullies and, in some cases, acts of negligence by educators. I am constantly horrified by these stories of schools with histories of open bullying and harassment. As educators, our most sacred duty is to preserve a safe and nurturing environment for our students — particularly when they are teenagers struggling with all of the physical and emotional changes in their lives. Indeed, some educators have given their lives to protect their students form violence, click here.

If litigation is needed to prevent another Meier case, than so be it. Perhaps a couple of judgments will result in serious anti-bullying training and programs for schools. What particularly worries me is that the boys described in Wolfe’s lawsuit will become citizens and parents without any corrective action. They have to taught by omission that their conduct is popular and natural. This only serves to replicate homophobic, intolerant, and violent values in society. High school is a powerful learning ground and this is one lesson that we need to stop.

For the full story, click here

51 thoughts on “Billy and the Bullies: Family Sues High School Bully and May Soon Sue an Arkansas School District”

  1. I got bullied and the key fyi was to bravely stick up for myself and fight back. Then bullies don’t look at you as an easy target anymore as the bully can experience injuries instead of just being humored during their assaults thus they typically slow down or halt altogether. Just FYI though if I were this kid in the article I’d have sued by then too! Great idea.

  2. We are having the same problem here in Rogers Arkansas at Heritage High School. If you are one of the star athletes it gets swept under the rug. But if you are not a star athlete then there are consequences. Our experience with two Varsity Atletes last year and one this year. TOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. if we can’t let kids fight for themselves then
    bullies should be tried for criminal assault and battery and face jail time along with their ignorant parents for aiding and abetting. a big part of the problem is the parents of bullies always turn out to be assholes themselves who should have been drowned at birth.

  4. Bullies are yellow dog cowards who don’t have the guts to fight anyone one-on-one, and only start wars they can’t lose because they ARE losers. Thank God that someday he’ll send those lowlifes to an eternal devil’s hell, which is what they richly deserve.

  5. I was fortunate while attending High School. We had no-nonsense principals and PE teachers who quickly put an end to any bullying, hazing, “roughing up”, “boys-will-be-boys” stuff. They gave the bullies a taste of their own medicine right then and there–being slammed up against a locker in front of your buddies usually worked. And the parents supported the teachers 100%. While in the military, I was again fortunate to have similar “no-nonsense” Commanding Officers, OIC’s, & NCOIC’s. Being a bully would result in having your ass and career handed to you a silver platter, along with time in the BRIG where you would receive a first class education on how to be a bully–with you as the victim of course. People need to grow a back bone.

  6. Phys-Ed Class was the precursor of Gitmo. In 1979 a swimming class in high school was close to waterboarding. You swim or you run the risk of being drowned by a bully. You stay on the pool side or else.

    Only did I join the Navy did I jump into a “swimming” pool. I got onto the diving board and jumped in. This was Boot Camp. I did it The expierence?

    (maneuver to edge of diving board)
    (jump on command)

    Waaaahhhh! (splashdown)
    (sink almost to bottom)
    (slow rise to surface)
    face up and get to edge of drowning pool.

    Lesson learned is that you want a swimming pool to be good and salted up!Salt it up REAL GOOD!

    You can backstroke in a salted lake (an ocean) but you can’t in freshwater unless you are athletic.

  7. Anyone who thinks bullying is natural and okay; hasn’t ever been bullied themselves. It is serious problem in learning, work, an social environments.
    I am a retired AF Special Ops fought in Panama, Grenada, and throughout south Amrica and am very well trained in combat But Because of my smaller stature I became an ‘apparently’ easy target, even as an adult, until I lay the bully out. There is something called justifiable provocation which has saved me from jail twice now. But I have also been deemed a danger to myself and others because of the way I have dealt with bullies.
    No, bullying should be prosecuted just as you would a rape becuse the lasting mental effects can be as conseqential here as for a rape victim.
    Laws arer now in place to keep Columbine from re-occuring…

  8. 1. Fighting The “Gang Mentality”

    I bet the bullies that actually fight with Billy are actually being manipulated by their friends. This is how it works: the ring leader decides to demonstrate his power by manipulating his or her minions to harass a seemingly vulnerable student. The ring leader says “so-and so is x, y and Z”. If you minions want to be in my click you must punish so an so. Off the minions go to execute their masters bidding. Of course, the master (alpha male or female) does not use such direct language – his or her instructions are subtle, but well understood. Often the ring leader avoids punishment because they are smart enough to avoid direct involvement. Instead they sit back and enjoy the show – manipulating their simple minded minions and indirectly bulling those that they cannot affectively control.
    Please do not encourage the victim to fight. The result can easily be devastating. Encourage the victim to use the law. Fights can go bad wrong. Lost teeth, death fro traumatic head injury, choking deaths, eye damage. The victim may not be willing to lose and may choke, stab, shoot, hit with object ect…. the aggressor may be really mean – and or stupid- he could do any of the above. Often the aggressor is just some manipulated person that the real bully is using as a proxy
    My fights didn’t end too bad – A good undercut cracked my molar – and the magnetic CB antenna base plate I was holding severely injured and attacker – he came close to death. He was a good person manipulated by rotten idiots – what if I killed him?? I like my teeth and would have liked to skip the gold crown. My hands are still scared from the teeth and bone of the many attackers I have been forced to fight. And yes, I have run from many fights also. I am proud to say I have never fought some who did not first attack me. I have learned through the years and I am now better able to stay away from dangerous people. Being out of school helps because it is hard to stay away from them when you are in the same school.
    Martial arts are great, but you don’t have to study them long to figure out how to kill someone – man it’s strange but 8 out of 10 fights I have been in were with some dummy that didn’t even realize he was fighting for someone else. Do you really want to kill someone like this? I don’t want to spend 20 years in jail or hurt someone. You don’t want your son or daughter going to reform school – I hear the fighting there is worse. And, they will likely meet some bad apples.
    The school system needs to be trained to circumvent the sub grouping that is taking place at this undisciplined school. The school is obviously slandering the victim. Blame the victim – is the best tactic to use – it’s great when you can convince your parents and teachers that your violent behavior is ok. And guess what – allot of the uninvolved students concur that Billy is the problem. But, the truth is – they may actually be the behind the scene manipulator. Some of the students are saying “ I just avoid Bill”. That’s great so half the kids are physically and verbally torturing Billy and the other half are isolating him socially. May as well shot him in the head. Look Dummies be nice to Billy show him by example how to act. Help him make friends. Show some compassion.
    There is this great saying in this old book I looked in once. Goes something like “ Treat others as you would like to be treated” – I find when I am able to do this I sleep better. I’m not real good at it, but I am going to try to do better.

  9. Alfredo, I hope you come back to check this thread.

    I would very much appreciate hearing from you on what state you are in. This would be useful information for all of us here.

    As far as anonymity on the web: a two edge sword it is without a doubt. But overall I am decidedly in favor of it at least in certain forums including this one. There is a chilling effect on free speech and whistleblowing in general if one is compelled to give one’s name at least in a public forum such as this. Its too bad that it has gotten that bad, but there it is.

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