In March 2013 with ten minutes left in a freshman science class, boys were being boys. Kyle, 14 at the time, and a member of the football team sat with a few teammates and wrote up a "hit list", people they would like to hit on the football field. "It was just a joke, it wasn't to hurt anybody," Kyle explained afterwards. The list included silly names like "Applesauce Head". The Easter Bunny may even have been mentioned. It is apparent to any and all readers that while the joke may be questionable in it's level of humor, it was, in fact, a joke.
Anyone who has spent any time around a young teenage boy is probably relating to this story already. Unfortunately, the story quickly moves from typical teenage behavior to an unbelievable series of events where this young man was led from the school in handcuffs, charged with assault & battery, suspended from school on a Level 3 Assault and is on house arrest...
His teacher put down her soda can long enough to grab the paper from his hands. He pulled it back and they continued in this manner, while witnesses say the teacher was laughing and everyone in the room thought it was funny. When the teacher turned her body with Kyle still holding on to the paper, her action pulled his arm around her. She yelled for him to stop in what Kyle has referred to as a "mom voice" and he immediately let go. She left the room and a hall monitor returned to take Kyle to the office. That was the last time Kyle was permitted in the classroom. He was escorted from the building in handcuffs by a Farmington Hills police officer.
After multiple meetings with the school's principal, vice principal and superintendant, the school board ruled that they had to stand behind the teacher who had filed Assault & Battery charges against Kyle. They will appear in Oakland County court on October 17th. At no time did the school meet with any of the student witnesses in the room. Instead, they took a statement from the teacher that reads more like a mystery novel than a classroom experience where she was "fearful of the safety of all of the students at the school" and was "brutally assaulted", "bear hugged" and "forced to the ground". The teacher (who is a young, white woman) actually described Kyle as an "animal". Ironically, the worst thing he could say about her on his "hit list" was that she was a "smooshed bunny". When asked why he referred to her that way, he responded, "I like her. It was the only thing I could think of. It was just a joke."
It looks like the joke is on Kyle and his mother, who has spent six months working tirelessly to get her son back in school. He has been suspended for 180 days, and is unable to attend any public, charter or alternative school in the state of MI. In fact, he can't even attend the free online classes offered to students everywhere. Instead, he is on a forced house arrest, with the exception made for his youth leadership services at his Lutheran Church (insert irony). His mother has paid thousands of dollars for tuition-based online instruction, but says that Kyle is so upset and depressed that it's impossible for him to concentrate. He is filled with remorse and still does not understand how things got so out of hand.
The ACLU came to MI to capture Kyle's story as a clear depiction of this young man's civil rights being violated. His time would be better served in school than in handcuffs. Please watch the video to gain a glimpse of Kyle's story. This young man mad a grave error in judgement, but how much should it cost him? I think his future is far too steep. Get him back in school, and get him back in sports where he belongs. He won't make a mistake like this again...
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