Exclusive UPDATE: Mother of Special Ed. Pennsylvania Bullied Teen Speaks Out as They Battle Court Conviction

By: Priscilla Jones
72

UPDATE:

For the first time, since her teen son was convicted of disorderly conduct for recording bullies in his classroom, Shea Love, the mother of that student, is speaking out.

Benswann.com is the first media outlet in the country to reveal that student to you, after he was bullied at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania and then punished for speaking up.

Christian Aaron True Stanfield, a sophomore, claims to have been bullied for months in his first year at South Fayette High School. On February 11, he made an audio recording of one bullying incident during his special education math class. Stanfield used his school approved iPad to make a seven-minute audio recording of the incident. Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping. Our original story was first reported here, where we have detailed that bullying incident.

“Christian chose the most responsible route possible for a student who felt he had no power and no voice in order to change the negative environment that he was forced to be in every day. If we are ever going to change the culture of violence in our schools, we need to look at Christian’s actions not criminally, but rather as a profound cultural step in the right direction for kids who don’t feel they are being heard,” says Christian’s mother Shea Love.

As we reported, Christian’s actions were treated criminally, however, after his mother contacted the school. Shea listened to the recording before contacting administrators. The recording included repeated abusive and vulgar language from students as Christian was receiving help from a math teacher. After Christian’s mother heard it, she called the school at 8:00 a.m. on February 12 and spoke with Dean of Students Joseph Silhanek. Principal Milburn immediately consulted with the school’s attorney on the matter before calling the police. When Shea Love arrived at the school at approximately 10:20 a.m., she found her 15-year-old son visibly distraught in a wooden chair in the middle of the room, surrounded by school administrators and the police. She was advised over the phone at 10:00 a.m. that her son had committed a crime and was being questioned.

“Christian had the courage to be vulnerable as a whistleblower in order to create change where it was desperately needed. The school’s zero tolerance response (to electronics use) is the very type of action that creates the dangerous situations we have in our school today. Some of our children are choosing anger and deadly outbursts in order to be heard,”
said Shea Love.

Instead of punishing the bullying students who were recorded on his iPad, it was Christian who served a Saturday detention for making the recording. Then, he was required to appear in front of a magistrate judge on charges of disorderly conduct. Stanfield’s mother said the school’s attorney was present at the March trial but refused to state his entire name to the court reporter. “When she asked him about his identity, he said that he was not involved,” Love said. “The court reporter asked him for his name and he just barked that his name was Wolfe.”

During the hearing, Lt. Robert Kurta testified that he consulted with the Allegheny District Attorney’s office before following up on the case, saying, “I made the decision to file a citation, summary citation, locally to be heard by our magistrate because I believe that he (Stanfield) committed a crime and that there should be some — he should in some way answer for it.”


Originally, Lt. Kurta indicated that Christian could be charged with a wiretapping felony. For clarification, law enforcement officers do not have the authority to charge anyone with a crime. When asked why the wiretapping charge was not officially made, Kurta testified, “That violation is a felony, and had I filed a felony charge against your client, and had he been adjudicated delinquent through juvenile court, that’s a record…”

On Wednesday, March 19, District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet opened the trial by stating that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was charging Christian Stanfield with disorderly conduct. The accused never entered a plea, but McGraw-Desmet found him guilty and ordered that he pay a fine.

“Christian’s willingness to advocate in a non-violent manner should be championed as a turning point. If Mr. Milburn and the South Fayette school district really want to do the right thing, they would recognize that their zero-tolerance policies and overemphasis on academics and athletics have practically eliminated social and emotional functioning from school culture. They should make it a top priority to use this incident as a catalyst for social and emotional change in the district and pioneer the way for other districts to follow.

“Mr. Milburn, will you stand by Christian’s side in court April 29 or will you still be looking down at him from the other side?” asked Shea Love.

Christian Stanfield is preparing a statement of his own to give on April 29, the day of his appeal hearing. Ben Swann will have the exclusive story.

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Priscilla Jones

Priscilla Jones is a business writer and communications strategist based in the nation's capitals—Austin and D.C. Shedding light on incidences of abuse by overreaching government entities is her passion. Priscilla pens political humor pieces, a few of which are pure satire. When authentic investigative journalism is required, however, she delivers. Her beats are the criminal "justice" system, the security industry, and gun + private property rights. If you have a lead, please contact her. She is PatriotWriter on Twitter.

  • Violence Againt Men is OK

    What was the gender of the students doing the bullying?

    That’s an important question because female bullying of male students is laughed at by female teachers and it has probably always been that way.

    I’m a man who was viciously bullied by female students as a child and so were many of my male classmates. It was encouraged by the faculty who thought it was funny and accused you of being a “sissy” if you complained about it.

    At the grade school I went to in the early sixties, boys sat at the back of the class and girls at the front. Corporal punishment of boys was a routine occurrence (yard stick or wooden pointer across the knuckles) and girls were never touched. All of the teachers and the principle were females except for a sixth grade teacher who acted as the disciplinarian and they were all openly hostile toward the male students.

    I doubt very seriously that things have changed very much.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      as quoted from here http://aattp.org/special-ed-student-who-recorded-bullies-tormenting-him-accused-of-felony-wiretapping/

      “Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son
      explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to
      hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims,
      “What? I was just trying to scare him!” A group of boys are heard laughing.”

      its highly probable sir, that the bullies were multigendered as mine were. I was bullied by both sexes. If i had to guess it was a matter of popularity. they had lots of friends, better clothes, better grades, better atheletic ability so they got better treatment.

      • Violence Against Men is OK

        In my case it was only the girls who did the taunting and it was always over the cloths I had to wear. We had eight children in our family and money was very tight so I had one change of cloths. I wore one while the other was in the wash, which my mother had to haul to a laundry mat once a week.

        My male schoolmates were my strength. They would tell me not to take it seriously because it was just a bunch of girls who were all rotten. My mother would say the same thing and after a while I was able to just shrug it off.

        I would just like to see children be able to go to school without being bullied. Most of the faculty in these schools are women and for some reason they seem to get off on the children torturing each other. That was how it was in my experience anyway and it is probably the same everywhere you go.

        • Beatrix Muircastle

          I’m so sorry mate.
          a girl knocked on my clothes too, in front of a teacher and that old bitch did nothing. the prissy little bitch said I was on welfare. I said I wasn’t she said “well you dress like it” if I told her to eff off you can beat I’d be reprimanded.

  • Shea Love

    Male. The teacher was female. I am so sorry that you had to endure that-
    Shea Love

    • fjodor

      Your sons story is nothing less than appalling…

      The reaction from the school was nothing less than horrendous to read about.

      I cannot really fathom how it even is possible for Milburn to even justify this at all while completely neglecting the schools duty to ensure a safe and sound environment for all of its students. I truly hope that this will have some consequences for the school and that Christian will be acquitted. Not only acquitted on all accounts but that he is adequately compensated this injustice and for all the bullying he have had to endure as well.

      Wish you all the best and good luck from Norway.

    • Mesocyclones

      I’m really sorry this is happening to you. I hope you win your court case. I’m your age and also a USAF vet. I cant believe these kinds of things are happening in this country now. It is really sad. Btw, how can such a pretty woman be single? ;-) Good luck and keep up the fight!

    • Violence Against Men is OK

      Thanks for responding.

      Boys are heavily discriminated against in the school system and very few people are willing to stand up for male children.

      Hope it turns out well for you, but millions of boys nationwide are being thrown under the bus by a school system that is run by and for females. Below is a link to proof of my concerns.

      http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2003-08-28-our-view_x.htm

      • Paula Heady

        Culturally and historically girls have been more obedient, however, that is changing. Unfortunately, male children are indeed abused from a very early age. They tend to be physical, fidgety and need to move around. Sitting for hours isn’t healthy anyway. When they move or talk out they are punished, often with ridicule, threats, coercion none of which leads to trust, cooperation or respect.

        • Beatrix Muircastle

          and medication. an over whelming number of boys are diagnosed with adhd. while some cases are probably legitimate I’m concerned that a lot of kids maybe pushed on to unneeded psychiatric drugs.

          • Paula Heady

            Of course they are. The profit motive of pharmaceutical companies is well-established.

  • Shaunna Hargrave

    This is such insanity.

  • AJ_Olding

    This is part of the reason why formal education is nearing its end. If you’re abused at work you quit. If you’re abused in a relationship, you dump the person. If you’re abused at school, then what? The government says you have to be there.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/victorcypert/ Victor T Cypert

    Judge McGraw-Desmet is a disgrace to the bench and should be impeached immediately.

  • Abe

    I see that Dr. Carver of Newtown (ME) was the same ER Dr. in PA!! Punch & Judy!!!

  • Ray Dees

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot !!

  • eyesandears

    And these school officials labeling this a ‘crime’ in all likelihood take no issue with the NSA’s illegal behavior.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      they are just acting like spoiled 9 year olds that get caught doing something wrong. they were caught not stopping the bullying and so they did what they probably did as kids blame the victim.

  • denise0513

    I thought if no plea was entered, the judge had to hold the case over for trial? I did not think judges had the right to enter a plea for you.

    • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

      Normally they don’t, I think. But the rules are very strange for students. Generally, the in loco parentis clauses in student contracts (that students and parents are required to sign) can be used to compel students to do (nearly) anything.

  • CJames24x

    Come on Christian charity – Is there no one that can help this kid? Anyone close by that can maybe help him be homeschooled or find a decent charter school? My heart breaks for him. I wish I lived closer. Shame on the bullies, their poor excuse for parents and the horrible school. Someone needs to look into this district and see if they should get their funding reduced. I certainly don’t want my tax dollars supporting them!

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      I barely blame the kids. they go by what they are taught. They are taught they can manipulate and harass a kid by not being punished for it. One day they may wake up as adults and think “my god I was a monster…. how could I be so cruel? I hope that kid’s ok.” they may even find him and apoligize. but the school? they have the sheild of immunity to reasposiblity. they are passing the blame to the students and might even die indivdully never regreting their actions and inactions. its sad is what it is. thats why we have to shame the school now.

      • Wes

        They did just that for me…. 25 years later.

        • Beatrix Muircastle

          one girl did for me too. the funny thing was she wasn’t quite that bad. but it was still nice to hear.

  • Tamra Louviere

    Disgusting!

  • LoneWiseMan

    Don’t really care about the bullying. It’s like worrying about jealousy or something equally unfightable.

    I do however care about being able to freely record people. I’m not sure of the laws concerning privacy while in a public school though.

  • Claire Surname

    well done young man, you are a smart, decent and proper person and have
    displayed patience, intelligence and courage in your stand. You will be
    an inspiration to others within your school and community as you act as a
    catalyst for change. Your voice is being heard – around the world no
    less, and I applaud you, stand beside you in spirit on your journey,
    and say to you Bravo!
    with respect,
    Claire (in Australia)

  • Shea Love

    Please share with everyone! I want this t go viral.
    There is power in numbers!

    Please join us in support of having Christian True Stanfield conviction over turned!
    April, 29th at 8:15 am at the City-county Bldg.
    8th floor, room 21
    414 Grant street
    Shea Love!

    • shayneo

      Shea, give your boy a hug for us all who don’t live your neck of the woods. Your son did nothing wrong. His story is now going around the internet , his schools acts are now infamous and in the eye of the public the moral truth of your lads actions are convincing.

      I would also suggest contacting the ACLU about this. This sort of thing is right up their alley.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      Your son is a good man. its not his fault that grown ups are acting like little children.
      I hope you sue those jerks.

    • savage

      Prayers go out to you and your son, he is a good man. Unlike some of the adults around hin

  • Sue

    Psychiatry was allowed in the school system in the mid 60′s and has gone down from there. They changed texts, omitted vital data, changed learning methods and took away moral codes to live by. They gave our kids drugs, labels, PC, metal detectors, school police, locked gates and arrest. This sort of thing would never have happened back then. It’s time to get rid of them and get back to normal.

  • Archibald UK

    Damn, you americans are really screwed up!

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      Sir… this behavior is human behavior. all around the world there are teachers that favor certain students who then use their teacher protected status to target and bully an unpopular student, bystander kids that don’t get involved, and teachers that do nothing. If they are caught red handed they will do anything to get out of trouble especially pass the blame to the victim. this time is was caught in the united states. the next case might be in the UK or Japan or China. I will never however state that an entire country is really screwed up based on a handful of cowards picking on one disabled kid.

  • JunkChuck

    Ms. Love, you MUST take these people to task, all of them, for what seems to be cowardly and possibly corrupt misconduct. Who are these bullies that the administration has taken such risks to protect them. Show them–and the world–that this will not stand, that truth must win out, by taking what the institution holds dear (money) and what the administrators value most (their careers). They must be punished. Clean them out. Strip them bare.

  • stephaniepalmer

    What’s really good about this is that all of the students know the worst that can be done to them by all of the people who have power over them. The reaction shown by these so-called “leaders” have been shown to be afraid and truly cowardly, not to mention thoroughly unable to perform their function. They should all be fired for misfeasance, and the person claiming to be a judge, should be impeached. But it’s also indicative of the total lack of leadership in the elected governor and legislature and their disregard for our public school system. A lot of them are running for re-election, choose your votes wisely.

  • Dave

    Wow are we missing some facts here? Because this just seems SO outrageous and stupid (the school’s reaction that is)…

    By the way, very good looking young man! I can’t wait until he steals the bullies’ girlfriends away.

    Best wishes to the Love family

  • RU_Nutz

    “The recording included repeated abusive and vulgar language from students as Christian was receiving help from a math teacher.”

    So for the 7 minutes this recording was being made the teacher did nothing to stop the bullying.
    Teacher needs to be fired and the bullying kids suspended or expelled. Why should the victim be the only one forced to be held accountable for their actions.

  • Red
    • Beatrix Muircastle

      I mailed him, the vp every teacher in specail ed and special needs pretty much shaming them.

  • G Fisher

    I would like to point out that, while the school said, “we would have dealt with this had the bullying been reported,” Christian DID report it when he presented the recording. The school has lined themselves up for a lawsuit by not even dealing with the bullying accusation. Shea – go get these bastards.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      this is how they deal with it obviously… by punishing the victim.

  • butch Swaim

    This is stupid. How is this wiretapping? No phone involved. What, you can’t record the things that happen around you anymore? This is moronic.

  • Calliope Technicolor

    Where is the “anti-victim blaming” crowd on this issue? Oh, that’s right, this was a BOY that was victimized, so victim blaming is okay. Today’s feminists only care about victims if they’re born with vaginas.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      um…sir we are angry. please read our posts we are extremly angry and I want to see teachers fired preferly from a catapult in to a steaming pile of pig droppings. no child should have to be harassed. I’m sorry if you encountered a woman that made you feel this way but not all feminists hate men in fact many of us respect them. I personaly would like to live in a world were everyone is treated justly and any teacher tht ignores bullying be charged with a crime of somekind. possibly child neglect and contributing to the deliquency of a minor. This is not okay. it will never be ok heads should roll, this fine young man needs to know that there are grown ups that don’t suck.

    • Kitty Davenport

      STFU Every good person who reads this is infuriated.Including those of us who are feminists and are against victim blaming. Its not about gender. It is about protecting our children. Now kindly fucker off. Maybe if you were not such an ass reaming douche nozzle women wouldnt deny you physical affection. Get some therapy.

      • Calliope Technicolor

        And there’s the feminist attitude in a nutshell.

        • Kitty Davenport

          Damn skippy! Feminists care about justice for all genders, races, ages and walks of life. And we dont take kindly to assholes. Got it? Now go get that therapy. You need it.

  • fud

    The Dean, Principal, Arresting Officer, Prosecuting Attorney and Judge all need bullets in their heads.

  • Ben

    I find the judge’s claim that people in a *public* school classroom should have an expectation of privacy. It seems to me that a forum moderated by a person being payed via public tax dollars in a building that was payed for by public tax dollars should be considered a *public* setting with no expectation of privacy. The teacher should expect his/her work to be audited at the whim of the tax payer. Also, anyone performing bullying in a public school should not have an expectation of privacy. If the lack of privacy has a chilling effect on someone’s ability to bully other students then the lack of privacy is a service to the public interest.

    In regards to the legal definition of “disorderly conduct,” it seems one of the bullies admitted to performing disorderly conduct by stating: “What? I was just trying to scare him!”

    The judge seems to have a double standard by saying the recording could be disorderly conduct when the bully that is clearly performing disorderly conduct should have an expectation of privacy.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      I find the judge an idiot in the fact that they knew the kid was recording class and they recorded themselves by tormenting him during class time. I would even state that the judge should be disbarred. mostly stemming from my belife that he is not very intelligent.

  • Pat

    Why not start by contacting all the advocacy groups for the disabled you can find. Send all of them a message. Every day let these groups with the knowledge and experience come down on the tyrant of a principal, and see if the tune dose not change.

  • MamaRoo

    People in school should be free to learn in a bully free environment. Look at all the other examples of kids that have resorted to violence because they were bullied. The way the school handled this it looks like no matter what they do, the kids bullied are going to end up in court. With that thought in mind, what victim WOULDN’T do the most damage?

  • kitkittles

    I wonder if it was one of the athletic stars or a cheerleader with influential parents, would they have been treated the same way?

  • Kitty Davenport

    I live in PA and our daughter attends a Cyber school. This may be a better option for this boy.

  • pringles

    Just to help inform the conversation:

    Pennsylvania’s wiretapping law is a “two-party consent” law. Pennsylvania makes it a crime to intercept or record a telephone call or conversation unless all parties to the conversation consent. See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5703 (link is to the entire code, choose Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter B, and then the specific provision).

    The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an “expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.” See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5702 (link is to the entire code, choose Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter A, and then the specific provision). Therefore, you may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place without consent. However, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you is private.

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      the school consented to the recording.
      The students were harassing him during class time when they knew they were being recorded. if he recorded them in the bathroom harassing him then it doesn’t fall under the protection of the classroom consent but that wasn’t the case.

  • Nick.H

    A Change.org petition supporting Christian and Ms. Love has been created. Please take a moment and sign. Perhaps it won’t help to influence change but hopefully it will demonstrate support.

    http://goo.gl/Q6MC6G

    • Beatrix Muircastle

      signed

    • Salade Légume

      Signed

    • Mike Haynes

      Signed

  • Me

    A little digging returned the “attorney” present – I’m sure he’ll turn on his client in a heartbeat to protect his own pathetic skin – what an abuse of authority:

    SOUTH FAYETTE SCHOOL DISTRICT
    Phone #412-221-4542 Ext. 8416 Fax #412-693-2883
    FRED WOLFE, ESQUIRE, Tucker Arensberg, P.C.
    Phone #412-594-5562 Fax #412-594-5619

  • Me
  • NicolasGonzalezOddone

    @shea_love:disqus I’m in utter disbelief!, I’d encourage you push the limits of the moronic staff and principals of the school to make a public apology for failing to act on a simple principle of defending the abused and upholding at least a semblance of moral values by which any educational institution should be governed, definitely try to get your kids out of there if possible in the future as they clearly are totally insensitive and unable to grasp elemental human relationship handling. Go public, go to the media, use social networks… the fact that something simple as taking corrective measures punishing the bullis has been overlooked and displaced by wiretapping charges is absurd. As someone bullied I can relate, i knew the idi0ts that were giving me a hard time in school had it bad at home, and have it bad in life now, the lack of a proper tool at hand to smash their faces and having to confront my parents afterwards were reasons that it dragged for me as school authorities were quite useless at doing anything about it although they addressed the issues.

    Hope you and your son get justice and a public apology to say the least!

  • Chris

    How can I and my son support this family! !!! As an educator and parent of a bullied child this is just outrageous!!!! Ever school official involef in this case needs to open their eyes and see who the victim really is!!!! This behavior has to be stopped

  • Contrarymary

    So they are angry that their lil fake empire, was breached and shown to be the hellhole that it really is. Makes perfect sense when you look at it from their evil perspective.

  • AngryBirdFliesAway

    Name of that shitty lawyer(from the school board): Frederick J. Wolfe
    Works in : Tucker Arensberg Attorneys – http://www.tuckerlaw.com/attor
    Possible Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frede
    LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/f

    (412) 594-5573
    [email protected]
    Fax: (412) 594-5619
    Pittsburgh Office

    “His experience includes:

    Negotiation, drafting and implementation/administration of collective bargaining agreements for both private sector clients and numerous school districts, municipalities and municipal authorities under Acts 88 and 195, as well as collective bargaining and interest arbitration with police under Act 111

    All aspects of employee hiring, promotion, discipline and discharge with a particular emphasis in professional and non-professional public school employees and police both under civil service and the Police Tenure Act

    Interpretation of statutory, regulatory and constitutional matters as they apply to municipalities, school districts and their employees; advising clients on matters involving municipal powers, duties and obligations under applicable statutory and regulatory authority, public official liability and immunity, student and student discipline matters and drafting of ordinances, policies, resolutions and related matters

    Grievances and arbitration hearings involving a broad range of issues

    Practicing before the PLRB and NLRB, litigating numerous unfair labor practice charges, election and certification/decertification issues and unit clarification petitions

    Fred serves as solicitor or special labor counsel to several school districts, municipalities and municipal authorities. He has frequently represented employers before the:

    Equal Employment Authority Commission

    Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

    Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and in State and Federal Courts for alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Equal Pay Act and common law tort claims

    He routinely counsels clients regarding their obligations and potential for liability to those above referenced regarding all employment legislation and other topics such as wage and hour matters. He has also drafted numerous employee policies, employee handbooks and Civil Service Rules & Regulations.

    Areas of Practice: Fred’s areas of practice include School and Municipal Law, Labor & Employment, Litigation

    Jurisdictions: Fred is admitted to practice before all Pennsylvania State Courts.

    Education and Background: Fred received his BA, cum laude, from Washington and Jefferson College in 1986 and his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1989. “

    • MrFox

      Why focus on the few individuals that simply followed the system? Yay we can punish a few people for causing public uproar. This problem is so common in US culture, but everyone ignores it. Apparently they forget about being bullied when they leave high school. Think of the school shootings, even with something extreme and horrible like that the US answer is to arm school teachers and keep ignoring the real problem. And you just do the same: punish a few easy and obvious targets, then everyone can go back to ignoring the real problem.

  • Kitty Davenport

    I was so happy to hear all charges were dropped against the young man! However I am still deeply angry that this happened and that the evidence was destroyed. Bullying is not acceptable. A follow up story linked to this one would be great. I would like to hear how we can help and what is going to happen next to the bullies, the principal and for the young man.