Sara Whitman

A New Level Of Hate

Filed By Sara Whitman | October 17, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: anti-gay bullying, children's health issues, hate crimes against LGBT people, homophobic behavior, school bus drivers

As we all dissect the last debate, and worry about the economy, the level of hate in this country just reached a new high.

Or should I say low.

In Illinois, an elementary school bus driver taunted a ten year old boy, calling him "gay." He then, at the child's bus stop, encouraged other students to go beat him up.

The school has confirmed this, and is looking to confirm that the driver himself got off the bus to join them.

That a 46-year-old man taunted a ten year old boy for any reason is horrible enough. But that he was in charge of children's safety and encouraged kids to beat the boy up?

There should be a special kind of jail for people like that. Since that's pretty much out of the question, how about a federal hate crimes bill?

As the economy continues to swirl its way down the toilet, the levels of hate crimes- all hate crimes- will rise exponentially. They always do in times of economic distress.

This was a ten-year-old child. Too young to be gay, straight or anything but a boy. What if he were Black and the driver had called him a "nigger" and told the kids to beat him up? Or Asian? Or Hispanic?

Where is the outcry? This happened last week and there has been no mainstream media news about it at all- why? Because if it were about race? It would have made the news. If the child was handicapped? There would be cameras in this guys face asking hard questions.

There would be a lesson to learn. It would be clear that in our society that kind of behavior is not okay.

Instead we have reached a new level of hate.

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Anthony in Nashville | October 17, 2008 9:25 AM

This is crazy! Thanks for shining some light on this unfortunate incident. Hopefully other outlets will report on this story. It's always pitiful when adults take out their frustrations on children.

I'm sure there are many reasons why stories like this don't get more attention. One in particular came to my mind rather quickly.

When things like this happen and everyone looks the other way, the ambivalence reminds me of the lack of attention paid to the routine ballot initiatives that attempt to restrict the lives/citizenship of LGBT people.

If constitutional amendments can be proposed every 2-4 years that paint an entire class of people as not worthy of full consideration (by saying they do not have the right to a recognized family) - and attract a majority of voters - with the benign opposition or avid support of leading politicians then what is surprising about 46 year old bus drivers wanting to beat up 10 year old boys?

How old is Obama?

How vocal has he defended the 10 year olds that are being raised by same sex couples?

Sure, we know that great grampa McCain would probably put the electrodes on the boys genitals - but why does that make the guy that holds the boy down for his beating while talking him through the pain a better friend or any less culpable?

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 17, 2008 11:21 AM

This is insane.

I disagree Sara. There shouldn't just be a special jail for people like this bus driver. There should be a special place in hell.

I AM STEAMING ANGRY! The very thought of a 46 year old MAN acting like a schoolyard bully and verbally and possibly "physically" abusing a ten year old boy and then encouraging OTHER CHILDREN to join in is OUTRAGEOUS!!!

But, the article only mentions that the man was fired from his job. No mention if he will be prosecuted under Illinois' hate crime law.

Illinois hate crimes law explicitly addresses actual or perceived sexual orientation! ยง 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1 (2001).

The State Attorney in Kankakkee County is John Boyd. His contact info is:

John Boyd
Criminal Division
Kankakee County Courthouse
450 E. Court St.
Rooms 301-306
Kankakee, IL 60901
Phone: 815-937-2930
Fax: 815-937-3932

I'm going to write a letter and urge him to prosecute for a hate crime!

I'm also going to copy the Regional Superintendent, Kay M. Pangle, I-KAN Regional Office of Education. Here's her contact info:

Kay M. Pangle, PhD
Regional Superintendent
I-Kan Regional Office of Education
189 East Court Street
Kankakee, IL 60901