NEW BULLYING LAWS BECOME EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2012. (Part 2)
You can read part 1 of this series here.
In more cases than not the bullier is someone who has learned how to push the right buttons. A person can call someone a “faggot” or “gay” or other hurtful names on the internet, in the classroom, by text message, by comments to friends, and know he or she can get away with it because the other student will not retaliate because they are not a bullier themselves. The school will not intervene because no physical fight or threat with a weapon has taken place. At some point the harassment gets to be too much and the student will retaliate by challenging the bullier to fight. In most cases the bullied student prevails in the fight, someone is injured, the police are called, and the bullied student is not only suspended/expelled from school but also prosecuted in juvenile or adult court. If someone causes a concussion, a broken bone(s), or a wound requiring stitches, they are going to be charged with the felony offense of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, battery with serious injury and possibly other felony offenses. The most serious charge as a felony is a non-sealable offense meaning the minor is ineligible to get his record sealed. There can also be huge restitution costs for the medical expenses incurred to treat the injuries. If a concussion is thought to have occurred, the injured student is taken to the hospital and given CT scans and other medical tests. The medical bills can become enormous. The assaulter and his parents can be ordered to make full restitution. If a student is threatened with a knife or threatens with no weapon to cause great bodily harm or death and the victim is in fear, he or she also will be charged with felony offenses that can have serious consequences. In the news earlier in the year, an adolescent shot and killed another student when he was 14 and the victim was 15. Allegedly the victim was dressing as a “gay” student and came on to the 14 year old. The shooter received a sentence of 21 years in prison.
Communicate with your student. Talk to their teachers and the counselors at school. Review their discipline file every semester. Be aware of your son’s or daughter’s texts and Facebook messages. If your son or daughter is being bullied or you suspect they are being bullied, let them know they must communicate with you. They cannot take matters into their own hands. If you have a gun at home, keep it under lock and key with the student having no access at all. Knives in the possession of kids is another huge problem. Countless kids have been suspended pending expulsion for taking a knife to school. If your son is a Boy Scout and likes to whittle with his knives, make sure they are not left in his pocket or backpack and inadvertently taken to school. Also, you do not want them turning to the knife to threaten another student when they fear they are in danger. The new laws should help the schools to be more proactive in preventing bullying before more serious consequences develop.
The amended statutes are sections of the California Education Code 234, 234.1, 234.2, 234.3 and a new 234.5. Also sections of the Education Code 32261, 32282, 32283, 46600, and 48900 were amended.