Bullying in Utah

Bullying in Utah
Photo: Thomas Ricker

Even with all the recent awareness campaigns and public service announcements, bullying is still a big problem in Utah schools. Parents of victims and alleged bullies alike are wondering what can be done.

Recent Bullying News Goes Viral

While certainly not the first news story about bullying, a recent incident at Rock Cut Elementary in Loves Park, Illinois, has gone viral as the result of one mother’s actions.

According to Carmen Divan, her nine-year-old son Payten has been experiencing bullying all year long and has the physical reminders to prove it, including bite marks, bruises and scratches.

Like many similar stories, Divan claims that multiple meetings with school leaders have done nothing to remedy the problem. At the last meeting, Divan stated that the principal told her that the kids were “just antsy” as a result of the school year ending.

Unhappy with these results, Divan posted photos on Facebook of her son’s injuries. This post has been linked with another Facebook page called ‘Bullying at Rock Cut Elementary and Harlem School District,” which already has multiple comments of similar incidents. Divan hopes this will get the attention of the school district.

The Bullying Statistics are Startling

When it comes to the numbers, it’s understandable why there has been such a surge in awareness campaigns. Almost eighty percent of students have admitted to being a victim of bullying at some point. Two out of every three students claim to be physically or verbally harassed every year, and every thirty minutes a teenager attempts suicide as a result of being bullied.

While the statistics in Utah aren’t as high as the national numbers, they still are startling. Approximately one out of every five students in Utah is affected by bullying, and more than half of Utah students witness some form of bullying every day.

Helping Victims and Bullies

If you believe your child has been bullied, several resources exist to help you figure out what to do next. The important thing is to make sure you keep lines of communication between you and your child open enough so they feel comfortable talking to you about any inappropriate behavior they are experiencing or witnessing. For bullying resources from the Utah Parent Center, click here.

The Utah Parent Center also has resources to help parents who find out it is their child who is the bully. Attempt to address the problem before it becomes a major issue. It is important that parents realize that victims of bullying can seek resolution through criminal or civil law. If you have any questions about these laws, or if your child is being accused of these acts, it is important to seek legal advice from a juvenile defense attorney.

Two Utah High School Students Charged with Disorderly Conduct

Photo: Bill McChesney

Two Wasatch High School students have been charged with disorderly conduct following an incident which was termed “hazing” by at least one person.

Disorderly Conduct–Not Hazing

The students, members of the school’s basketball team, allegedly put their naked bottoms near some team member’s faces while additional team members held them down. Police reported that most of those who had a bottom held near their face weren’t upset, but at least one team member wasn’t thrilled with the situation.

There were four coaches on the bus, which was returning home from an away game, none of whom admitted seeing anything extraordinary. They have reportedly all received reprimands from the school and were asked to be more aware of what goes on with their students.

The Consequences

Disorderly conduct is a class C misdemeanor, unless the person stops when asked in which case it’s an infraction. The young men in this incident have been charged with an infraction. According to reports, hazing wasn’t charged because their behavior didn’t result in extreme humiliation, embarrassment or shame. The two students may end up facing a fine of up to $750.

Your Child Deserves Legal Representation

Even though their alleged behavior wasn’t in good taste, it’s important that the prosecution in this case recognized what their behavior was–and wasn’t. People, whether juveniles or adults, shouldn’t be forced to face criminal charges that exceed the supposed crime or infraction.

If your child is in legal hot water, do him a favor and contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney right away. It’s in your child’s best interest to have proper, experienced legal representation regardless of the charges against him. Make the right choice and call us today.

School Stabbing Leaves More Than 20 Wounded, Some Critically

Photo: Isaac Tovar

A 16-year-old boy allegedly injured more than 20 people at a school stabbing in Pennsylvania, leaving authorities with more questions than answers about the motive behind the attack.

School Stabbing Leaves Many Questions

Other students and adults who witnessed the attack stated that the young man didn’t have any unusual look on his face nor did they have a sense that this particular boy could or would commit such violence.

This particular crime seems to have caught many people off guard, since most schools now have plans in place should a shooting occur but a school stabbing isn’t the norm. There were a couple of schools in Texas, though, who have experienced stabbings within the past several months.

It’s probably nearly impossible to predict when a student or other person might commit an attack on a school. There’s little to no information about the boy in question in this incident, but it’s likely that more details will come to light as time passes and the investigation continues.

Case May be Handled in Adult Court

It is reported that prosecutors will try to have this young man treated as an adult instead of being taken care of in the juvenile court system.

Let Us Help Your Child–and You

We are Utah juvenile defense attorneys who will work hard to protect the rights and interests of your child, should he become involved in the juvenile justice system. Minors deserve the same protection and advice that adults receive, and it’s vital that they have an attorney on their side as early as possible.

There’s a reason that kids’ cases are handled in juvenile court as opposed to adult court, and we are diligent in our efforts to keep kids where they can best be served–and that’s not with the grown-ups.

If your child is in legal trouble, help him or her by contacting us today. It may be the best choice you’ll ever make on your child’s behalf.

Bathroom Stall Bomb Threat by Utah Juvenile Cancels School Activities

Photo: Ruthanne Reid

The Juab School District recently made the decision to cancel after-school activities following the discovery of a bomb threat written on a bathroom stall in one of the district’s elementary schools.

School Activities Cancelled

The bomb threat indicated that a bomb would go off at one of the local schools the following day, but police and school authorities were able to identify the student whom they believe wrote the bomb threat and made sure there was in fact no device set to detonate.

Most kids who threaten to blow up something or hurt people don’t actually plan to carry out their activity. However, you only need to see the news to realize that it’s important to follow-up on any threats–whether made by a kid or an adult.

Threat of Violence is a Crime–Even if You Don’t Go Through With It

There is a Utah law called “threat of violence” which can be charged if a person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death or substantial property damage and acts with the intent to place a person in fear of injury, death, etc.

Threat of violence is a class B misdemeanor, and it is not a defense that the individual making the threat didn’t intend to carry out their threat or was incapable of carrying out their threat. In addition to incarceration penalties, a person who commits this crime may also be required to pay for any expenses incurred by a governmental entity involved in the threat.

Hire Expert Legal Help

Talk to your kids. Having a good relationship with your children won’t prevent them from committing offenses, but might help. If your child has already gotten himself into legal trouble, don’t wait to contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney. Get him the expert legal help he needs today.

Utah Elementary School Fire Started by Fourth-Grader

A Utah elementary school recently had to be evacuated after a fire was discovered. It turned out that a fourth-grade child was responsible for the school fire.

Photo: DragonLord878

No Injuries in School Fire

Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident; there wasn’t a large amount of damage to school property either. There was a lot of smoke, but not a big blaze, so the kids were allowed to return to the building about an hour after the school fire was reported.

The boy who started the fire reportedly took a lighter from a family member and was playing with it when the fire began. Officials don’t believe the young man intended to start the school fire or cause any problems. Nevertheless, he was suspended from school for a couple of days before a hearing would be held with school administrators to see if any additional action would be needed.

This doesn’t seem to be a case that would require juvenile court action, but you never can tell when law enforcement will be called in. That’s why it’s vital that parents of children who get into legal trouble always talk to a Utah juvenile defense attorney.

Kids Deserve Legal Help, Too

Utah juvenile courts declare that it’s their intent to aid in rehabilitating kids who have legal run-ins, but it can help for any child who’s charged with an offense to be represented by an expert in juvenile defense matters. Having an attorney on your child’s side will make sure that he or she is treated fairly and respectfully, regardless of the outcome.

Do yourself and your child a favor—contact a Utah juvenile defense attorney today.