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April 24, 2008 6:13 PM   Subscribe

School bully arrested for spiking allergic classmate's lunchbox with peanut butter cookie crumbs
posted by ericbop (127 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I agree, this hot button issue must be tried as an adult.
posted by NoMich at 6:18 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, this is HORRIBLE. The Sex Pistols lunchbox comes with a thermos, but the Ramones one does not.

Will they never get the respect they deserve!?!
posted by yhbc at 6:19 PM on April 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


If the allegation is true, the bully should have been charged with attempted murder. Peanut allergies are very serious, and very deadly, despite the hurf-durfing they sometimes receive by the general public. This has nothing to do with "a gap in allergy education," as the article suggests. The bully knew the other kid was allergic, and he chose to contaminate the lunchbox. My son is allergic to peanuts, among other things, and had several anaphylactic episodes before he was finally accurately diagnosed. Even though he's homeschooled now, he was in a public elementary school and maintains a large circle of friends who ALL know about his allergies. It didn't take any kind of specialized "education" for the friends to understand. One sentence is enough: "If I come in contact with peanuts, I could die"... The bully in the article knew exactly what he was doing.
posted by amyms at 6:25 PM on April 24, 2008 [32 favorites]


the kid must be a fan of "Freaks and Geeks"
posted by matt_od at 6:25 PM on April 24, 2008


In the bully's defense, what self-respecting eighth grader wouldn't pick on a classmate that still looked about three years old?
posted by dgaicun at 6:31 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


If the allegation is true, the bully should have been charged with attempted murder.

Well, to commit attempted murder, one must, you know, attempt to murder someone. There's no indication that the crumbs were placed in order to kill the victim.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:32 PM on April 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


So much for the protective power of lunchboxes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:34 PM on April 24, 2008


"We hear these stories all the time," said Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder and CEO of the Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Network. "The child is called peanut-kid, or the classmates wait outside the classroom and chase them with peanut butter sandwiches."

I call BS. Seriously, chase them with peanut butter sandwiches? Oh, and this will not end well. MeFi does not do peanut allergy well.
posted by fixedgear at 6:35 PM on April 24, 2008


There's no indication that the crumbs were placed in order to kill the victim.

Then what, pray tell, was he attempting to do, Mr. President? If you're going to say "Oh, the poor little innocent bully had no idea that contact with peanuts could kill or seriously harm the victim," then you're being disingenuous.
posted by amyms at 6:37 PM on April 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


Everyone's gone nuts.
posted by everichon at 6:37 PM on April 24, 2008 [12 favorites]


MeFi doesn't do school bullies well either...
posted by HuronBob at 6:38 PM on April 24, 2008


Then what, pray tell, was he attempting to do, Mr. President? If you're going to say "Oh, the poor little innocent bully had no idea that contact with peanuts could kill or seriously harm the victim," then you're being disingenuous.

He was trying to induce an allergic reaction, I would guess. I'm sure he was aware that the allergic reaction could cause injury or death.

This isn't the same as attempting to murder someone, though. Sorry.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:39 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


And, for what it's worth, I agree with fixedgear that reports of bullying of kids with peanut allergies are probably not as wide-spread as they are purported to be. My son was never bullied about his allergies. All of his friends are very careful around him, even protective at times.
posted by amyms at 6:40 PM on April 24, 2008


He was trying to induce an allergic reaction, I would guess. I'm sure he was aware that the allergic reaction could cause injury or death.

If that's not attempted murder, Mr. President, then what is it?
posted by amyms at 6:44 PM on April 24, 2008


So, a couple years back, I'm working on a show with some students.

A parent has volunteered to bring dinners. Since we knew one of the boys had a peanut allergy, great care was taken to get food that was peanut free.

For desert, the parent had bought a box of those white powdered donuts.

Well, our boy with the allergy had a donut.

Within 10 minutes, his face was visibly swollen. We called the school nurse (who had one of those 'allergy pen" things on hand - and who called 911) his family and frantically tried to find out what the source of the peanut might be. By the time the nurse got there (which couldn't have been more than 15 minutes after he'd eaten the donut) his face was so swollen that he almost looked deformed. He was red all over. He was having difficulty breathing.

She administered the shot and before the ambulance or his family arrived, he was breathing easy again, though he had the shakes and was still looking like his face had been stung by a swarm of bees.

The donuts apparently had some incidental contact with some peanut products. This was not mentioned on the ingredient list or, for that matter, anywhere on the box.

"Well, there's another thing I can't ever eat again," he joked when he came back the next day.

Anyhow, yeah, peanut allergies scare the living bejebus out of me. It was about the most helpless I've ever felt as a teacher in my life. So, yeah, basically, doing that to somebody deliberately? That it some level of assault.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:44 PM on April 24, 2008 [11 favorites]


Nah, no cause for an attempted murder charge. I agree this was a heinous and disgusting act, but an attempted murder charge would usually be reserved for something like an assault with intent to kill. Offhand, I don't think an attempt to induce an allergic reaction falls under intent to kill.

The article mention felony charges so I assume the 13-year old was waived to adult court, although I don't know the age and charge needed for a statutorial waiver in Kentucky. If he is, I'm sure the odds are good he'll get a long sentence.
posted by puke & cry at 6:45 PM on April 24, 2008


That's a great link, everichon - that Harper's annotation perfectly dissects the food allergy hysteria. I loved the bit countering the "TEEN DIES AFTER KISSING FRIEND WHO'D EATEN PEANUTS" lie. It's a shame rare incidents like this bullying - assuming the facts bear out the initial reporting, that is - play into the allergy hysterics.

Btw, couldn't help notice from the first link:

"One of the tenants of managing an allergy...

Yeesh. Someone at ABC News needs a vocabulary lesson.
posted by mediareport at 6:45 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


That stock photo of the presumably allergic kid frowning is awesome. I would frown, too, if I were haunted by giant, hovering peanuts.
posted by everichon at 6:47 PM on April 24, 2008 [13 favorites]


mediareport: was just coming here to say the same thing.

No doubt if the kid had died, it would have made for a grizzly discovery.
posted by scody at 6:48 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm going to bow out of the thread for now, because I can feel myself getting too emotionally involved in the conversation. I will say that my son's allergic condition has been met with overwhelming acceptance and cooperation from everyone we've encountered in our personal and public lives. But bullies and hurf-durfers make me go into Mama Tiger mode.

If anyone has any comments, or questions, to direct toward me based on my comments here, please feel free to do so by MeMail.
posted by amyms at 6:50 PM on April 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


..the classmates wait outside the classroom and chase them with peanut butter sandwiches

Uh uh. And after they chase allergic kids with sandwiches they go "collar" someone who's wearing a green polo shirt, and have amazing teenaged sexcapades.

It's obviously a good thing to have more people aware of the dangers of serious food allergies, but repeating unsubstantiated stories that reek of urban legend doesn't help your credibility at all, and probably helps to fuel the sorts of accusations made in the Harper's article (namely, that the hysteria surrounding food allergies is not commensurate with the actual danger).
posted by stefanie at 6:50 PM on April 24, 2008


I agree, this hot button issue must be tried as an adult.

Yes, I too know very little of the facts, and I too think that he should be tried as an adult, found guilty and executed- and we should be able to watch.

Trying a thirteen year old as an adult is pathetic.
posted by mattoxic at 6:51 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


If that's not attempted murder, Mr. President, then what is it?

Come on, you know what "attempt" means. A person "attempts" to murder a victim when that person 1) intends to murder the victim, and 2) takes action in furtherance of murdering the victim.

Mere awareness that a particular result is a possible consequence of one's actions doesn't mean that one is "attempting" to bring about that result. When you drove home today, you knew you could've run over a cat, but you weren't "attempting" to kill cats.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:53 PM on April 24, 2008


Trying a thirteen year old as an adult is pathetic.

See also.
posted by everichon at 6:55 PM on April 24, 2008


Just to clarify, I don't mean to imply that people with food allergies are hysterical. I just don't think that a "kids get chased with sandwiches" tale is the best way to be taken seriously about the dangers of food allergies.
posted by stefanie at 6:59 PM on April 24, 2008


Yeah, the whole trying kids as adults thing is one of the more controversial topics in criminal justice. I would say calling it pathetic is a reach though considering some of the horrible things minors can do. It's a sad situation no matter what, though. But fear not, mattoxic. No one under 18 can be executed.
posted by puke & cry at 7:00 PM on April 24, 2008


This is the first time I've seen a MetaFilter post that vaguely reminded me of an episode of CSI. It's usually the other way around (furries, pickup artists, etc.).
posted by jack_mo at 7:02 PM on April 24, 2008


i would totally believe that kids would chase around kids with peanut butter sandwiches... Not in any serious attempt to harm, but only because the victim reacted emotionally to it and they felt like fucking with him.
posted by empath at 7:04 PM on April 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


When you drove home today, you knew you could've run over a cat, but you weren't "attempting" to kill cats.

More like, you knew when you drove through the catnip fields, you knew you could've run over a cat, but you weren't "attempting" to kill cats.

I think the kid did it on purpose. On the other hand, and while I'm no psychologist, I recall adolescents and even teens not having the same realization and understanding - true understanding of the finality of death. So yeah, the kid did it and intended harm, but as kids many don't really get that it could kill the kid, as in kid is completely gone from the earth, never to return.

But that cat thing isn't even close. The kid did it on purpose, clearly. He ought to face severe punishment, but obviously not years in jail.
posted by cashman at 7:08 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously not cool kid. A murder charge might be excessive, but let's arrange a swift kick in the ass for this little prick.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:09 PM on April 24, 2008


But that cat thing isn't even close. The kid did it on purpose, clearly. He ought to face severe punishment, but obviously not years in jail.

Of course he did it on purpose. Nobody is arguing about that. The issue is whether it's attempted murder merely to do something on purpose that might kill someone, if one doesn't intend to kill someone. I think the answer is pretty clearly no.

For a large enough value of "might," an intent to kill can be imputed (e.g. pointing a loaded gun at someone and pulling the trigger), but I don't think this is such a case.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:17 PM on April 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


This post is idiotic. No, really: its stupid. Fark-level stupid.

A link to a lunchbox site and a cookie recipe and a lame Jimmy Carter joke? Seriously? What's your point?
posted by googly at 7:22 PM on April 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Another admirable show of compassion from Dr. Steve.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:22 PM on April 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'm sure he was aware that the allergic reaction could cause injury or death.

This isn't the same as attempting to murder someone, though. Sorry.


How's about attempted manslaughter?
posted by brevator at 7:23 PM on April 24, 2008


Another admirable show of compassion from Dr. Steve.

Does compassion require that we clamor for unjustified criminal charges? If it does, yes, I lack compassion.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:25 PM on April 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


Ok, I'm gonna shut up now and let Dr. Steve hang himself.
posted by puke & cry at 7:26 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


That stock photo of the presumably allergic kid frowning is awesome.

Actually, considering that the kid in the picture looks about five and the perpetrator and victim were more like thirteen, that stock photo smacks of journalistic tomfoolery. Is it supposed to crank up the compassion in all readers not named Dr Steve?
posted by rokusan at 7:31 PM on April 24, 2008


How's about attempted manslaughter?

That's basically what he was charged with, wasn't it?

I don't think "attempted involuntary manslaughter" can usually be crime, since involuntary manslaughter doesn't require an intent to kill, but attempt does require an intent to commit the underlying crime. How one can intend to do something that doesn't require intent is a bit of a mystery.

Kentucky's "wanton endangerment," which he was charged with, is basically involuntary manslaughter minus the death, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:36 PM on April 24, 2008


Oh my sweet Jesus Christ will the amateur lawyers on this thread please, please, please stop already. Oi gewalt!
posted by facetious at 7:39 PM on April 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I would not say MPDSEA lacks compassion based solely on what he has written in this thread, but it does match an ongoing pattern. He may be filtering an attempt at fair play through a horrendously legalistic filter, based on a by-the-book reading of law. Or be reacting like an adversarial lawyer, with a belief that everyone deserves defending. Or he may just save all his compassion for bullies, since that is, in our society at-large, not only safer but frequently profitable.

Anyway, I'd just like to thank everyone in this thread so far for NOT mentioning "assaulted peanut"...
posted by wendell at 7:50 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Many states have specific "anti-poisoning" statutes, which would be an ideal fit for this. It's not as difficult to prove as attempted murder, but the penalties are almost as strict.

Here's Michigan's (first one I could easily find, not sure if that deeplink will work).
A person shall not do either of the following:

Willfully mingle a poison or harmful substance with a food, drink, nonprescription medicine, or pharmaceutical product, or willfully place a poison or harmful substance in a spring, well, reservoir, or public water supply, knowing or having reason to know that the food, drink, nonprescription medicine, pharmaceutical product, or water may be ingested or used by a person to his or her injury. […] A person who violates subsection (1)(a) is guilty of a crime as follows:

Except as provided in subdivisions (b) to (e), the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.
It jumps up to 20 years max if there's any property damage, 25 if there's any injury at all, and life without parole if there's death or severe injury as a result. Attempted murder, by contrast, has no maximum penalty in the statute, although I assume there's some sort of judicial sentencing guideline in use.

I looked up a few other states just for fun (e.g. here's Virginia's) and they vary a little on whether "intent to harm" is required, or merely "knowing or having reason to know" that it might be ingested. Penalties are in the 10-20 year range, maximum.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


He may be filtering an attempt at fair play through a horrendously legalistic filter, based on a by-the-book reading of law.

In fairness, "the bully should have been charged with attempted murder" does invite a legalistic response.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:00 PM on April 24, 2008


It was a foolish and dangerous thing to do, kids do foolish and dangerous things. It's because they have not developed significant reasoning to fully understand the ramifcations of their actions.

They get angry, and hit out, rather like the feeble minded amongst us that believe justice equals revenge, and that it's somehow OK to submit a child to the torment of the Kentucky criminal justice system. What good will come of it? What will the child lern? That the system sucks? Everyone is out to get him? The anaphylactic kid deserved it?

The ABC story is terrible, and typical tabloid garbage. Who says the "perp" is a bully? A sub editor?

Bad post- newsfilter with lunchbox link
posted by mattoxic at 8:01 PM on April 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


He was trying to induce an allergic reaction, I would guess. I'm sure he was aware that the allergic reaction could cause injury or death.

This isn't the same as attempting to murder someone, though. Sorry.


Thirty seconds of research brings up cases like Shaw v. State, 771 N.E.2d 85 (Ind. App. 2002), where a defendant attempted to murder the victim by inducing allergic reactions and other forms of poison. Unclear why you think that intentionally inducing a potentially lethal allergic reaction is any different from arsenic.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just wanted to chime in that kids would totally chase another kid with sandwiches, just to mock him. That's what kids do.

When I was in fifth grade, my small group of friends randomly decided I was out of the group. I had nothing to do at lunch anymore but hang around by myself at a distance and look glum, hoping they'd invite me back. Instead they made fun of me for moping, and decided it would be fun to follow me around everywhere chanting a la the guards in The Wizard of Oz: "Mo-EE-ope... MO-ope!" I couldn't show up anywhere on the playground for fear of attracting this attention, so I started volunteering during my lunch break to help the special education class. All my teachers thought I was so sweet for helping out, but as soon as my friends allowed me back in the circle a couple months later, I of course resumed lunchtime play without a second thought.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:09 PM on April 24, 2008


Thirty seconds of research brings up cases like Shaw v. State, 771 N.E.2d 85 (Ind. App. 2002), where a defendant attempted to murder the victim by inducing allergic reactions and other forms of poison.

I don't think I understand. Of course someone could attempt murder by inducing a potentially-lethal allergic reaction--I certainly didn't mean to imply otherwise. This doesn't mean that every induced, potentially-lethal allergic reaction is an attempted murder, though.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 8:14 PM on April 24, 2008


The bully should be tried for attempted murder, because an allergic reaction can kill, and the bully attempted to induce an allergic reaction.

Much like shooting someone can lead to an attempted murder charge, even though where the bullet travels can affect lethality.

A judge can determine maliciousness and change the degree of the charges, but the charge of attempted murder should be leveled anyway, just as it would with anyone else who attempts to seriously hurt someone else to the point of causing death.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:29 PM on April 24, 2008


Anyway, I'd just like to thank everyone in this thread so far for NOT mentioning "assaulted peanut"...
posted by wendell at 7:50 PM on April 24 [1 favorite +] [!]


And thus this thread did wendell.
posted by Zinger at 8:33 PM on April 24, 2008


New advances in grade school bullying. Coming up after sports.

The bully should be tried for attempted murder, because an allergic reaction can kill, and the bully attempted to induce an allergic reaction.

In the old days they just tried to kill you by punching you until you stopped breathing.

Does bullying suck? Yes. Is grade school bullying really national news? No.
posted by GuyZero at 8:34 PM on April 24, 2008


"attempted manslaughter" dosn't even make sense. I mean, manslaughter means killing someone by accident, and you can't intentionally have an accident.

If one adult did this to another, I could see a homicide charge. But it wasn't an adult. I could easily see a child not really understand that peanut butter cookies could really kill someone. Which is why I simply don't think the kid should be tried as an adult.

I don't think there would be any disagreement if one of the teachers was caught doing this. Everyone would be calling for their head. But the poisoner was only 13.
posted by delmoi at 8:39 PM on April 24, 2008


I would not say MPDSEA lacks compassion based solely on what he has written in this thread, but it does match an ongoing pattern. He may be filtering an attempt at fair play through a horrendously legalistic filter, based on a by-the-book reading of law. Or be reacting like an adversarial lawyer, with a belief that everyone deserves defending. Or he may just save all his compassion for bullies, since that is, in our society at-large, not only safer but frequently profitable. -- wendell

Wendell, are you saying "throw the 13 year old into a Kentucky prison for 20 years even though no one was actually harmed" is the compassionate position? If you ask me, MPDSEA has taken a rare compassionate position, while the people calling for this kid's head are the ones who who are acting out in a vengeful and irrational manner.
posted by delmoi at 8:43 PM on April 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


...while the people calling for this kid's head are the ones who who are acting out in a vengeful and irrational manner.

What about the victim? And why is the assumption that the child must be tried as an adult? You can be under 18 and still tried with attempted murder, without being tried as an adult. That doesn't really enter into this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:54 PM on April 24, 2008


I'm not sure why this is so complicated; the bully almost certainly didn't intend for the victim to actually die, ergo he didn't attempt to murder him. It is about intent. Reckless endangerment, sure.

"A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person"

Isn't that pretty much what we're talking about? Why the fixation on the word "murder"?
posted by Justinian at 9:08 PM on April 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I agree with googly somewhat on the point "A link to a lunchbox site and a cookie recipe and a lame Jimmy Carter joke?", but

a) thought the inclusion of relevant nonsense funny

and

b) am intrigued by the fall-out of discussions, i.e., how you define premeditation and the extent to which age/maturity/mental state/what-have-you has anything to do with defining it.

I see the perpetrator's actions as clearly premeditated, but how seriously he perceives death and the real consequences of his actions? Pretty child-like and not deserving of an attempted murder charge, imo.

The questions are, I guess, how is punishment dealt with in this case, and is this really a *real* issue?
posted by waitangi at 9:16 PM on April 24, 2008


What about the victim?

Intended victim, right? No actual human beings came to any tangible harm here, right?
posted by mr_roboto at 9:38 PM on April 24, 2008


the people calling for this kid's head are the ones who who are acting out in a vengeful and irrational manner.

The bully did something he had every reason to suspect would cause a child's death in an extremely painful and unpleasant manner. It wasn't in the heat of anger, it was premeditated.

I'm curious as to what people here think is an appropriate punishment for this sort of activity. I personally feel that the bully needs at least a criminal record to make sure that he never, ever, ever ends up in law enforcement, if nothing else.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:48 PM on April 24, 2008


Frankly, there's so little data in the article that theorizing is a waste of time... was anyone able to find a more complete article?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:58 PM on April 24, 2008


For once in my MetaFilter life I find myself agreeing with the evil and villainous blackguard Dr. Steve Elvis Deepfried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. The kid should not be tried for attempted murder, because he is thirteen years old and probably didn't understand the implications of what he was doing. Then again, most adults who commit assault and murder probably have the mental competence of a thirteen-year-old; if most adult offenders were any smarter, they would think of a better solution to their problems
posted by KokuRyu at 10:06 PM on April 24, 2008


I personally feel that the bully needs at least a criminal record to make sure that he never, ever, ever ends up in law enforcement, if nothing else.

I wouldn't worry about that. Even the lowest levels of law enforcement require an associates degree. Kids like this act the way they do because they get the shit kicked out of them at home by some alcoholic loser father. They go on to be hot shit in high school, then barely graduate with no skills, marry the girl they met in 2nd period algebra, and bounce from Jiffy Lube to Circle K to Wal-Mart, changing the oil and ringing up the cigarettes of all the faggots and freaks and queers who went to university or at least have some marketable skill. They stay forever in their crappy hometown, drinking Natural Light with their idiot friends who also never did anything with their lives. They pop out 2 or 3 waterhead kids before age 25, and the cycle continues. I've seen it happen. School bullies usually have revenge taken on them by their own miserable lives.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:11 PM on April 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Anyone remember Robert Heinlein's arguments for corporeal punishment in Starship Troopers? This case sounds like a perfect example for it. Putting a 13 year old in prison for 15 years is outrageous; beating the snot out of him sounds much more reasonable.

Given that our legal system doesn't administer canings, public humiliation might be a viable recourse.
posted by Loudmax at 10:18 PM on April 24, 2008


I just wanted to pop in and say that my daughter has begun having reactions to peanut products such that her "tongue hurts", and her pediatrician says this is often the first sign of a developing peanut allergy, and if my daughter develops severe reactions to peanuts and a kid at school purposely puts peanut products in her lunch, I am going to grab that kid by the hair and toss him or her into a bush, and fuck-all the consequences.

Just sayin'.
posted by davejay at 10:19 PM on April 24, 2008


Let's not punish the bully appropriately. In fact, let's just keep looking the other way. Obviously that would work better for everyone involved.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:23 PM on April 24, 2008


I agree with those saying that the bully probably didn't fully understand what he was doing, because death is not real to a thirteen-year-old. Have you guys been in a classroom? Kids are unbelievably cruel. They have poor impulse control, an undeveloped sense of empathy, and don't appreciate that their actions have consequences. This kid is an asshole but he's not a cold-blooded murderer. Similarly, if he'd stuck a fork in an electrical socket, I'd say he was dumb, not that he was attempting suicide.

Someone mentioned Freaks & Geeks, which had an episode with this exact story. It's really well done - I recommend that those condemning the bully wholesale track it down (watch the whole series while you're at it. It's a great show.). YouTube clip.
posted by granted at 10:38 PM on April 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Childhood Allergies are soooo Stuff White People Like.

Yet another point of distinction to absorb into your child's 'identity', administered through nagging, supported by the health insurance that comes with your white-collar job.
posted by blasdelf at 10:46 PM on April 24, 2008


Wow, never mind, that YouTube clip has almost the whole storyline.
posted by granted at 10:48 PM on April 24, 2008


lupus_yonderboy: The bully did something he had every reason to suspect would cause a child's death in an extremely painful and unpleasant manner.

A 13 year old does not have the advanced medical knowledge to know that anaphylaxis can cause death. This is probably before he even started taking health class and maybe even before biology.. Sure, maybe someone told him at some point, but a kid might have easy disbelieved it - it sounds pretty implausible if you don't know it's true.

It is absolutely ridiculous to charge this kid as an adult. Just expel him or something.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:07 PM on April 24, 2008


Childhood Allergies are soooo Stuff White People Like.

Yet another point of distinction to absorb into your child's 'identity', administered through nagging, supported by the health insurance that comes with your white-collar job.


"Stuff White People Like" is very "Stuff White People Like", that is, moronic misanthrope posing as ironic hipster. There is sometimes a reason why kids are bullied in school, and snotty, passive aggressive holier than thou attitudes are one reason why.

And, obviously, you have never had a serious allergy, or a child who does.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:08 PM on April 24, 2008


Trying to kill your classmate with a peanut allergy?

That's a paddling.
posted by Bonzai at 11:23 PM on April 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Stuff White People Like" is absolutely "Stuff White People Like", I'm glad we agree! If he ever makes a 'final' post I imagine that's what it'll be.

If overwhite parenting inspires "snotty, passive aggressive holier than thou attitudes" in your children about their attitudes, then it definitely will contribute to the gestalt of why.

My younger sister had peanut and egg allergies as a baby, the egg ones were rather severe when she got an immunization shot containing egg whites when she was a few months old. She had probably grown out of them by the time she was two, though it wasn't verified until she was three or four.

My point is that privileged parents† love making a huge deal out of this shit.

don't forget Epi-Pen manufacturers!
posted by blasdelf at 11:24 PM on April 24, 2008


I'm surprised no one has linked to this MeFi thread.

The Harper's article referenced in that thread is well worth the read.
posted by webhund at 11:28 PM on April 24, 2008


I fully agree with the others that believe the appropriate punishment to be caning/pillory/paddlin', public shame, and a healthy dose of role-reversal:

SCENE: IT IS ABOUT NOON, AND STUDENTS
ARE MINGLING AROUND THEIR LOCKERS
BEFORE PROCEEDING TO LUNCH/RECESS

FORMER 'ASSAILANT' ENTERS STAGE LEFT

Crowd: Hey look it's the peanut-poisoner!

ENCIRCLEMENT ENSUES

PRODDING PROCEEDS

MOCKERY MANIFESTS
posted by blasdelf at 11:30 PM on April 24, 2008


Actually mediareport, that "TEEN DIES AFTER KISSING FRIEND WHO'D EATEN PEANUTS" 'lie' doesn't have to be one. I have a friend (no, for real, not an urban legend) who hooked up with her current boyfriend this way. Their first date story is a fantastic disaster, they met at a dinner party where other couples were trying to match them up, she was so nervous she kept eating peanut-chips and later when he walked her home, they shared a kiss that turned into a snog on her front step. She tried to talk him into talking a taxi home, because waiting for the subway would take so long but he kept saying that it was no trouble. While they're talking about this, his lips start swelling up and turning an off color and he became short of breath.... Long story short, by the time she got him (in a taxi) to the hospital he was unconscious and the staff thought she was his wife so they kept having "serious" talks with her about not eating peanut anything due to the risks she exposed her husband to and how irresponsible she had been since she must know what could happen etc. She waited there until the next morning when he finally woke up and asked her on a proper date.
posted by dabitch at 12:50 AM on April 25, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'm just glad that MeFi's Own pb is away at ROFLCON and not able to see this...

There are two absolutely awful trends affecting our kids these days; the "zero-tolerance/zero-judgment" policies over everything at school and escalating bullying which officials don't deal with until it is life-threatening. How those two can happen simultaneously is a mystery to me; most likely one is the dominant theme at some schools/neighborhoods and the other elsewhere. Then again we might remind ourselves that there are one or two nationally highlighted horror stories a week in a nation of how many MILLION kids?

I grew up allergic to peanuts (but not as severely as most allergic kids today) AND a frequent victim of bullies and yet, my bullies never used peanuts or peanut butter as a weapon against me. Why not? It would've been more effective at intimidating me as most of the things they did (and I once sustained a broken arm from a bully knocking me down on a concrete playground). More than what's "fair punishment" for assault by peanut (sorrysorry), that's the real question.
posted by wendell at 12:50 AM on April 25, 2008


Hey, who is to say that that bully doesn't grow up to be a good man and citizen? I know that I was cruel at 13 (in part because of the cruelty placed on me). I'm not saying look the other way, but let's not ruin a kid's life if it can be salvaged. I think 13 is a bit early to run him out of town and destroy any chance of his societal redemption.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:00 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, you guys are making a whole lot of assumptions about this case with very little information. The word "bully" is very misleading here. At no point in this story does anyone use the word "bully" in connection with the actual case being discussed. A generic expert nowhere near the actual story uses it while speaking about the topic in general. In fact, the story may have gotten the gender of the attacker wrong. This story says it was a girl. So, let's put away the hot pitch and feathers until a story with more than two facts is published.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:09 AM on April 25, 2008


I agree with those saying that the bully probably didn't fully understand what he was doing, because death is not real to a thirteen-year-old.

I don't buy it. Yeah, maybe in the sense that death is unreal to everybody except some sub-segment of the population that deals with it professionally (or, to a lesser extent, those of use who've had someone close to us die). But while there's a lot of development left to happen and it's fair to say a 13 year old is not an adult, most 13 year olds have apprehended the concept -- if not the visceral first-hand experience -- that Death is not-comin'-back, the-end, no-resuscitation stuff. So it's one thing to say that fucking around with someone else's life should be dealt with differently for that age than it would be for a post-adolescent, but it's not acceptable to give them a "maybe they didn't understand what death is" pass.

And there's no reason the kid shouldn't be exposed to an attempted murder charge. Sure, it's possiblehe didn't mean it, didn't understand. It's also possible he did. For that reason alone, I don't have a single problem with that charge not only being brought up here on MetaFilter, but for there to actually be some kind of trial to determine if the criteria for the charge are met, along with the more likely charges of wanton endangerment.

The place for leniency to kids is in the sentencing, not the charges.
posted by namespan at 1:11 AM on April 25, 2008


My point is that privileged parents love making a huge deal out of this shit.

Right on. My bullies used fists and sticks and one even came at me with a knife. And me being terribly allergic to a steel blade in the abdomen.

My unpriviliged parents' response: "fight back and learn to defend yourself, you wuss." Best advice I ever received.

Motherfucker put nuts in my lunchbox, I'd be lying in wait for him on the way home from school the next day with a brick in my hand. That's the ONLY WAY to stop being bullied.
posted by three blind mice at 1:25 AM on April 25, 2008


It was a girl ? BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
posted by Pendragon at 1:25 AM on April 25, 2008


This is just more proof that we need to find a cure for childhood.
posted by troybob at 1:26 AM on April 25, 2008


I don't mean to be all Lord of the Flies, but if it happened to me, my brothers would have kicked cookie-spiker's ass before 6th period came around. I would have kept my mouth shut, my brothers would say nothing and cookie-spiker would lie to his parents about the cuts and bruises. Back then, kids knew that adult involvement - whether as antagonist or advocate - just lead to bigger trouble.
posted by klarck at 1:48 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


You people have a real disdain for dynamic range, don't you? Perhaps you should stick to radio...
posted by ryanrs at 2:29 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


But while there's a lot of development left to happen and it's fair to say a 13 year old is not an adult, most 13 year olds have apprehended the concept -- if not the visceral first-hand experience -- that Death is not-comin'-back, the-end, no-resuscitation stuff.

Dude, thirteen-year-olds are not competent to make life-and-death decisions. That's why they're not allowed to drive a car or join the army.


And there's no reason the kid shouldn't be exposed to an attempted murder charge.

Because the kid is sure to understand the criminal justice system, is that it? Or do you just want to bankrupt his family?
posted by ryanrs at 3:06 AM on April 25, 2008


I just find it ironic that the same society that stifles and worships children to the extent that an organisation like free-range kids is necessary can simultaneously clamour for trying kids as adults. I even get the impression that it's the same elements of that society that are responsible for these contradictory movements. My kid is too precious to understand and deal with the hazards of walking to school on his own, but your kid is a society-endangering malevolent criminal mastermind who needs long term incarceration with hardened convicts.

The media needs to tone down the hysteria that's omni-present any time there's a real or imagined issue with child welfare.
posted by Jakey at 3:22 AM on April 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


From wikipedia Lawschool:
Recklessness

Recklessness or willful blindness is defined as a wanton disregard for the known dangers of a particular situation. An example of this would be a defendant throwing a brick off a bridge into vehicular traffic below. There exists no intent to kill; consequently, a resulting death may not be considered murder. However, the conduct is probably reckless, sometimes used interchangeably with criminally negligent, which may subject the principal to prosecution for involuntary manslaughter: the individual was aware of the risk of injury to others and willfully disregarded it.

In many jurisdictions, such as in California, if the unintentional conduct amounts to such gross negligence as to amount to a willful or depraved indifference to human life, the mens rea may be considered to constitute malice. In such a case, the charged offense may be murder, often characterized as second degree murder.
So it could be murder, especially seeing as the action was tailor-made toward a particular weakness of the victim . IANAL, though and bring it up merely to annoy Dr S.
posted by Sparx at 4:03 AM on April 25, 2008


Yeah, that's some serious allergy. A coworker got all red and stuffy in my office once, "there must be peanuts in here." Sure enough, an open can on the back of the top shelf. He barely survived tasting a satay skewer at an opening.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:16 AM on April 25, 2008


Man US mefites sure like them some revenge
posted by bonaldi at 5:12 AM on April 25, 2008


I highly doubt that the bully knew the gravity of what he was about to do. He prolly thought "tehe I can make his face swell up and he'll look like a turd!" Charging him with attempted murder is stupid. Suspension and expelling him... Maybe. Also there was a comment about the kid looking like a 3 year old and being an easy target... Not (smirk) nice (HEHE)
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:22 AM on April 25, 2008


The reason kids haven't developed a sense of ramifications is because their parents don't let any happen to them. You've got to let your kids burn their fingers, dammit.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:26 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the bully's defense, what self-respecting eighth grader wouldn't pick on a classmate that still looked about three years old?
posted by dgaicun at 9:31 PM on April 24 [1 favorite +] [!]


Are you kidding, that kid can levitate and crush giant peanuts with his mind! The other students were doing the right thing in trying to destroy him (using his one weakness) before he could get more psychokinetic power!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:29 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


dabitch, that's a horrifying story (until the romantic end), but the Harper's piece notes "there is simply no evidence that a food allergen can do serious harm if not ingested." Perhaps there was something else at work in the food he ate previously; we don't know for sure it was peanut breath while snogging that almost did the boyfriend in. At least one doctor quoted in the Harper's piece says he "occasionally has to spread peanut butter on a patient's arm to demonstrate to parents that their child won't die from casual contact with a nut."

But even if we take your story at face value, I think the Harper's critique still stands: the hysteria gets front-page news and yields propaganda value to groups like FAAN, but the news that the girl actually died from an asthmatic reaction to smoking pot doesn't. And the real damning info in the Annotations piece is about the numbers, and the bogus research FAAN and its supporters create and then cite. That kind of behavior is always a warning sign. FAAN appears to be routinely exaggerating the number of incidents of hospitalization, let alone death, from allergies - instead of its figure of 150-200 deaths a year, that piece notes the CDC reported 12 total deaths in 2004.

Now, you can agree with the FAAN founder, who brushes off the criticism with "any death from allergies is one death too many," and I certainly don't mean to diminish the real tragedy of anaphylactic shock at all. But keeping a sane perspective on food allergies is probably going to help more children in the long run.
posted by mediareport at 5:37 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's not punish the bully appropriately. In fact, let's just keep looking the other way. Obviously that would work better for everyone involved.

Wow, what a great strawman. Just because others disagree on what is an appropriate punishment doesn't mean they are "looking the other way."
posted by the other side at 6:31 AM on April 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


This wasn't bullying...

Fayette County schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall stated "it was well known that the other student suffered allergies. There was no known history of problems between the two 13-year-olds."
posted by zeoslap at 6:32 AM on April 25, 2008


This wasn't bullying...

Fayette County schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall stated "it was well known that the other student suffered allergies. There was no known history of problems between the two 13-year-olds."


Actually it is exactly that:

bul-ly [bool-ee] - 1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

Sounds to me like the kid was habitually badgering the kid to me.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:36 AM on April 25, 2008


if my daughter develops severe reactions to peanuts and a kid at school purposely puts peanut products in her lunch, I am going to grab that kid by the hair and toss him or her into a bush, and fuck-all the consequences

Oooh! Is this the part where normally law-abiding and nonviolent people rush to proclaim what violent horrors they would visit on anyone who dared to harm their family because their hormonal neuroprogramming is more important than the idea of law? Can I join in?

If someone did that to my nonexistent daughter, I'd kidnap them and hold them prisoner in my nonexistent basement for years! I'd build a small windowless cell around them and keep them in the dark and damp with only the sump pump for company except when I'd go down occasionally to torture them with a taser for a few hours! Perhaps I would also repeatedly sodomize them with various handy implements!

There! None of you other wannabe neanderthals can even touch the monstrous deeds I would perform on someone who harmed my nonexistent daughter, therefore I am the best person here and the greatest dad in history.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:44 AM on April 25, 2008 [8 favorites]


My point is that privileged parents love making a huge deal out of this shit.

I suppose I’m one of those privileged parents, in the sense that I’m sitting in my white-collar world reading about peanut allergies and “bullies” on Metafilter, and I can tell you that I absolutely hate making a big deal out of this shit. Unfortunately, due to a couple of incidents (once at Dairy Queen, once at a Chinese place) when my son suddenly vomited and complained his throat was itchy and he was having trouble breathing, I’m forced to make a big deal out of this and support those evil EpiPen manufacturers in the process. He’s gotten used to bringing his own cupcakes to birthday parties.

I don’t know what should happen to the 13 year old “bully”. I suspect he’s just a dumb 13 year old that will either smarten up the way a lot of us did or he’ll go on to a life of PBR Tall and Marlboros the way a lot of others did. He should certainly be made aware of how stupid this act was but sending him to prison or expelling him certainly isn’t going to straighten him out. I had 18 year old friends spray Windex in my eyes and hold me under water in a pool. They weren’t trying to blind me or murder me, they were just having “fun”, being too stupid to know the meaning of fun. Hopefully by now they know.

Chasing a kid with a sandwich sounds perfectly plausible. I once saw someone hide another kid’s asthma inhaler. Hilarious. Kids do really mean, stupid things to each other. Sometimes they know what they’re doing, sometimes they don’t quite get it. This article is just sensationalism, there’s certainly no widespread epidemic of kids threatening other kids with peanuts, and stories like this just cause more harm than good. There’s a fine line between raising awareness and causing a backlash. (see: Critical Mass, Pie Throwing) Those of us with allergic kids just need to learn to deal with things ourselves and be thankful that’s all we have to deal with.
posted by bondcliff at 6:45 AM on April 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sorry, but ever since Tomkinson's Schooldays I can't help seeing the phrase "school bully" as referring to an official post.
posted by raygirvan at 6:48 AM on April 25, 2008


Shitty sensationalistic "news" stories like this make bad Metafilter posts both because you can't have a rational discussion about a topic with the level of information that they provide and because the hits that this site and others direct to those stories has the potential to convince reporters that these are the type of stories that people want to read: events that have no bearing on their lives and convey virtually no information or understanding and do little more than evoke a visceral reaction.
posted by ND¢ at 7:02 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


:: School bullies usually have revenge taken on them by their own miserable lives.

Wow, I fail to see what was so "miserable" about the life you just described. What really appears to happen is the identity of the bullies - like a bad 80's soul-switching movie - reverses in adulthood, where the minority with well-paying, white collar jobs casually lord it over their sub-human blue-collar inferiors with equal parts disdain and condescension. All part of the never-dying psychodrama from their unpopular, pencil-neck days.

Why that bully that pushed me down in the hall in third grade is probably pathetically clinging to guns and Jebus as we speak! He's probably even married to a *gasp* high school sweetheart, with three children. Doesn't he know respectable people are supposed to marry someone they meet on eHarmony when they're 40?
posted by dgaicun at 7:16 AM on April 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


And remember: No one who has kids or serious allergies ever makes jokes about them. Srs bsns.
posted by everichon at 7:31 AM on April 25, 2008


googly: "This post is idiotic. No, really: its stupid. Fark-level stupid.

A link to a lunchbox site and a cookie recipe and a lame Jimmy Carter joke? Seriously? What's your point?
"

Perhaps to clarify what "lunch boxes" and "cookies" are.

(lest we thought it was, like, drug slang)
posted by NikitaNikita at 7:31 AM on April 25, 2008


re: 13 year olds and the ability to form intent to murder.

At least in my kids' schools, they're all nut free (not even tree nuts). The kids have been told repeatedly that even being close to peanuts can result in death. Death. They don't beat around the bush by saying that throwing peanuts at Milhouse will cause him to turn pretty colors, they say that by being *near* peanuts it can cause death.

One of my sons used to have a friend who's "allergic to peanuts." He's also greatly allergic to dogs, and gets wheezy and his eyes water. Except we have two dogs, and he's been over on days where it's been a week since the last vacuum, and he's been fine. Even on days when his mom calls up frantic to let us know that he hasn't had his meds, and can we take a look at him and listen to his breathing, and see if he needs his puffer. He's always been fine. He's an only child, and his mom explains his cranky bad behavior as his allergies. As he never gets punished, just medicated, he hasn't learned how to play nicely. We're glad that despite low self-esteem our son's decided to concentrate on finding other friends than being near-abused by Milhouse.

Still, we specifically bought food that was peanut free when he was over, and he only ate from things marked as being peanut free. But I'd bet $50 that we could put peanuts in his food and he'd be perfectly fine.

And it's kids like that who ruin it for kids who actually are deathly allergic to nuts. They's 24 kids in the school's office listed as being allergic to peanuts. 24 out of ~300 kids; I just don't believe that. The problem is that other parents might not buy that either, and might try to convince their kids that most/all are faking it.

So yes, the bully almost certainly knew that there was a high chance of death if the allergy was real. But until you see the kids stop breathing and puffing up like in Freaks and Geeks, it might be a bit hard to actually believe. There needs to be some enforcement, and consequences for attention seeking, Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, parents. Sadly, jail time, and heavy fines would mostly end up pushing the kid.
posted by nobeagle at 7:59 AM on April 25, 2008


The story is credible. My old school, after I left it, had a kid who had a severe peanut allergy. As a result, all peanuts were entirely banned from school premises. Nevertheless, I know for a fact that one student brought peanuts in specifically to taunt and torment the student with allergies. It was an all-girl school, if that makes a difference.
posted by tiny crocodile at 8:09 AM on April 25, 2008


I think the bully's defense is that he was too dumb to know what he was doing? I can maybe buy it. When I was about that age, I pointed and shot a BB gun at another kid, thinking it was unloaded. As it happened, the gun didn't fire, but that was actually because it was jammed; if it had decided to, like, not be jammed just then, I'd have shot another kid in the head from about six inches away. I'm guessing that would have gone badly. Of course, anyone will tell you you should always assume any gun is loaded -- but no one had told me. So...?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:14 AM on April 25, 2008


lupus_yonderboy : The bully did something he had every reason to suspect would cause a child's death in an extremely painful and unpleasant manner.

I guess I just don't see this. Nothing in the article I read indicated what the level of knowledge the bully had with regard to the outcome of giving the intended victim peanuts. I mean, at that age, and without anyone explaining what anaphylactic shock was, my only experience with allergies was people sneezing during ragweed season, or not drinking milk because it might make them feel a bit sick.

I'm not defending the kid who did it, because it was obviously an asshole move, but I think it's a big stretch to equate this to the bully stabbing the kid or pointing a loaded gun at him. Yes, the end result could very much be the same, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that perpetrator knew this.

By all means, make sure the kid gets a suitable punishment, but let's not randomly speculate based on really minimal information.
posted by quin at 8:37 AM on April 25, 2008


You will never get attempted murder to stick unless there is specific intent to cause death, the mere intent to scare or even to cause great harm is insufficient. A prosecutor could easily bring the charge though in an attempt to get a better plea bargain deal.
posted by caddis at 9:15 AM on April 25, 2008


The issue is whether it's attempted murder merely to do something on purpose that might kill someone, if one doesn't intend to kill someone. I think the answer is pretty clearly no.

No, the answer isn't clear at all. At common law, attempted murder required specific intent, and this is still true in many places. All the same, a broad trend in criminal law has been to move away from nebulous speculation about "intent."

An example is drug intent-to-distribute charges. In a lot of states, x ounces of whatever is, by legal definition, "intent," even if the person didn't actually intend to distribute at all.

The model penal code, addressing "attempt" crimes, says a person can be guilty of attempted x if he knows what he's doing can result in x. That's why in the Jena Six case, the prosecutor charged them with attempted murder. Who knows what they wanted to do, but a bunch of them were kickin' him in the gut, and that can be pretty life-threatening.

The answer here would depend on Kentucky state law. Investigation of that is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by jock@law at 9:35 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course, just because some states might make it possible to charge this kid with attempted murder, I don't think that's the right situation. Kids don't understand what life and death mean. I definitely committed some serious felonies - property crimes and assault crimes - when I was younger. The bully should definitely get spanked hard with a belt and given a very stern talking to. He should definitely be made to cry by the stress and shame of his parents' and the school's punishments. But I think charging him with a serious felony is a little bit overboard.
posted by jock@law at 9:42 AM on April 25, 2008


Meanwhile in Tucson
A 10-year-old boy accused of trying to poison two of his classmates is no longer a student at the East Side charter school he attended, according to a letter sent home to parents Thursday.

In Juvenile Court, he will face charges of adding poison or other harmful substances to food, drink or medicine, said Sgt. Mark Robinson, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

The boy brought six types of tablets... he told authorities he found the tablets and capsules.
He had put some of them in juice and offered the drink to two students...

A poison-control center confirmed that three types were non-narcotic prescription medication that if ingested by someone who didn't need them could lower the heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels


posted by eckeric at 9:45 AM on April 25, 2008


The "bully" was a girl, knew the victim and, according to her friends, wanted to "see what would happen."

I can picture how this happened as, "Hey, I dare you to bring peanuts in and see what happens!" joking in the circle of friends until one of them actually does it, the whole idea having spiraled from some silly joke comment into a potentially life-threatening act. Was this girl actually intending to kill the allergic girl or ignorant of the potential consequences? I'd like to know what the almost-victim thinks (not her parents, who really just can't understand the middle-school dynamic, not being 13 year-old girls). The "bully" maybe even imagined she would come forward if the kid was in real danger and point out the peanuts in the lunch box, ending up as some kind of hero for saving the victim's life.

The reality is that these girls run the gamut from best friends one day to "I hate you, I'm covering your MySpace account with profanity" threats the next. Very real consequences arise out of absurd situations at this age: we had a girl in the high school die after being stabbed in the chest by another girl--they were fighting over a boy.

There are two absolutely awful trends affecting our kids these days; the "zero-tolerance/zero-judgment" policies over everything at school and escalating bullying which officials don't deal with until it is life-threatening. How those two can happen simultaneously is a mystery to me...

Yes, the whole "bring an aspirin to school and get expelled," versus the "I was bullied for weeks and no one ever did anything" dichotomy is mind-boggling. Keep in mind that every kid, from model student to serial-killer-in-training, has the right to an education in our country, and schools have to honor that. Before any kid gets expelled, there is usually a trail of documentation for everything that hasn't worked before. And those suspended and expelled kids that once terrorized middle school A can move into neighborhood B and start doing the same kinds of behaviors and you, as a parent in neighborhood B, won't have any idea that the kid has this nasty, repeat-offenses record, because that would violate the student's right of confidentiality. And there's good reason for the rules.

But it can be scary as hell being a parent these days.
posted by misha at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2008


"They stay forever in their crappy hometown, drinking Natural Light with their idiot friends who also never did anything with their lives."

"he’ll go on to a life of PBR Tall and Marlboros"


Haters!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:43 AM on April 25, 2008


Steve Elvis: Well, to commit attempted murder, one must, you know, attempt to murder someone. There's no indication that the crumbs were placed in order to kill the victim.

But we won't let that technicality get in the way of sweet justice.
Surely, it must be possible to waterboard a confession out of the culprit in no time.
posted by sour cream at 11:53 AM on April 25, 2008


That is an incredibly productive and insightful rhetorical gambit sour cream. Here is another one you might try: "You know who else could be manipulated by an incomplete or sensationalized story into desiring harm on someone?" That will show 'em!
posted by ND¢ at 12:02 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, what a great strawman. Just because others disagree on what is an appropriate punishment doesn't mean they are "looking the other way."

I think the "kids will be kids" attitude in this thread is the same as looking the other way. And it's sick. Still, this country loves it some bullies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2008


So any kid who does something cruel to another kid is now automatically a bully?
posted by Bookhouse at 12:52 PM on April 25, 2008


Blazecock, I think if you look at any other bully thread you'll certainly see that the vast majority of MeFites are recovering victims of childhood bullying. We're nerds around here. This is no country for bullies.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:52 PM on April 25, 2008


Wouldn't an appropriate punishment for a bully, instead of being tried as an adult, that of community service in helping people of various disadvantages? If this girl was actually a bully, which isn't obvious but could be true, then she needs a good lesson in empathy. If not a bully, then some psychiatric treatment may be in hand, but I can't even see sending this girl to juv let alone jail. Last thing we need is another citizen in this country harboring a grudge against those freaks or wimps or whatever they're called nowadays, that are ruining everything for everyone else.
posted by kigpig at 1:10 PM on April 25, 2008


Was this girl actually intending to kill the allergic girl or ignorant of the potential consequences? ...The reality is that these girls run the gamut from best friends one day to "I hate you, I'm covering your MySpace account with profanity" threats the next.


"A 13-year old girl has been arrested on a felony wanton endangerment charge. She is accused of trying to poison a fellow classmate with peanuts at the Morton Middle School in Lexington....The victim, who has a bad peanut allergy, noticed peanut butter crums before he consumed anything that was in the lunch box."*
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on April 25, 2008


Joey Michaels:
Well, our boy with the allergy had a donut.

Within 10 minutes, his face was visibly swollen. We called the school nurse (who had one of those 'allergy pen" things on hand - and who called 911) his family and frantically tried to find out what the source of the peanut might be.
Maybe the boy with the allergy should have carried his own epi pen instead of waiting for the nurse. Maybe you all could have found something more helpful to do than finding the source of the peanut. And frantically? Really? I have to imagine that inducing an accelerated heart rate and hyperventilation wouldn't be a good idea to do to someone whose airway is swelling shut.

Allegedly swelling shut. I'm still skeptical of the existence of peanut allergies.

mediareport:
the Harper's piece notes "there is simply no evidence that a food allergen can do serious harm if not ingested." Perhaps there was something else at work in the food he ate previously; we don't know for sure it was peanut breath while snogging that almost did the boyfriend in. At least one doctor quoted in the Harper's piece says he "occasionally has to spread peanut butter on a patient's arm to demonstrate to parents that their child won't die from casual contact with a nut."
A-ha! I thought so.

I'm still puzzled as to how peanuts have been a widely available foodstuff for a century or so and yet it seems only recently there is this sudden crisis where people are swelling up and such. Really, is there some spontaneous genetic mutation causing vulnerability to a simple legume?

I can't decide whether it would be funnier to spread the anti-black rumor that the peanut is a secret plot by Carver to destroy America, or the anti-white rumor that the controversy is manufactured by the KKK — and happily bought into by the rest of whites (or the Jews in the media, to add irony to the mix) — to slur Carver and by extension black science. Any advice from those with practice at such trolling?

granted:
I agree with those saying that the bully probably didn't fully understand what he was doing, because death is not real to a thirteen-year-old. Have you guys been in a classroom? Kids are unbelievably cruel. They have poor impulse control, an undeveloped sense of empathy, and don't appreciate that their actions have consequences. This kid is an asshole but he's not a cold-blooded murderer.
I think it would be more correct to say that a majority of children are cold-blooded murderers.
posted by vsync at 2:12 PM on April 25, 2008


I'm still skeptical of the existence of peanut allergies.

Seriously? You're skeptical that peanut allergies exist? Maybe you mean the apparent ubiquity of potentially fatal peanut allergies?

I'm still puzzled as to how peanuts have been a widely available foodstuff for a century or so and yet it seems only recently there is this sudden crisis where people are swelling up and such.

My theory is sensational media + lower rate of child mortality = more apparent peanut allergies.
posted by ODiV at 2:27 PM on April 25, 2008


Maybe the boy with the allergy should have carried his own epi pen instead of waiting for the nurse.

Kids generally aren't allowed to possess their own medications on a school campus.

Maybe you all could have found something more helpful to do than finding the source of the peanut.


That's an excellent idea. What do you suggest? About the only thing that helps at that point is epinephrine.

And frantically? Really? I have to imagine that inducing an accelerated heart rate and hyperventilation wouldn't be a good idea to do to someone whose airway is swelling shut.

Well, yeah--but many people actually get a bit excited when observing someone's face swell up. Strange but true.

Allegedly swelling shut. I'm still skeptical of the existence of peanut allergies.

Oh, never mind. IHBT.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 4:29 PM on April 25, 2008


for DecemberBoy: You almost had it right; not bad.

I wouldn't worry about that. Even the lowest levels of law enforcement require an associates high school degree. Kids like this Cops act the way they do because they get got the shit kicked out of them at home by some alcoholic loser father. They go on to be hot shit in high school, then barely graduate with no skills, marry the girl they met in 2nd period algebra, and bounce from Jiffy Lube to Circle K to Wal-Mart, changing the oil and ringing up the cigarettes of all the faggots and freaks and queers who went to university or at least have some marketable skill. They stay forever in their crappy hometown, drinking Natural Light with their idiot cop friends who also never did anything with their lives. They pop out 2 or 3 waterhead kids before age 25, and the cycle continues. I've seen it happen. School bullies Police officers usually have revenge taken on them by their own miserable lives.
posted by vegetarian at 4:57 PM on April 25, 2008


I'm still skeptical of the existence of peanut allergies.

Well, 22 pages of results from a search on "peanut allergy" in pubmed would probably dispel that skepticism, but don't trouble yourself too much.
posted by rtha at 6:09 PM on April 25, 2008


The model penal code, addressing "attempt" crimes, says a person can be guilty of attempted x if he knows what he's doing can result in x.

That was pretty dishonest. The linked paragraph says "will occur," but you quoted it as "can result." That's a big difference.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:29 PM on April 25, 2008


RikiTikiTavi:
Kids generally aren't allowed to possess their own medications on a school campus.
Shooting the school administrator that disallows that is both self-defense and patriotism. Same as the TSA goons that rifle through people's feeding tubes and such. Same as the security guard that got whiny about my eyedrops as I was going to the concert (yet lighters are A-OK).
Oh, never mind. IHBT.
I'm stuck at the office at 22:00 on Friday night, what else am I supposed to do?
posted by vsync at 6:59 PM on April 25, 2008


rtha:
Well, 22 pages of results from a search on "peanut allergy" in pubmed would probably dispel that skepticism, but don't trouble yourself too much.
They also claim vaccines work and don't cause autism.

(...and now I am trolling...or channeling my friend who I'm never sure how serious he is...)
posted by vsync at 7:07 PM on April 25, 2008


I've said it before, I'll say it again: kids are shitheads.
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:12 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you think this is bad, just you wait until peanut allergies become AUDITORY.

Bully: Hey Poindexer... PEANUT!
Poindexter: swell, choke, sputter, die
Bully: Heh heh, dorkass.
posted by dr_dank at 9:56 PM on April 25, 2008


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