Yesterday I blogged about people with disabilities and victimization and the stigmatization and violence committed against people with mental health disorders, at about the same time that I was writing that blog an act of violence was being committed against a High School student with a disability. The incident occurred in Beaver County, Pa.
The news broke last night on a local station. Apparently a 17 year old beat the other student until he gave the teen a concussion, causing him to lose consciousness. The beating took place on the school bus and other students captured this horrific act of violence with the video recorders on their cell phones. At this point there is speculation that fellow students on the bus were taking bets on who would "win" the fight. From seeing the video that was played on the news it is apparent that "fight" is not the accurate word, the student who was beaten was in his seat the entire time and the only thing he did in response was to reach up defensively to protect himself, he never once struck the other teen who mercilessly beat him around the head and torso. Also apparent on the video clip is the fact no one intervened, everyone just watched as if for sport, many cheered the violence on.
Incidents such as this continue to point to the lack of respect that our communities have for every member. When things like this happen, the responsibility falls on all of us to make sure it doesn't happen again. We are responsible for considering our own attitudes and the attitudes we share with our children and community. We are responsible, every last one of us! Let's stop this violence. Obviously school aged children and probably many of their parents still see people with disabilities as "less than." It's evident in the vernacular people use. The "r" word (which I refuse to write or speak and is banned from my home and children's mouths) is used on a routine basis by kids and adults alike, people joke about the "short bus" and tease others by implying they are "disabled" in some way. WE ARE THE DISABLED ONES! Disabled by the lack of ability to see other people as full human beings, disabled by our discomfort with people of all abilities in our neighborhoods and schools. People can say all they want that incidents like this point to "decaying youth" but the truth is, it's not just our youth, where did they learn this hate? Where did they learn this disrespect? Where did they learn to discriminate?
...you know what they say about where the apples fall.