There is a sharp disconnect between two prank stories this morning. When Tyrell Morton put an inflatable girl
in the girl’s bathroom at his high school, he ended up with a felony
charge and a potential jail sentence of eight years. However, when
three eighth-grade girls from Dunbar Middle school in Florida tackled an
11-year-old boy and stripped him naked (and proceeded to videotape him
and taunt him), they were let go as a simple prank in bad taste.
In the video, the girls stop the boy to chat and then hold him down, strip him naked, and mock him. The video was put on YouTube. (It has since been taken down)
The boy is a fifth grader at Ray Pottorf Elementary. One girl faced a
single misdemeanor battery charges, but it was abandoned when the boy’s
mother has refused to press charges. I commend her for her restraint,
but I wonder what the charge would be if a group of boys attacked and
stripped a girl in public, videotaped her, and mocked her.
I tend to disfavor criminal charges in such cases. However, it seems
clear that the girls should be expelled and subject to the most severe
forms of school punishment. What I find interesting, however, is the
sharply different treatment given such acts by boys as opposed to girls.
Indeed, I doubt seriously this would have even confined to a
misdemeanor if the genders were reversed or that, with the existence of
the videotape, the failure to press charges would be determinative. If
the police witness or have evidence of a felony, they do not necessarily
require the consent of the victim.