Readers Respond to Billy Wolfe Article

Ever since I posted on Dan Barry’s article about Billy Wolfe on Monday, I’ve been getting an impressive and sustained amount of traffic to the site, which has been accompanied by a noticeable uptick in comments. Check out the comments here and add one of your own; there’s a lively discussion going on among Juvienation readers, a few of whom are from Fayetteville. I’d also direct readers who remain interested in the story to check out the letters page from yesterday’s New York Times, which includes an outpouring of responses to Barry’s article. I’ve pasted a few below; read the rest here.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

To the Editor:

Your article ponders why Billy Wolfe is a victim: is it his learning disability, his physical appearance, his attitude? No. The truth is that there is nothing about Billy, or any bullied victim, that justifies or legitimizes deliberate, repeated physical violence. Bullying is learned early and practiced often in schoolyards across America.

Everyone involved suffers: bullied kids, like Billy, who feel unsafe and alone; bystanders who learn the code of silence; and even the bullies, who may enjoy that momentary feeling of power, but who long term also pay a huge price, if the primary way they know how to connect with another person is with cruel words and their fists.

Starting early, parents and schools, in partnership, need to make it a priority to quit blaming the victim, and to teach lessons of empathy, every day. It’s the only way to make school safe for every child.

Hang in there, Billy. It’s not your fault.

Carrie Manley
Palo Alto, Calif., March 24, 2008

To the Editor:

The fortunate thing for Billy Wolfe is that he has supportive parents who are showing him acceptable ways of fighting back. The tragedy is that there are far too many kids in similar situations who, for one reason or another, can’t turn to their parents.

As a former teacher in the New York City school system, I know how reluctant school officials often are to take definitive action in such circumstances. Yet, when a victim explodes or acts out in unacceptable ways, these same officials are shocked and indignant.

Why can’t the bullies who make Billy’s life miserable every day be suspended from school until they learn that intimidating and tormenting their peers will not be tolerated?

Kathleen Crisci
New York, March 24, 2008

To the Editor:

My heart goes out to Billy Wolfe. Not only has he been victimized by the bullies and the administrators who failed to resolve the problems but also by his parents. What kind of parents would repeatedly send their child to the horror that his school has become for him?

The large file on the repeated assaults they have collected is cold comfort to the child they have abandoned to bullies and incompetent school officials. Children deserve better from their parents.

Barbara Lukes
Marietta, Ga., March 24, 2008

To the Editor:

As the mother of a gay son who was mercilessly bullied throughout his school years, I feel for Billy Wolfe. He is lucky, though, to have the advocacy of his parents.

While the reasons for singling out Billy are not clear, it’s gay kids who are disproportionately targets of bullies, and this minority does not have unequivocal family support. Often it comes down to abuse at school, abuse on the playground and then disgrace at home, which is why these kids have a 30 percent higher suicide rate.

Marlene Fanta Shyer
New York, March 24, 2008

The writer is the co-author of a memoir about her gay son.

To the Editor:

Your article evoked painful memories. I responded to bullying as an adolescent by working out with weights and taking karate lessons. I continue to exercise regularly, and am probably healthier as a result. Nevertheless, what I experienced when I was Billy Wolfe’s age left emotional wounds I continue to feel.

John Engelman
Wilmington, Del., March 25, 2008


3 responses to “Readers Respond to Billy Wolfe Article

  1. It certainly has struck a chord. Do a blog search of keywords “Billy”, “Wolfe” and “bully” and read more about what everyone is talking about.

  2. How can children be so cruel? I know it has been so for a long time. I was bullied at school back in the 1950s. It still makes me want to cry when I recall how it felt to be laughed at and teased and have things in my desk ruined with ink. I will never know why this one boy hated me so much and got other kids to join in his taunts.

  3. Hope Billy becomes famous movie star. He is cute

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s