Sunday, February 20, 2011

Britney and the Judge

This past week was a tough one on children in Northeast Pennsylvania.  On what could be the fringe of Northeast PA Britney Tongel took her own life a result of being cyber-bullied while Mark Ciavarella was convicted in the "Kids for Cash" trial of the century.

In both cases, the children have lost their voice.  Ciavarella was a judge in Luzerne County presiding over the juvenile court system. Over the years, he teamed up with another judge, a lawyer and developer and took the Luzerne County taxpayers on a ride with for-profit detention centers.  Over the years, 5000 cases had to be turned over to judicial review and verdicts overturned.  Some good, some bad got hauled away to detention leaving both parents and offender scarred for life and in some cases death.

Ciavarella was convicted in federal court and faces 12 to 15 years, but somehow the in the trial not one parent was heard not one juvenile offender.  Their voice was silent.

The blog Pure Bunkum has two excellent posts about the trial and the hurt of a parent here and here. Ciavarella for now is a racketeer, but in a court of law the government could not tie him to "kids for cash."

Money was front and center for the trial.

This past Wednesday, Line Mountain student Britney Tongel took her own live as a result of cyber bullying.  The case touches off the same emotions the led to death of Brandon Bittner from nearby Midd-West in 2010. This writer never knew Britney but she was from Berwick and was a placement in foster care in Trevorton, PA at age 17.

Physical beauty and foster care are an unfortunate mix to put a target on most kids.  Unfortunately, things were so desperate she chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  In reports through the week Line Mountain officials denied they were aware of bullying while other reports conflict with their denial.  In either case Britney is not coming back.

Although some schools are better than others, most are not equipped to hand bullying.  I don't know if that's a fair statement or not, but schools are in the education business first and that is a big plate.  Childrens' family home life and juvenile and social justice often take a very distant back seat.  What is the answer???  Hard to say.  Amend the Child Care Protection Act to include bullying both cyber and physical?  Make it a hate crime?

In this case and the case of the judge people did not step up.  In both cases people knew what was going on but it is hard to join the juveniles or Britney on that lonely island of despair.

If you a teen and need help, try to find that one last friend you have.  Remember suicide is a PERMANENT SOLUTION to a TEMPORARY PROBLEM.  If you are and adult on the case, remember you could be that last lifeline.  Let us all not try to fail again.

I doubt this mother will ever lose her anger.

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