Student Appeals Ruling that Charged Him With Disorderly Conduct for Recording Bullies
After school officials found out that a 15-year-old Pennsylvania student had recorded a group of students bullying him, they allegedly forced the student to delete the video and then reported the “wiretapping incident” to the police.
In court on March 19, Christian Stanfield, who has been diagnosed with a comprehension delay disorder, ADHD and an anxiety disorder, stated that he had made the recording because he had always felt like he “wasn’t being heard.” He testified that students slammed books across his head, and stated that he “wanted some help.”
Instead of helping him, however, South Fayette District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet found Stanfield guilty of disorderly conduct, and fined him.
Now, Stanfield plans on appealing the ruling and suing the school district.
The South Fayette High School student recorded the incident in February to show his mother the extent to which he was being harassed. In the video, one student reportedly tells another to pull down Stanfield’s pants. The teacher then intervenes and tells the students to stop talking if their discussion isn’t about math.
Minutes later, a slam can reportedly be heard, as well as a boy’s voice saying, “What? I was just trying to scare him,” and the teacher’s voice telling students to sit down.
In February, after the school’s principal and assistant principal discovered that Stanfield had recorded the incident, they reported him to the police and asked Lieutenant Robert Kurta to come to the school to investigate “a wiretapping incident.” Kurta, however, felt that the situation did not warrant charging Stanfield with a felony wiretapping charge.
In court this pasts March, Stanfield’s mother, Shea Love, stated that she had emailed her son’s teacher several times between October and February with details of his complaints. She added that the alleged bullies “were calling him some really bad names.”
Although the district does have records of Love’s complaints, assistant principal Aaron Skrbin testified in court that, “To be blunt, I would not classify that as bullying.”
“The whole thing has been a horrible nightmare,” Love told Tribune-Review. “This whole ordeal has made my son miserable.”
Stanfield’s request is to be heard on April 29.