Oh, South Carolina. When you’re not busy with favouring bans on homogays entering the country, you seem content with teaching boys that when you steal your female teacher’s phone, send her private pictures to the student body, and then threaten your teacher to her face, your teacher is the one who gets disciplinary action – for exposing you to indecency, or something.
The story first broke locally on Monday, though not till Wednesday morning did tabloids Daily Mail and New York Daily News pick up the story. ThinkProgress was the first progressive publisher to highlight it, and from there the mainstream press took notice. Even Seventeen took a break from reporting on Fuller House to slam the school district for forcing Leigh Ann Arthur, a victim of theft, privacy violation and sexual humiliation, to “resign” her job.
Lest anyone think this is exaggeration, here’s the TL;DR version of what happened:
- Teacher leaves to do her 5-minute hallway monitoring, between classes
- Male student steals her phone from her desk
- Male student finds a faux-nude photo of her, sends it to everyone at school
- Teacher returns, student tells her, “Your day of reckoning is coming”
“Your day of reckoning is coming.”
Did we mention the superintendent told reporters the victim might be the one facing criminal charges? As quoted from ThinkProgress, “[I]n being the victim of a theft, Arthur may have contributed to the delinquency of a minor – a crime punishable by up to three years in prison”.
Whilst initial local reports claimed Arthur resigned on her own volition, follow-up stories by the mainstream press revealed that in reality, the district threatened to terminate her if she didn’t leave first. As for the 16-year-old thief, the district has no plans to discipline him – though curiously, Mic yesterday received a statement from school officials trying to walk back this point.
To clarify, a student who engaged in theft, threats and sexual harassment was rewarded with punishment of his victim. Let’s apply this logic to other crimes:
- Leave credit card on desk, student steals credit card info, victim charged with allowing fraud
- Leave answer key on desk, student steals answer key, victim charged with allowing cheating
- Leave Wi-Fi unprotected, student downloads pornography, victim charged with allowing indecency
With that last example, heck, even the FBI knows better.
On the bright side, news headlines and public opinion seem firmly in favour of the victim this time – a surprising occurrence, given U.S. culture’s obsession with rationalising sexual humiliation of women. Even Daily Mail, a far-right tabloid not held in much regard by the literate crowd, had the decency to condemn a blatant violation of dignity.
Evidently Leigh Ann Arthur’s own students agree, since they’re petitioning to hold the district accountable for its stupidity. You know South Carolina is in a sad state (literally) when the kids have more sense than the adults running their asylum.
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