The case of the young girl who was knocked down and battered but came back fighting
When the 12-year-old recently attempted to cross an intersection at 95 mph in a school zone, the middle school janitor thought she’d had enough. (This is the first police report on a near-child fatality involving a modern transportation device. Notice there is no legal risk of criminal charges.) When he said he was calling the police, she snapped a photo of him and a staff member rushing over. The allegation was unfounded, but according to police reports, when the girl collapsed after the fall, security ran over her and, using a stun gun on her, wrestled her to the ground.
The 13-year-old student has been expelled. She claims the incident was over seeing her crush. And those who spoke with the police said they believed she was acting in self-defense. A juvenile judge later agreed, but suspended the young woman’s expulsion for two months — an action that allows her to return for the first day of middle school in just two weeks.
For a couple of young women who are well aware of the way the world treats people who fall out of fashion, it must have been frustrating to witness the way they were treated after their friend got knocked down. But they could still take solace in the fact that they had a chance — physically, intellectually, emotionally — to come back, and they did so. Her fury, for most of her life, has been based on abstract feelings about gender identity and rights, and was never just anger.
As anyone who is acquainted with her will tell you, she isn’t just vulnerable — she is fragile. Perhaps at 12 years old, people shouldn’t have to fear being attacked in middle school. It would be more convenient to target the traditional character of the victim of a middle school assault: girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. But what happened to this young woman had nothing to do with a wrong place at the wrong time. She was riding her bike alone, and there was someone chasing her through the construction site. She was assaulted, and she thought she was OK.
The fact that she wasn’t — and was left bleeding in the middle of the street — is almost unimaginable. She has now become the face of what is often mistakenly labeled “bullying,” but what happened to her was truly a kind of violence against her capacity to think, to love, to be. There has been no attempt to help her, and her recovery is being managed by her parents, a court, and the school.
While it has been especially trying for these parents to let their daughter go through this, it’s imperative that they do so. They have to let her go through this, and she will ultimately need to learn to walk again, and to learn to go somewhere. Eventually, she’ll have to grapple with the facts of her circumstance and what that might mean.
Three years ago, a girl at school stopped us during a class. She was only 10 years old, but she was teetering on the brink of a brain injury, and her parents had to drive her to the emergency room because the streets of her school were too dangerous for her to walk alone. Since then, the same student has tried to get left alone to sit in a chair at the back of the room for her math exam. One day, she pretended to go back to class because she was tired of being in the bathroom. As a result, a staff member took her out and threatened to have her expelled. Again, she was just a girl at a middle school, and she lost out on her second chance to live her life.
The teenager she alleged to have used a stun gun on admitted to using a rock, but this girl is no rock. This girl is not broken — it is broken people who are broken.
This article originally appeared on Ki Sung at www.kijung.com.kr.
Written by Jenny Kim on for Ki Sung and originally published on Ki Sung at www.kijung.com.kr.