Thursday, October 16, 2008

A New Level Of Hate

As we all dissect the last debate, and worry about the economy, the level of hate in this country just reached a new high.

Or should I say low.

In Illinois, an elementary school bus driver taunted a ten year old boy, calling him "gay." He then, at the child's bus stop, encouraged other students to go beat him up.

The school has confirmed this, and is looking to confirm that the driver himself got off the bus to join them.

That a 46 year old man taunted a ten year old boy for any reason is horrible enough. But that he was in charge of children's safety and encouraged kids to beat the boy up?

There should be a special kind of jail for people like that. Since that's pretty much out of the question, how about a federal hate crimes bill?

As the economy continues to swirl it's way down the toilet, the levels of hate crimes- all hate crimes- will rise exponentially. They always do in times of economic distress.

This was a ten year old child. Too young to be gay, straight or anything but a boy. What if he were Black and the driver had called him a 'nigger' and told the kids to beat him up? Or Asian? Or Hispanic?

Where is the outcry? This happened last week and there has been no mainstream media news about it at all- why? Because if it were about race? It would have made the news. If the child was handicapped? There would be cameras in this guys face asking hard questions.

There would be a lesson to learn. It would be clear that in our society that kind of behavior is not okay.

Instead we have reached a new level of hate.

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Blogger Tim and Louie said...

You would think that a 46 year old man responsible for the lives of dozens of children on his bus would not be engaging in this type of behavior! Let alone LEADING it! And encouraging others to JOIN IN!!!


But, Sara is correct. The mainstream media is turning a blind eye to this story because they think it's not going to get them higher ratings. Worthy causes be damned!

I'm certain that if the bus driver had kicked a dog in front of the children, then there would be hell to pay and even Faux News would be covering that story.

3:53 PM  
Blogger said...

OMG I can't even believe what I just read.

I can't even BELIEVE what I just read.


3:56 PM  
Anonymous Morgan said...

I'm sick.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Tim and Louie said...

There is a thread over at the Box Turtle Bulletin about this story and one of the commenters, Kevin, has provided the information needed to write or call the State Attorney in Kankakkee County, John Boyd, and ask that this bus driver be charged under Illinois’s hate crime law.

Box Turtle Bulletin:

Illionois hate crime law:

State Attorney in Kankakkee County:

John Boyd
Criminal Division
Kankakee County Courthouse
450 E. Court St.
Rooms 301-306
Kankakee, IL 60901
Phone: 815-937-2930
Fax: 815-937-3932

6:05 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I have heard and my children have experienced the bus bully but the driver Omg. What is this world coming to. Sad and sick pretty much sums up how I feel.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Tim and Louie said...

Here's the letter that one of the commenters, Kevin, over at the Box Turtle Bulletin penned to send to Illinois State Attorney John Boyd:

October 16, 2008

State’s Attorney John Boyd
Criminal Division
Kankakee County Courthouse
450 E. Court St.
Rooms 301-306
Kankakee, IL 60901

Dear Mr. Boyd,

Just this week, a Bourbonnais Elementary School District No. 53 bus driver was arrested “for mob action” after he allegedly taunted a 10-year-old student and encouraged others on the bus to chase after the boy.

Mr. Russell A. Schmalz was arrested by the Kankakee Sheriff’s Police Department and is charged with endangering the life of a child and battery. According to Chief Deputy Ken McCabe, Schmalz had taunted the boy by calling him “gay.”

“When the boy got off the bus, the driver encouraged several other students to go after him and tackle him. Our investigation shows that occurred,” McCabe said. Mr. Schmalz also allegedly got off the bus and grabbed the boy he had been harassing.

As I’m sure you realize, Mr. Boyd, this is a heinous act against a child. This child will be scarred for life because of this incident and his pain is sure to cause him a host of emotional and psychological problems. The treatment he was subjected to by an employee of the school district and at the hands of his schoolmates will no doubt affect him and his family’s image in the community as well.

Let’s be clear about what we’re dealing with. This is a textbook example of a hate crime.

This child was targeted because of anti-gay prejudice. Whether this child is gay or not is irrelevant. This child was made a victim because of the virulent anti-gay prejudice Mr. Schmalz demonstrated and encouraged to impressionable school children. Apparently, school administrators at the Bourbonnais Elementary School District do not screen their bus drivers carefully nor subject them to any type of sensitivity training. Part of the responsibility for this heinous crime falls on them as well, and it is my hope that you hold them accountable also.

This child is 10 years old and already he has been subjected to one of the worst kinds of violence we see in our society. Anti-gay violence, if ignored and swept under the rug, will only escalate until the powers-that-be step in and take proactive measures to prevent them. If this isn’t addressed and prosecuted, we will continue to see horrific violence, such as that which took the young life of Matthew Sheppard 10 years ago.

I am calling on you to prosecute Mr. Schmalz to the fullest extent of the law and use your position as State’s Attorney for Kankakee County to engage the Illinois Hate Crimes law (§ 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1) in his prosecution.

Don’t let this heinous crime go unpunished. Justice requires that a victim of a hate crime be treated as such and that his victimizers be sentenced accordingly.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


CC: Regional Superintendent, Kay M. Pangle, I-KAN Regional Office of Education==

He also provided the address for the Regional Superintendent for the Office of Education in Illinois, Kay M. Pangle, PhD

Kay M. Pangle, PhD
Regional Superintendent
I-Kan Regional Office of Education
189 East Court Street
Kankakee, IL 60901

9:15 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

thanks, tim and louie.

everyone, start writing letters!

10:17 PM  
Blogger Seda said...

Yes, Sara - including letters to the media, asking why they aren't covering this story, and requesting that they do!

Thanks for posting this. I feel sick reading it, but it needs to get out.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

there are no words to describe how sickening this story actually is! where are we going as a country?

8:53 PM  
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