One bullying victim thinks so. A middle school student in New York City named Kardin Ulysse is suing the city following an assault at his school that left him blind in one eye. That’s right. He was beaten up so badly, it permanently screwed up his vision. Kardin’s lawsuit claims that the students responsible for beating him up weren’t properly supervised at the time of the attack. Gee, ya think?
Two of Kardin’s attackers were arrested and are facing disciplinary action, but since they’re minors, the details and the identities of those responsible haven’t been revealed. (Frankly, they sort of deserve the bad press, but they’re probably already sorely regretting their actions now.)
All of this sucks, and we totally empathize with the kid and his family but, um, how much is Kardin suing the city for? Oh, you know, just $16 million. That seems a little steep, doesn’t it?
Don’t get us wrong. We absolutely think Kardin and his family should be compensated for his pain and suffering, in addition to his medical bills (he’s already undergone two failed surgeries and is waiting on a cornea transplant), but $16 million makes it seem like he’s trying to capitalize on being a victim and to take all he can get. And in the long run, that’s not going to help anyone.
Somewhat similarly, you guys may have heard about the heartbreaking bullying a school bus monitor, Karen Klein, in upstate New York endured at the hands of some middle school students. (You can watch video of the incident here–and you may well cry.) Supporters of the bus monitor have started fundraising to send her on vacation, earning over $100,000. In Klein’s case, however, she wasn’t requesting or suing for the money herself–strangers came up with and contributed to the funds.
One issue that presents itself is that large payouts like these can make being a victim seem lucrative as opposed to soul-crushing. If someone can eventually profit off of getting picked on, some opportunist people may delay reporting problems as they arise–and if they wait too long in hopes of a better “case for cash” later on, things can escalate to dangerous levels.
Obviously, the people responsible for Kardin’s injuries and trauma–and Klein’s–need to be held accountable, and Kardin more than deserves to be compensated for everything he’s had to suffer through. We are not trying to make light of what happened to him. It’s awful–no question about it. But Kardin’s gunning for so much cash simply won’t make the bullying situation any better, nor will it solve the city’s problem of a lack of supervision. In fact, suing for so much money has the potential to make the situation worse, since the city will be spending exorbitant amounts of cash on a payout and legal fees instead of staffing for its schools. Couldn’t some of that money go to better use? To be fair, though, many cases like this aim for a much higher amount of money than they think they’ll actually get and wind up settling for less. But still. You get my point.
And a payout also won’t solve the bullies’ problems–anyone who can, without conscience, beat anyone to a pulp or harass someone like this needs serious help themselves to prevent issues like this from arising again.
Just like money can’t buy love or happiness, it also can’t purchase security, inner strength, nor morals for any of the parties involved in bullying. Only education and experience can keep kids from being monsters. Cash can’t buy compassion.
Do you think bullying victims deserve payouts? Have you ever been bullied? How do you think bullying can be stopped? Do you think suing can solve bullying? Do you think $16 million is exorbitant or fair in Kardin’s case? Tell us in the comments!