With bullying awareness on the rise in our nation, many students and families are trying to take a stand. A young student at South Fayette High School finally had enough when he decided to record bullying incidents directed at him during class. Using an iPad, the boy made an audio recording of the attacks to use as evidence in his case. The 15-year old boy alleged that he had been harassed daily for several months before finally making the iPad recording. Shea Love, the boy’s mother, told reporters that “they were calling him some really bad names, talking about pulling his pants down” (WPXI, 2014). Despite these allegations, the young boy who made the recordings was eventually charged with disorderly conduct, had to pay fines, and was forced to delete the recording. In response to these charges from South Fayette District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet, the family hired an attorney and they are filing a civil suit.
At the time of the incident, district officials were called to the scene and questioned the boy before eventually forcing him to erase the recording. Based on a transcript from the March 19th court hearing, the younger Love stated in court that he made the recording “because I always felt like it wasn’t me being heard…I wanted some help…This wasn’t a one-time thing. This always happens every day in that class” (Brandolph, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2014). When South Fayette High School’s principal Scott Milburn heard about the recording, he contacted police to report a potential “wiretapping incident,” and police officer, Robert Kurta, responded to the call. Kurta did not believe that the case justified a felony wiretapping charge, but that Love had indeed committed a crime (Brandolph, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2014).
Details of their civil suit include Ms. Love’s questions about “why school officials contacted police to discuss a possible violation of wiretap laws but refused to confront the students whose voices she says were captured on an iPad tormenting her son” (Brandolph, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2014). By filing this suit, the Love’s hope to obtain a reversal of the disorderly conduct charges and an apology from the school district. Neither the police nor the school board members were available for comment at this time, and Ms. Love requested that her son’s identity be kept private “out of fear of retribution” (Brandolph, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2014). As more details about the case unfold, the judge will determine whether or not Love experienced bullying that warranted his actions. The final hearing is scheduled for April 29.