Rehabilitation should not supplant justice, and in this case, the juvenile thugs who attacked and sadistically filmed their attack of the late Adriana Kuch of Bayville in a school hallway, must receive proper justice.
We cannot treat this merely as an opportunity “to reform troubled youth,” or to scrounge around for ways to somehow justify the unspeakable behavior of those who attacked – in the most cowardly way – an innocent victim.
The other students who attacked, beat and filmed Miss Kuch while she wailed in agony, need to go to jail.
They don’t need to be coddled.
We don’t need to put them on a couch and figure out what went wrong and why they unleashed vicious violence on Miss Kuch.
They need to be summarily prosecuted and punished.
They need to suffer just retribution for their heinous crime.
They need to rightfully suffer the consequences of awful and vile actions wrought. They need to serve as a human deterrent to those who think our society can rectify these thugs’ surprise beating of a young and defenseless woman by mollifying criminal behavior. Keep in mind these thugs also filmed their beating in real time with phone cameras and later posted it on social media.
Apparently, by posting that video, they had confidence that they could skirt justice, or lacked all concept of justice in the belief that in publicizing their crime, they would receive social validation.
We must send a message that we will not tolerate this barbaric and violent act.
We have not collectively crossed the line into acquiescence to a cowardly gang nightmare.
The juveniles who attacked Arianna Kuch in the hallway need to go to jail.
This case reflects back so much horror, so much incompetence and awful behavior, by scared and/or callous and thoughtless adults in positions of power; people like former superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides, who in a school email to reporters wrote of a grieving father in the aftermath of Adriana Kuch’s death, “[He] is very upset and has lost his child so sometimes you have to eat the sh-t sandwich.”
Mercifully, he resigned.
But the professional deflation of adults who can’t take responsibility for the horrific injustice that occurred at Central Jersey High School on Feb. 1st should not obfuscate the central appalling act.
All juveniles, and so charged, three of the four girls who attacked Ms. Kuch stand accused of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, while one of them is charged with aggravated assault, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billheimer.
The parents in Bayville determined to find justice in our society behind merely probation and mental health treatment for the perpetrators of that crime, deserve a demonstration of our justice system righteously at work in this case.
So does Adriana Kuch, it goes without saying – but she’s not around anymore.
She won’t receive the benefit of mental health treatment.
While the courts address that case, and by the grace of God, summon a way to administer proper punishment, the New Jersey Legislature continues to fashion a policy response to the fiasco. As it stands, recording an assault and posting it online is not illegal.
Right now, lawmakers are examining a two-prong anti-bullying law that includes a zero-tolerance policy requiring school officials to contact law enforcement any and every time an assault on a minor takes place within the school. The contact with law enforcement will occur in addition to normal student discipline. Also, the law would ensure consequences for people who video tape and share an assault of a minor/student via text or social media.
That is useful, to be sure.
We have much more to do, certainly.
We must persist – against the odds – in the fervent belief that we can create a civilized society.
Part of what it means to be civilized is to accept the consequences of our actions, to teach our children the same; and to appropriately punish those who harm our precious children – even those who are young themselves, if we truly still believe in imparting a lesson; if there is any hope left, in fact, for justice to be done in the savage attack of a young and beautiful spirit, lost in our midst.