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The Story of Casey Heynes

My first student yesterday had a video to show me. It was of a big guy being picked on by a young, skinny kid, with another kid recording it on his phone. The practice goes on a lot, if you did not know--students upload their fights onto youtube all the time. Mostly, they don't get noticed because, lets face it, the shit that is on youtube... but anyhow, this video, this one of the big kid being picked on by the little guy, didn't seem so interesting to me, though I did think it was pretty funny when the little guy got picked up and slammed into the ground, catching his foot on a ledge and breaking the ankle (or grazing a knee, depending on who you read or speak too).



And then I saw the youtube mashups.

The Street Fighter one is my favourite.



I mean, lol, right?

(Yes, I said lol. It's perfectly acceptable in this context.)

And then, then the student showed me a facebook page forty seven thousand people had liked. I can't find that one right now, but here is one that has fourteen thousand people who like it. A fact that gets thrown around is that on the Daily Telegraph's page where this first featured, the video was watched four times more than those about the Japanese tsunami. And someone, before they learned how Australia worked, even wanted to start a college fund for him. Of course, now they want to buy him a car.

You know, if someone wants to buy me a car, I'll beat up a little annoying skinny white kid too. Just as an aside.

Of course, out of this came a lot of conversations about bullying, about the suspension that both boys copped (four days each, apparently) and the belief in many people that Casey Heynes, the big kid, got harshly treated (or treated too lightly). Well, please. Giving the kid four days off school was probably the safest thing for him. Four days off school as the internet goes crazy with his story. You'll be lucky if the kid can walk back into his school after all of this. So honestly, don't think of his suspension as a punishment, think of it as four days in which everyone else involved at school can calm down, chill, and the moment of it all can blow over.

Well. If a national debate about bullying hadn't begun, using Heynes as a poster child for it, that might have happened. A lot of people seem to have the opinion voiced in this, the dubiously named Values Australia. In the short version, basically, people have blamed the school and teachers for not doing enough, without acknowledging that there's precious little you can do, really. I mean, you see some kid picking on another kid, what is it you can do? In a world where students know their rights, know that punishment is a frail thing with no real consequences, and understand that the power structure between teacher and student is created, and works only while the latter accepts the former, there's honestly not you can do. That doesn't even begin to acknowledge that the moment a teacher gets involved to help the one being bullied, that the majority of the time, it only accelerates it--and what are the going to do, anyway? Talk? Now, don't read this as some reason to bring back corporal punishment, since that shit didn't work either--but if you honestly want teachers, who deal with hundreds of students every day, to affectively and efficiently deal with behaviour like this, you are firstly overlooking the purpose of their job, and secondly, over looking human nature.

Truth is, for the most part, getting through school, dealing with the people who hassle you, is all about yourself. You can't rely upon others to solve your issue. Anyone who was or is a student will understand that going to any authority is only making matters worse, and that ignoring it does not, in most cases, solve anything. Y can either suffer through it until it ends, or confront it, wherein maybe it will end. It's a shit, with no easy answer, no easy result, and the people who rush to blame teachers and principles and schools are failing to acknowledge that the problem is one that is ingrained in our culture, that the attributes we collectively admire and dislike, are the cause for much of this behaviour. It is, I believe, just as easy for a teacher to stop this kind of behaviour successful as it for the same teacher to build a space shuttle in their class room from broken beakers.

Anyhow: which ever way you look at it, the video is still pretty funny.

Click click.