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Bullying Can Lead to Criminal Charges

Two students from Apache Junction High School were disciplined for bullying Reinhard Zorko, a Cactus Canyon Junior High School student, on the bus.  The older students lit pencil erasers on fire and stuck them into Reinhard’s skin. Thirteen-year-old Reinhard waited several weeks before telling his mother, Pamela Reinhard, about the incident because he was afraid of further bullying.  According to Reinhard, “They said that they were going to beat me up if I say something about it or they were going to have 8th graders come at me and stuff like that.”  Ms. Reinhard was, understandably, very upset when her son told her what happened: “If I had known where that individual was, I would have probably wound up in jail that evening.”

Reinhard was bullied again this week when a student hit him in retaliation for telling about the other incident. That boy was also disciplined.

Although Brian Kilgore, spokesperson for the Apache Junction School District, confirmed that the bullies were disciplined, district policy does not allow him to share whether the boys were suspended or expelled.  According to Mr. Kilgore, junior and senior high school students may now be required to ride separate buses on account of the bullying.  Mr. Kilgore said, “If that’s something we feel will increase safety for the students, that’s something we will consider.”

Mr. Kilgore said the buses are equipped with video cameras, but unfortunately, the videotape from this incident was taped over due to the lapse in time between when the bullying occurred and when Reinhard reported it.

The bullying was reported to the Apache Junction Police Department. According to Apache Junction Police Department Captain Thomas Kelly, the case has been turned over to the Pinal County Attorneys Office, and the three bullies may face criminal charges.  To the boys who bullied her son, Ms. Zorko said, “You’re not going to get away with it. We will see every means possible to make sure you are punishable by law.”

Unfortunately, bullying has become all too common and has in many recent cases resulted in suicide or the victim responding in an extremely violent manner towards his abusers. More often, children do not report the abuse to anyone and instead suffer in silence.  It is important that parents stay involved in the lives of their children and have open and honest discussions about bullying.  Parents should encourage their children to talk with them about any issues at school and should also encourage their children to report any bullying they observe.

If your child has been accused of a crime, contact the juvenile law attorneys at Oracle Law Group today.