There is a sharp disconnect between two prank stories this morning. When Tyrell Morton put an inflatable girl in the girl’s bathroom at his high school, he ended up with a felony charge and a potential jail sentence of eight years. However, when three eighth-grade girls from Dunbar Middle school in Florida tackled an 11-year-old boy and stripped him naked (and proceeded to videotape him and taunt him), they were let go as a simple prank in bad taste.
In the video, the girls stop the boy to chat and then hold him down, strip him naked, and mock him. The video was put on YouTube.
The boy is a fifth grader at Ray Pottorf Elementary. One girl faced a single misdemeanor battery charges, but it was abandoned when the boy’s mother has refused to press charges. I commend her for her restraint, but I wonder what the charge would be if a group of boys attacked and stripped a girl in public, videotaped her, and mocked her.
I tend to disfavor criminal charges in such cases. However, it seems clear that the girls should be expelled and subject to the most severe forms of school punishment. What I find interesting, however, is the sharply different treatment given such acts by boys as opposed to girls. Indeed, I doubt seriously this would have even confined to a misdemeanor if the genders were reversed or that, with the existence of the videotape, the failure to press charges would be determinative. If the police witness or have evidence of a felony, they do not necessarily require the consent of the victim. Once again, I would not take this to the criminal system. Yet, I am surprised that the articles only refer to the possibility of parental punishment as opposed to immediate expulsion and other measures, such as denial of social clubs, graduation etc.
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