logo_full






After-school Jobs, Bullying, & You:
A Cruel & Deadly Story

Dairy Queen Manager Charged w/ Manslaughter in Bullied Teen’s Suicide

image

In Missouri, the criminal courts are being used to send a message about bullying. An unfortunate case of bullying led to suicide, and the case surrounding that incident could change the way bullying is addressed in schools, workplaces, and criminal courts across the country.

Kenny Suttner was 17 when he died as a result of suicide in December 2016.  After an inquiry into his death, over 20 witnesses reported incidents of Kenny being bullied at school and while he worked at a local Dairy Queen.  The bullying incidents at work included Kenny being forced to lie on his stomach to clean under machines – a practice that wasn’t required of other employees at the location.

The school was found partly to blame, but it was Harley Branham who was Kenny’s manager at the Dairy Queen that ended up charged with involuntary manslaughter for her involvement in Kenny’s suicide.  She was the one who required him to clean the store differently from his coworkers.  Eventually, the charges were lowered and Ms. Branham pled guilty to third-degree assault.  As punishment, she was sentenced to two years of supervised probation and 30 days of house arrest.

Additional findings placed some of the responsibility for Kenny’s death with the school district for failing to act on Kenny being bullied at school.   The school district and Dairy Queen both reached agreements with Kenny’s family after the family sued.  The agreements are private (which is pretty standard, but could have involved agreements to change policies about bullying and expensive cash payments to Kenny’s family).

Some states – including Nevada – have laws making bullying a crime.  In this case, before they lowered the charges the prosecutors skipped those laws and went straight to charging Kenny’s manager at Dairy Queen with involuntary manslaughter – that means she didn’t mean to kill anyone, but she should have known her actions could result in someone’s injury or death.  Eventually, she faced ‘lesser’ charges of third-degree assault, meaning she attempted to harm someone (but not kill them).

————————–
Questions:

1) Why do you think the manager should have faced or not faced involuntary manslaughter charges?

2) Why do you think the manager should have faced the charges she eventually pled guilty to of third-degree assault?

3) In Nevada, NRS 200.900 makes using a phone or computer to bully someone a crime.  A person under the age of 18 (a minor) can be prosecuted (charged and found guilty) as if they have committed a misdemeanor if they get caught.  That means they might face consequences of up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail (in this case – since they’re minors – it would be juvenile detention which is a prison-like setting for people under the age of 18).  How do you feel about this kind of behavior (which is commonly called cyber-bullying) being treated as an adult crime among people under the age of 18 in your state?


Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/dairy-queen-manager-charged-manslaughter-bullied-teens-suicide/story?id=45498992
https://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20190712/woman-in-howard-county-teen-suicide-case-pleads-guilty-to-misdemeanor
https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/mother-school-district-reach-settlement-in-kenneth-suttner-wrongful-death-case/article_1e9ab2ee-be15-11e9-92d4-4f553aced299.html

Bad Joke Actually a Hate-crime When
Student Lists Two Others as ‘Slaves for Sale’ in Florida

image

Pictured: A screengrab showing an offensive ‘joke’-post to the website Craigslist in which two high school students were shown under the headline ‘Two Slaves for Sale’.

No matter if something is done with an intent to hurt someone or just casually as a joke, if one person’s simple fun results in another person’s harm, that action may be considered legally as an act of bullying, criminal harassment, or both.  Obviously being the victim of bullying is never fun.  If that fact is not enough to stop someone from reconsidering their actions, they should keep in mind that unintentional harm is still harm in the eyes of the law.  Consider this incident:

A student at a Florida’s Fleming Island High School (who remains unnamed due to his age), took a picture of two African American females in his class and then posted an ad featuring that picture on Craigslist.  The ad had been placed in the ‘Home and Garden’ section of the used goods website and had been titled “Two Slaves for Sale,” [as seen in the picture above].

The post went viral overnight as hundreds of complaints were made on social media. Reports say that the high school student responsible for the ad was identified and then immediately expelled from school and sent to an alternative education program offered by his district.

The post however, was not the first incident involving heavy racial ties for the Fleming Island High School.  The school’s students had been reporting issues and incidents of “racial targeting” on their campus (by fellow students and by school staff) for years before the craigslist incident took place.

One of the students pictured in the ad, Skye Fefee, told reporters that she was deeply disturbed by the act and wondered how something like this could happen not only to her, but those around her too.

Regarding the school administration and how they handle racial incidents including her own, Fefee stated “The administration doesn’t pay attention to this. They need to better monitor the students,“.   She went on to state that her school’s administration needs to be more proactive, taking steps that prevent students from being hurt by those committing acts of hate.

The student responsible is a juvenile and wasn’t charged with any crimes.

Despite being a juvenile, the student responsible for posting the advertisement to Craigslist was lucky to have not been charged with a crime.  Some districts would find the student criminally liable for bullying, and if the school was federally funded the student could have been risking facing federal hate crime charges (no matter his age).

 

—————————-
Questions
:

1: This article talks about an issue involving hate speech. Should the first amendment affect hate speech? Why or why not?

2: If you or someone you know was targeted in a “joke” like this, what would you/how would you stop it?

3: Do you think the first amendment protects too much? What changes would you make or not make to the first amendment?

4. If this event had happened at your school, what are the minimum and maximum penalties the student would have faced at your school for posting that kind of hate-ad to Craigslist?

5. If this event had happened at your school, what are the minimum and maximum criminal penalties the student would have faced for posting that ad? 


Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here:
https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/local/slaves-for-sale-craiglist-ad-featuring-two-fleming-island-high-school-girls-sparks-outrage/77-434514316

Contributed by: Joseph Motta 




Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time.

- Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-11T20:39:35+00:00
Thank you for letting us watch the civil case!  It was cool because it was a real case and not one played out. I had a lot of fun watching the other kids act out a session.  Thank you for your time. - Kaylie [Hewetson Elementary - Grade 5]

Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you


-Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

Project Real
2020-12-16T22:04:09+00:00
Thank you for letting us experience court for the first time.  It was the best experience ever, thank you for everything. You really made me think about being a judge. Thank you -Mina L [ Twitchell Elementary - Grade 5]

My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity.


- Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]
Project Real
2020-12-16T21:47:04+00:00
My favorite part of the fieldtrip to the courthouse is when I got to play the part of Ron. I got to go on the witness chair and speaking. I helped Potter to be not guilty. Thank you for the great opportunity. - Johnathan M  [Harmon Elementary - Grade 4]
0
0
Project Real


icon_support_offerings
activities
icon_support_project
The Project
icon_support_resources
Resources


Connect with us
LinkedIn
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Sign up to receive Project REAL news and updates.


     

    Project REAL • 6325 S. Jones Blvd #300 • Las Vegas, NV • 89118   |   702.703.6529   |   info@projectrealnv.org
    ©2024 Project Real