Zero Tolerance

Teen Kicked Off Football Team Because He Protected a Blind Kid From a Bully [UPDATE: Maybe Not]

Zero tolerance means zero tolerance.


Daily Mail

Zero tolerance means precisely that: zero tolerance—even for a student who had a very good reason to pick a fight with the school bully.

A student at Huntington Beach High School in California has been widely celebrated all over the internet for protecting a fellow student—a blind teenager—from a bully's violent assault. Video footage of the incident—courtesy of The Daily Mail—clearly shows the bully repeatedly punching the defenseless blind teen in the face until the third student walks up and knocks out the bully with a single punch. The intervener then assists the blind teen in escaping to safety.

Police later arrested the bully (he is unnamed in news reports, as is his victim, and the hero). I've argued that schools should not involve the cops in minor disciplinary issues, but the bully's actions look to me like they crossed a line. This was not a trivial scrap, and it wasn't a fair fight. The bully aimed for his defenseless opponent's face. The cops want to charge him with misdemeanor battery, and it's hard to disagree with that decision.

The other student—the rescuer—will also be punished, since violent behavior is prohibited in all circumstances, even when it is necessary to protect the well-being of another student.

The school suspended the student from the football team, and are investigating the incident to determine whether harsher measures are warranted. Meanwhile, the kid's supporters have started a petition to convince the district to reconsider. According to Hot Air:

The online petition to reinstate him is already north of 25,000 signatures as I write this. I assume the school will eventually cave and vacate the suspension at least, partly because even the criminal code in a state as blue as California permits violence in defense of another(provided you use no more than is reasonably necessary to end the threat) and partly because America looooves rough justice and is going to hound school administrators until they do the right thing here.

This is what zero tolerance looks like: harsh, automatic punishments for teens who broke stupid rules, or had good reasons to break sensible, inflexible rules. This is why a school called the cops on a 13-year-old who kissed a girl. It's why administrators routinely suspend students who play with toy guns, or make shooting gestures with her hands, or make up stories about guns. It's why a student who didn't bring drugs to school was disciplined for bringing drugs to school. And it's why the temporary arrest of Ahmed Muhamed is part of an outrageous pattern of paranoid school policing, regardless of whether he built his clock himself.

[Updated at 10:00 a.m.] On Twitter, the teen clarified that he was never kicked off the football team—that story was "made up" by the media, he said. The school district also denied that he would be suspended; whether the petition influenced that decision is unclear. For me, the fact that 20,000 people expected the hero to get unfairly railroaded by the system is still quite a testament to the ubiquity of zero tolerance.

NEXT: This Will Be Our Little Secret

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  1. His teammates should refuse to play until he is reinstated.

    If the board doubles down and eliminates football, at least the taxpayers save some money.

  2. He was suspended for clocking the bully?

    1. That was timely. You da bomb!

    2. Tick trump, tick trump, tick trump

  3. “(he is unnamed in news reports, as is his victim, and the hero)..”

    Watch the video:

    “You okay, Austin?”

    “I’m good, Cody”.

    They are fucking Disney tweener sitcom characters!!

    But seriously, “The other student?the rescuer?will also be punished, since violent behavior is prohibited in all circumstances, even when it is necessary to protect the well-being of another student.”

    So , schools are repealing the right of self-defense!?!?

    1. They repealed it some time ago, actually.

    2. Yes,you must cower in the corner until the ‘heroes ‘ show up. Now,let’s all go watch some hard hitting football.

      1. Only official state uniformed heroes are allowed to save you, however. Heroes without official sanction will be punished.

        1. With the rules today, the high school I went to would have all the guys suspended. That was the mid 1970″s. Moat guys had a pocet knife,we had guns in the car to hunt after school,or fishing tackle to go fishing.Hell,our P.E. teacher would have given this kid a medal.

          1. Same here. I still find it hard to believe how ridiculous schools have gotten.

        2. Wrong union, they is, those unofficial impromptu heroes.

    3. “You okay, Austin?”

      “I’m good, Cody”.

      “Would you like to piss on this asshole while he’s out, Austin?”

      “You bet, Cody!”

      1. So Cody knocked out the bully just so he could hold Austin’s wang? (How else is the blind kid going to aim his piss at the bully?)

        What a perv! I’m glad he’s suspended.

  4. OT: Libertarian Santa comes early:…..d=34107136

    Maya and Bill Donnelly woke up to a loud, crashing sound at their Arizona home in the border town of Nogales, thinking the boom was thunder from a lingering rainstorm before going back to sleep, authorities said.

    So imagine the shock later that morning of Sept. 8 when they discovered a large plastic package in the destroyed remains of their German shepherd’s doghouse; a 23-pound parcel that police say contained about $10,000 worth of marijuana.

  5. ‘I swear to God, if you fuck with this kid again, I will fuck you up.’

    Just don’t do it near some coward recording it with a cell phone

    1. No kidding. They should be giving the football player a medal and shaming all the students who stood by and watched.

  6. Practice for the prison end of the public school pipeline.

    Not to mention training for a society in which all rights exist, at best, subject to revocation at the demand of government.

  7. On Topic: I can’t vouch for the source (can’t be any worse than the Daily Fail) but it has an interesting bit:…..tter-page/

    A petition was launched on The Petition Site, in an attempt to get Pine reinstated on the school’s football team. However on his Twitter page, Pine makes it clear that he “quit football about a year ago due to grades.” The petition was later changed to reflect that it wanted Pine’s suspension revoked.

    1. In fact, here’s his twitter page where he himself says being kicked from the team isn’t true: /status /647406382740705280

      “I quit football about a year ago due to grades. They made up that story with little bits of info”

      1. Honest too. Maybe I’ll hire this kid as an enforcer. At least I know he won’t lift any of the “product”.

        1. I wish Reason could be a bit more honest. Specifically, from an article titled: “Why We Keep Falling For Bullshit From The Daily Mail”.

          1. Did you hear about the graphic sex ED class given to preschoolers in Flo-I-duh? Totes true.

            1. That’s nothing. They said that the Basingstoke MP is a Werewolf that spreads Communism!

            2. And I read the retraction on that. So how does it happen again so soon?

      2. That’s how it is with student athletes though,football in particular. The media has their template,” football player suspended/arrested”, and they run with it every chance they get. One coach I know from online forums saw a headline a few years ago in the local paper that said ” Former football player arrested for theft”. His response: “That kid only came out for football his freshman year and quit before the first game! But he took English all four years, why don’t they put”Former English Student” in the headline?”

        1. I don’t know about all of that. But, while I’m sure there are injustices like this out there, there’s no excuse for not doing the basic fact-checking to make sure that the truth is being told. It’s such a perfect slab of red meat – All-American football player and muy macho white knight unjustly persecuted by The Man – that it should have felt too good to be true.

  8. Actually, we’re already enforcing *negative* tolerance.

  9. There are very weak people out there. That is why they would sacrifice the lives of families, and students if they had the chance to strip away an individual’s right to self defense. This is just so they feel secure. They are far too weak to ever take away the right to self defense from someone themselves, so they use the state to threaten, or disarm others.

    Remember the pants wetters that used to say “oh, you’re in martial arts, your hands are registered weapons”. That stems from their pants wetting parents who look in horror that someone is able to defend themselves. They want other kids to be just as weak as theirs.

    So one of these pants wetters got to a position to make school law, that punishes someone for defending themselves or someone else. The one that is going to agress against others isn’t concerned for the rules, just like a criminal couldn’t give two shits about registration or gun laws. They are going to commit violence regardless. So make everyone equally weak is the answer, and rely on folks in blue costumes to arrive and clean up the mess. Then deflect the blame and yearn for more control, and making folks ever more defenseless.

  10. The jock screwed up. He should have used this method and helped his friend fight back for himself.

    Then the school couldn’t have done shit to him.

    1. So underrated. It was no Stir Crazy but that was a damn funny movie.

    2. I can’t believe that wasn’t this clip:

      No love for Rutger?

      1. I’ll take Wilder and Pryor over that piece of shit movie any day of the week.

  11. Zero tolerance is the public school equivalent of “I was just following orders.”

  12. Rico, if you want names, the dude that cracked the attacker is named here:…..suspended/

    And he is also named in the local Los Angeles ABC7 article. I read an article a few days ago naming the bully, but I can’t find it now. His first name was definitely Noah, though.

    1. Looks like the school did the right thing then.

  13. This is just fucking stupid bro.

    1. You mad bro!
      *pulls shirt off, holds arms back, leans face in*

      1. You wouldn’t have gotten even that far.

        All of that showmanship shit is for amateurs, and is a test on how much further they can escalate things. Folks think others can’t defend themselves…….until they run across someone that can, and all that showmanship gets smashed into the ground.

  14. The school claimed he hadn’t been on the team since last year.

  15. Daily Mail: the unnamed teen repeatedly beating his blind classmate around the head

    Yeah, teenage boys do that a LOT. Never heard it called the “blind classmate”, though.

    1. One-eyed snake?

  16. Public schools = DMV

  17. I can’t find the link at the moment, but that kid was not being a bully. The legally blind (not completely blind) kid apparently has mild autism and was picking a fight with the “bully”. The “bully” never even met the legally blind kid and was just defending himself. Then he gets cold-clocked from behind by the so-called hero.

      1. Doesn’t seem like it to me. Kid had his hands up, blocking his head. He wasn’t striking, othe guy was. Even if he was “picking” a fight, the guy didn’t have to repeatedly hit the kid in the head. Besides, who says this guy is telling the truth. Gets shown to be a bully, tries to spin it his way. Certainly a possibility.

  18. On the plus side, this school is doing a great job teaching students about the arbitrary and capricious nature of an unaccountable government run by bureaucrats.

  19. There’s a wider, more important issue here than just inflexible school bureaucracy. By its actions here, what the school administration is effectively teaching the student body is that no matter what, they are to obey and be completely dependent upon higher authorities. The implication of punishing the rescuer is to say that what he should have done is to have tracked down a teacher, told the teacher what was happening, and then stand idly by as the authorities handled the situation. It’s effectively teaching these students to be sheep dependent on a shepherd to protect them from the wolves.

  20. Reminds me of a time during my senior year when I saw one of my classmates, this younger nerdy kid named Doug, getting hit by a 10th grader. I walked over, picked the 10th grader up and shoved him into the wall. “If I ever see you hit Doug again, I’m going to kill you.” One of those moments of karma since I used to be bullied when I was younger.

    1. I could never stand bullies. They all deserved what was coming to them. Bretzky is so damned right too in his above comment.

  21. Everything about this story is incorrect.

    -victim isn’t blind
    -victim isn’t victim; he started the fight
    -bully isn’t bully; he was fighting back
    -hero sucker punched him, head hit concrete
    -hero wasn’t on the football team this year

    The Stupid surrounding this event is…..common these days, unfortunately.

    1. Yeah, if you hadn’t noticed, most are commenting on the school policy and bullies themselves.

    2. Do you realize that you are messing up the narrative? After all what’s more important; Moral outrage over injustice, or the truth?

    3. Thanks, I’ve updated my story.

      Do you have a source for the claim that “the victim isn’t blind”?

  22. WTF? If the kid was a cop, you’d all be screaming for his head on a platter.
    Bully was wrong but to cold cock someone? What if the HERO had just stabbed the bully. Would that be OK because, “he had it coming”?
    At some point you are just bullying a bully.
    Bloodlust is alive and well only we have approved outlets for it.

    1. ” the criminal code in a state as blue as California permits violence in defense of another(provided you use no more than is reasonably necessary to end the threat)”

      Threat stopped.

      He didn’t stab him.

      He didn’t jump him and continue beating him.

      He stopped the threat.

  23. Shoddy, all around, Reason. Yes, I have no use for zero tolerance. However, I use articles here to inform others about libertarian values. One story like this, and my ability to use Reason as a credible source is pretty much shot. Not only should there be an update, there should be a retraction and apology.

  24. My brother and my mother are both blind. This guy is a hero. Period.

  25. So, in other words, if one of the students is getting raped, the other students shoudnt stop him, they should just go get one of the teachers and wait for them to come over. Good to know. These zero tolerance policies just mae our schools targets of violent rapists

    Its reductio ad absurdum, but it isnt actually that far fetched. Ill bet a lot of rapists could plan it out, do it in a semi secret location, and get it done in 1-2 minutes. Think there arent guys who wouldnt do that ?

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