Investigate the circumstances surrounding the bullying of Christian Stanfield of South Fayette High School. Issue a formal apology.

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Investigate the circumstances surrounding the bullying of Christian Stanfield of South Fayette High School. Issue a formal apology.

This petition had 2,081 supporters
Nick Hardesty started this petition to Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq and

Punished for being bullied.  

As first reported by Priscilla Jones for

On Wednesday, March 19th a South Fayette Pa High School sophomore was found guilty of disorderly conduct for using his iPad to record himself being bullied at school. Initially informed that he was facing a felony wiretapping charge, the charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor.

For months Christian suffered bullying at the hands of his classmates in his special needs math class. After researching and exploring several anti-bullying websites, the victim chose to use his school approved iPad to record the bullying. According to Christian's mother, Shea Love, the following can be heard in the audio recording:

The teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, “You should pull his pants down!” Another student replies, “No, man. Imagine how bad that (c**t) smells! No one wants to smell that (t**t).” As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, “What? I was just trying to scare him!” A group of boys are heard laughing.

Outraged by what she heard in the recording, Ms. Love placed a call to South Fayette High School Administrators. Principal of the school, Scott Milburn, subsequently contacted the school's district attorney who advised Mr. Milburn of the potential for a wiretapping offense. Mr. Milburn then contacted the police and requested their presence at the school. Christian was asked to play the recording for Mr. Milburn and another school administrator and was then asked by Mr. Milburn to delete the recording. Mr. Milburn along with the attending officer, Lieutenant Kurta advised the victim that he was facing felony wiretapping charges because he made a recording in a place with an expectation of privacy. While explaining the lesser charge of disorderly conduct, Lieutenant Kurta stated that Christian engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose. The Lieutenant then read the official statute regarding disorderly conduct as, "Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by acts which serve no legitimate purpose."

While testifying, Christian explained why he chose to make the recording. "I wanted her (my mother) to understand what I went through. Like, it wasn't like I was over exaggerating it. I wasn't lying. It was really happening. I was really having things like books slammed upside my head. I wanted it to stop. I just felt like nothing was being done." Ms. Love stated that she had heard the recording and that she had emailed the special education teacher several times about similar incidents involving other kids.

Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet stated that, "I would expect a parent would let the school know about it, because it's not tolerated. I know that, and that you guys (school administrators) would handle that, you know. To go to this extreme, you know, it was the only alternative or something like that, you weren't made aware of that that was kind of what I was curious about."

Christian was found guilty of disorderly conduct following a Saturday detention at school, which he was asked to serve and completed. 

In 2011, the United States Department of Education found Pennsylvania to have one of the weakest and most insufficient anti-bullying laws in the nation.

In my estimation, the system has failed Christian miserably and further contributed to the oppressive atmosphere that he's dealt with throughout high school. I find it absolutely reprehensible that Christian has been punished for providing proof of his torment. 

Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet asserted that bullying is not tolerated and that school officials certainly would have dealt with the situation had they been made aware. Yet in the recording made by Christian, the special education math teacher was obviously present during one such episode of bullying and apparently did nothing. If the District Judge does not stand for Christian, if the Principal, the school administration, the District Attorney and the Police do not stand for Christian, then who will? Who will stand for your child if or when it happens to them?

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