The Penn State sex abuse scandal, in which former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually assaulting eight young boys over a 15-year period, is unthinkable. As is the fact that angry students rioted on the streets in support of Joe Paterno, the 84-year-old football coach who got fired moments after announcing his retirement. But even more unthinkable is the fact that one of Sandusky’s alleged victims, referred to simply as Victim One, has left his school because of bullying.
PennLive.com reports that the 17-year-old student had to leave Central Mountain High School in the middle of his senior year because of bullying, according to his counselor. Why was he bullied? Because fellow students were unhappy about Paterno’s firing and so they decided to blame his victim. The students reportedly called him names and made verbal threats, which was just too much for this poor kid to handle. And so he dropped out.
I just can’t imagine how someone – never mind a whole group of people – could be capable of such cruelty. This teen has endured what no child should should ever have to go through. If his claims are true, this is a person who survived sexual abuse and had the courage to come forward. In response, he gets picked on by his classmates. Over football. Football.
At this point, I’m wondering what steps school officials took to prevent this from happening – or at least stopping it once they were made aware of the situation (I’m also wondering how these bullies’ parents handled it, if at all). Mike Gillum, the psychologist helping the 17-year-old family, told the Patriot-News that officials at the school were not providing guidance for students who blamed the student for Paterno’s firing.
According to Gillum, the student is drawing strength from the other alleged victims who have come forward after he did. “He feels good about that,” said Gillum. “That’s the one good thing that’s come of all this.”