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Casey Heynes

Casey Heynes – hero or villain?

The story goes that Casey Heynes, a pupil at a secondary school in Western Sydney [NOT Mt Druitt, but perhaps nearby], was bullied for months (in some reports his entire life) by these kids and in all that time he just took it but this last time it was just too much.

Heynes and the bully in the video are reported to have been suspended.

Sir Roger spoke to an expert in bullying who went to an English boarding school (you know, the ones where bullying was not only an art form but an essential part of the social training for the upper classes).

“Well, the real villain where bullying happens at school is the education system, and in the school specifically the Principal and staff are the first best suspects. And the parents of the bullying boys. And the other children who do and say nothing.

Principals are the chief offenders because the culture of any school – staff and students – is a direct and palpable reflection of its Principal. You can fairly surmise, about any Principal in a school where bullying occurs at this level, that there is a real question over whether he or she has any serious commitment to stopping or punishing bullying – as contrasted with the nicely languaged anti-bullying policy in official documents and websites.

Teachers in any school, paid partly to supervise students, simply cannot be unaware of bullying in their school or of the identity of those likely to be bullies – except by deliberate ignorance.

Other students who know, and even watch, and do not intervene against bullies, or even report it, are cowards and slime.

Governments have legislation that holds schools responsible for stopping bullying, creating an anti-bullying culture, and maintaining strict procedures to stop it and to handle it when it does occur. Schools are awash with videos, books and pamphlets about bullying.

Sadly, in some schools the biggest bullies can be teachers who know how to control classes only with intimidation, threats and punishment.

In this case, all the school, the Principal, seems to have done is to blameshift their own apparently appalling negligence and, of course, punish the victim!”

Says Sir Roger’s expert,

“Let’s be clear about this. Bullies are cowards. The worst sort of cowards. They take out their own insecurities or feelings of insignificance on people who are weaker than they are. Always. It is the only way they can feel any power at all.

But almost worse than bullies are the people who let them get away with it. How do we learn our behaviours? We repeat the ones that work. So people who give in to bullies teach them to continue bullying.

The other way bullies learn to bully is by example. And that is too often the example of fathers who slap their kids around to teach them a lesson, or because they’re drunk, or because assaulting their own children, or their wives, is the only way they can feel any power in their own lives. And the children learn that the power lies in the knuckle.

As in so many other areas of life, the abused becomes the abuser.”

Casey Heynes’ school claims that it does have (*clutches pearls*) an anti-bullying policy. They “work hard“, it says, they have a “plan“, they say, that “outlines strategies“, and they urge people to report bullying. Clearly something has gone wrong with this plan. Because all over the internet, all over the world, everyone can see it doesn’t work. And the most likely reason for that is that they don’t really mean it and it’s just lip-service and hopefulness. In fact, here’s what they say about student safety:

We create and maintain a safe school environment by protecting the wellbeing of our students and promoting positive relationships between students.

Well, we can have a bit of a chuckle about this hollow, weasel-worded pap. Explain again how you protected Casey Heynes’ wellbeing over all this time? Help me to understand how this confronting video demonstrates the success of the strategies you have so carefully outlined in promoting “positive relationships between students“, rather than the abject failure of (*coughs*) leadership?

Sir Roger was bullied at school once. The bully never did it again. Never looked Sir Roger in the eye again. Sir Roger never touched a hair on his head, either. Sir Roger simply stood up to the bully, absorbed the pain and never gave in. The bully gave up, beaten by non-violence.

Sir Roger would never advocate the lengths to which Casey Heynes has gone here but he utterly understands it. And he thinks the school Principal and the entire teaching staff should be carpeted and demoted for dereliction of duty, or for cowardice. They have a strict, legal Duty of Care to Casey Heynes (and all the other bullying victims at the school that we don’t know about, but you can be certain there are several) and they have spectacularly failed to fulfill it.

If Sir Roger were Casey Heynes’ parents he would have the school and the Education Department in court.

Finally, the real hero of this incident is the one girl who intervened and told the taller bully to “back off”. Good on her. She’s got guts. And real character.

And to the bullies: All over the internet! Pwned! By Casey Heynes!

UPDATE:

An education department Spokesbot carefully selected its more softly-modulated vocaliser setting [the comma-separated “long-suffering, patient-with-the-children, yet-stern-with them, and-taking-no-nonsense” module], to say that the school doesn’t tolerate violence and deals with it according to a community-agreed discipline code’.

Of course it did.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Note the use of “community”. Beautifully finessed bet each way. Blame-sharing – “it’s not just us, the community agrees” – and responsibility-taking – “we consult with the community, you know”.

Know what? The school does tolerate violence. We know this because this was not the first time Casey Heynes has been bullied at the school and if it has happened before the school either knows about it or is derelict in its duty of care. The school’s discipline code might be one of those “should-have-‘em” lip-service things like mission and vision statements that nobody thinks about. We know they don’t care about it because if they did this incident would not have occurred.

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Comments

Comment from Honestly
Posted: 16 March, 2011 at 11:13 am

I know I speak for a lot of parents when I say that, if Casey were my boy, I’d be so proud of him for standing his ground and punching back. You don’t ever start fights, but some people can’t be reasoned with and if they escalate you need to stand up to them. I know I did, and now I’m a lawyer and the people who tried to bully me are unemployed nobodies in BFE, America.

Comment from Seriously
Posted: 16 March, 2011 at 8:40 pm

While I agree that the school system is at fault here and support Casey’s right to defend himself, I can and will not support the way he has done so. Lifting the other boy and driving him to the ground in the manner that he did (known in Mixed Martial Arts and Professional Wrestling as a Power Bomb) has the potential for serious harm, up to and including death. It seems a gross and unnecessary escalation, a disproportionate response. Surely a hard shove/slap or even closed fist strike to the chest would have served the same purpose with far less risk. Casey is being hailed as a hero, I wonder if those who do so would feel the same if the other boy had landed on his head. I wonder how many would be supporting him if this article read ‘Year 7 boy killed in brawl with much larger Year 10 student’.

Comment from roger migently
Posted: 16 March, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I get what you mean and I would agree if I thought that Casey Heynes was in anything like the frame of mind where he was able carefully to weigh the alternatives and make a considered choice of retaliatory action if any, or if he was able rationally to take into account the proportionality of his response and the possible outcomes and consequences. Looking at the video it seems to me that he “lost it” at long last and did what came to him (unthinkingly) to do. What came to him unthinkingly may well have been the examples he would have seen numerous times on television – Rugby League role model heroes delivering spear tackles, WWF heroes pile-driving their opponents into the canvas.
So while I, also, am opposed to violence, and knowing that non-violence is more effective in most cases if you know how to do it, I can’t imagine the thought crossed his mind for a moment after it all became too much.
And you are right that Casey is very lucky indeed that he didn’t more seriously injure the little twerp.
I don’t think Casey is a hero. I think he is a victim, not only of bullying but also of a society and an education system that has failed to teach children how to handle such situations and has not provided effective procedures to identify and manage potential bullies.

Comment from Mel
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 12:57 am

I agree with Roger, I think Casey’s actions were too much, but i think he snapped and just reacted. Being bullied myself in school, I just went one, and one day it got to much and I just lost it and ramped the bully into a wall, I didn’t see the wall and decide to do so I just reacted, under pressure and frustration and years or torment, I regretted losing my cool, and i’m not a violent person nor to I encourage it. But from watching the video this look similar to my reaction.

Comment from Steve
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 2:36 am

Actually, what you have here is poor Casey being trapped and targetted by a pack, and he responds in the same way *any* trapped and cornered animal would do.

And what if the bully had actually landed that punch effectively, and knocked out Casey? And Casey’s head had smashed into the concrete, cracking like an egg? Coma? Death?

Comment from Mira
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 7:28 am

Casey Support t-shirts generate money for the anti-bully movement. Bullying needs to be freakin stopped.
I was bullied so much when I was in school, until one day I had it with them!

http://www.dongster.us/casey/ got the t-shirts for his support. I love this boy!

Comment from Deb
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 10:35 am

In fairness, I don’t think you can say it’s entirely the school’s fault. Bullying is a complex issue – it’s influenced by the school, the family, the community. There are always bullies around, & any school that tells you there is no bullying on its campus is either lying or has its head in the sand. But you can take steps to promote a culture in which kids, teachers & parents respect & trust each other; so that bullying is minimised, and it’s exposed & nipped in the bud before it gets too bad. Every school has a “bullying policy”, but sometimes they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. Depends on if & how they implement the policy. Very sad story for all.

Comment from Deb
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 10:56 am

Who is Sir Roger anyway? I’ve just found your site & I quite like it (esp. the Saul Bellow quote – it totally explains Tony Abbott & Sarah Palin). But nowhere does Sir R explain who he is & how he came to be?????

Comment from William
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 11:58 am

What’s this crap about a disproportionate response? The bully was asked multiple times to leave him alone peacefully. The victim finally snapping and giving him the spanking he deserves is a standard human response. He may have been smaller but that doesn’t mitigate the crime, he deserved to get clobbered, next time don’t mess with someone twice your size and you won’t have someone twice your size deliver a beating on you.

Comment from Mick
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I only wish that as a kid who was mercilessly bullied, I had the same gumption that Casey did. Good on him I say!

Comment from doug z
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Seriously, we can talk about “what ifs” all day, but the facts of the matter are that the bullying was premeditated and the response of the victim was in all probability not, but rather a loss of control that was the culmination of years of provocation and torment. Had not Casey been punched repeatedly by the aggressor, he would not have been required to act in self defence, and we would not need to talk about the unforeseeable and unintended consequences of his (the victim’s) actions. We should not blame the victim.
Of greater concern to me than what might have happened to a little twerp who got what he deserved, is the fact that the school principal and the education department appear to be getting off scott free.

Comment from Samantha
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Casey is a hero! for all those small kids who can’t stand up for themselves…this little kid got exactly what he deserved and Casey had enough common sense to walk away after! Maybe something should be done to stop bullying other than teachers giving warnings because it does not work! bullies only understand action!

Comment from Dan
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Sorry… I know what I’m going to say is extremely incorrect but… hey… where the heck were the all-knowing adults when Casey needed them to prevent this?

Re the scenario where the punk lands on his head… What if Casey had sustained a major injury? What about psychological adverse effects of being bullied?

Casey must be helped, the little punk knew what he was doing was plain wrong!

Comment from roger migently
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Sir Roger Migently was born on 15 October 2006, a fully formed mature middle-aged man of very definite views and a love of his country as it is – that is, with the values it has long had, extended to everyone: egalitarianism, generosity of spirit, compassionate care for those less able to handle the crap life sometimes throws at all of us, the ability to tolerate anything but bullshit and a larrikin flair. He dislikes bullying (strangely enough) by little twerps or by big fat politicians of any party. He loves a good joke and tries to share his dry/wry sense of humour. He loves human beings of all kinds. He loves Australia. He is unspeakably grateful to live here right now. And he is full of pompous shit when he writes about himself. He likes to take on the tough guys because if he doesn’t, who will? He says what he thinks because he doesn’t want it ever to be said of him (especially by himself) that he didn’t speak up when he could. This has landed him in a spot of bother now and then.
If you would like to read about a spot of bother when he took on the Immigration Department (they tried to shut down his website with a letter some described as “frog-shit”), take a look here: http://valuesaustralia.com/blog/dear-dic/. Thank you for visiting!

Comment from doug z
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 9:48 pm

It’s funny, Deb, but the Saul Bellow quote made me think of Julia Gillard and Bob Brown! Perhaps all politicians are the same after all?

Comment from JW
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 10:24 pm

As a clinician in the field of child & adolescent mental health I pose a… not really a “what if”, but a “what now” question? Victim turned hero or are there concerns out there for further school violence being perpetuated? I wish I could pick up some people I know and slam them down on their head and walk away but… unfortunately that’s not socially appropriate. Has this poor little man set a precedent for the rest of his adolescence and adult life? Also what worries me… his supporters are telling stories re: how they were bullied as kids therefore he is in the right. Adults living vicariously through this young person’s troubling experience and using it as a justification for his actions could be detrimental to Casey and the young people who know him, his family, the school, etc. What is Casey’s self image and head space now after this vid has gone viral. What are the emotional/social/mental ramifications for the scrawny bully that nobody has any empathy for? So many bullies are abused themselves by the people who are meant to care about them. So many of the young people I work with have experiences of bullying, as victims and also perpetrators. I see the long term effects every day.

Comment from roger migently
Posted: 17 March, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Great points. If I read you correctly, Casey could have some identity issues from this. Is he the victim or some sort of icon? Already there are animated videos circulating, mythologising his exploits as an avenging superhero. I think what this episode may be revealing – given the spike in visitor numbers to this blog – is the hidden extent of bullying worldwide and the enormous amount of frustration and anger that this video has suddenly uncapped. You are right to be concerned about Ritchard Gale. Now I wonder whether he might have received a belting when he got home. He may be a victim/villain, as you say, and – as Sir Roger tried to point – out is thought to be often the case. It’s a society-wide issue and one which we are all individually responsible for solving.

Comment from Craig Williams
Posted: 18 March, 2011 at 6:05 pm

He is certainly not a villain. He was provoked until the adrenaline built up to level where he lost his temper. Shit happens. If the smaller kid had been killed it would have been tragic but people are not robots, we have emotions and we lose our cool, the kid was playing a dangerous game and he came unstuck. Bad luck.

For all the experts that think he should have walked away and dobbed the smaller kid in you are deluding your self. that would have made matters worse. he would have been labeled a dog and a coward. He did the right thing and he has been rewarded with the acclaim he deserves.

Comment from nathan
Posted: 18 March, 2011 at 6:08 pm

i do agree with everything that everyone says about this incident but that aside for a second………

whats with the language these guys really arent at the age where they should be talking like that!!! or is this what we expect because of the way they were raised what is society coming to

Comment from doug z
Posted: 18 March, 2011 at 9:25 pm

You get my vote for best comment, Craig Williams. People are not robots.

Casey did not stop to think “what if the little twerp lands on his head and breaks his neck when I pile-drive him into the ground”, or “gee, I would like to pile-drive this little twerp into the ground but I am deeply concerned about further school violence being perpetuated”. By all accounts he was just pushed too far, beyond the point where rational decision making guided his actions.

Adults who are living vicariously through this young person’s troubling experience have themselves probably been subjected to bullying, either as children or as adults, and they wish that they had stood up for themselves, so yes, rightly or wrongly they empathise with the young victim and take a possibly perverse pleasure in the fact that at least one perpetrator got what he deserved.

I re-iterate my earlier sentiments that the school and the education department should be held to account for failing in their duty of care to the children that we put in their charge.

Comment from peace of mind
Posted: 18 March, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Seriously, ‘Seriously’, you have no idea. A boy with no martial arts training picks up his bully and slams him. He doesn’t know it’s a ‘power bomb’, he doesn’t know how to fight as an alternative. All he wants to do is not be bullied. If he punched, he’d be black and blue. The bully had the dance steps going – punching was HIS forte. If a bully gets his head crushed by a kid who doesnt know the move – bad luck bully.

Comment from scott
Posted: 19 March, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Weak leadership, inaction, cowardly behavior is 100% the problem here. Principals and teachers are reluctant to raise their hand and admit they have a bullying problem because dealing with it is complicated and it is far easier to deny knowledge. Why is there this pressure on principals and teachers. Pressure comes from many sources – the “cool/ popular kids” are generally the bullies. Teachers want to have these guys on side so they get peace and quiet in the classroom – rub my back – I’ll rub yours – is a big part of it, some principals and teachers just want to fit in with the cool kids. Dare I open a can of worms and suggest that we treat/ punish kids/ adults according to race/religious beliefs/ culture and the politics of the day?

We have a long way to go in managing bullying and we cannot leave a single stone unturned. Hard and unpopular truths will need to be pointed out.

Casey is a long term victim of bullying and a victim of a society to weak to act. The little bully (who deserved everything he got) is also a victim of the bullying problem. Beating up kids is not cool – you will find yourself in jail but not before ruining someone else’s life with physical and mental trauma. Bullying is not fair.

Comment from Stfu seriously
Posted: 19 March, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Are you being serious? You obviously fail at sympathising, and you can’t reason what so ever. It MAY have had the potential to kill him, but DID it? No. So your point is invalid. Does the title read “ear 7 boy killed in brawl with much larger Year 10 student”? No, it does not. And even if it did, thats such a catchy 2 second news starter. When people look into the story, they would’ve realised that Casey was in the right. The bully deserves to die. Why would the kids parents let his ego get so big that he thinks he can bully somebody 4X larger than him? Was he really that spoilt? Furthermore, he posts “It didn’t hurt” on his FB page. Fine, it probably wasn’t him, but what can the public come to expect from this kid after what was depicted in the video? A remorseful, friendly, caring child? Forget that. That bully got what was coming to him, and I won’t have you or anybody else try and convince people otherwise.

Comment from roger migently
Posted: 19 March, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Hmm. I get your passion but none of us has a say in who “deserves” to die. No-one deserves to die. We just do. I think you’ll find the bully’s ego is extremely fragile and that is why he’s a bully. He’s a coward and a smart-arse but that comes from insecurity.

Comment from Jon
Posted: 20 March, 2011 at 12:46 am

Looks like nothing’s changed in St Marys in 25 years since I went to school there. The little shit got a small dose of his own medicine. Maybe he won’t be so cocky next time. Casey should receive the apology. Casey you should take up kick-boxing – you need it in St Marys.

Comment from roger migently
Posted: 20 March, 2011 at 1:30 am

That’s a bit disturbing, isn’t it! I was watching a video today about bullying in schools and the guy says one way to fight bullying is to talk to bullies about why they need to do it. If you get through to them, he says, they might cry and then perhaps you can roll them over and have them police bullying. It’s not so unlikely. I know of some kids who were done for bullying and shamed in front of the school. They all cried. I don’t like public humiliation, though, any more than I like bullying. But it sounds as if to get through all the bullies in St Marys would take quite a while?

Comment from Aaron
Posted: 20 March, 2011 at 4:55 am

I really enjoyed this article and forgive me for getting a little sidetracked, but I’m a little curious as to what/who Sir Roger is? Are you/he a online alter-ego or (though I doubt this as I read he was born in 2006) is he an actual person, and the 2006 birth date defines more of a psychological birth? Also, in what context do you prefer to be referred to? I apologise in advance if this isn’t the first time you’ve had to explain this.

Comment from roger migently
Posted: 20 March, 2011 at 11:03 am

[Ahem …] In the movies don’t you find that people tend not to suspect crazy or stupid people, you know, the crazy old lady, or the village idiot? But when they zoom in for a close-up there’s a knowing sparkle in their eye? And it turns out to be the hero in disguise, able to enter the inner sanctum, steal the dragon’s egg and rescue the damsel (or whatever)? For a little more on Sir Roger Migently’s earlier history you might like to read this: Monckton’s Shield.
By the way, although one is utterly egalitarian one feels some people can be a little over-familiar, ultra-close, super-presumptious, don’t you find? And so Sir Roger does like to maintain the honorific “Sir” to preserve a modicum of personal space. It also pleases the Baroness d’Migentlé to have her husband respected in this way. Plain “Roger” doesn’t seem to quite capture the Presence and Influence of the man, do you think? But Sir Roger’s friends call him “Sir R”. And so may you.

Pingback from Lifesupporters – Your online family friendly support forum.
Posted: 20 March, 2011 at 11:12 pm

[…] punched in the face for being “overweight''. During an interview with A Current Affair , Casey said he had been bullied almost every day at school and even contemplated suicide a year ago when […]

Pingback from FIJIAN COMMUNITY NEWS OVERSEAS » Blog Archive » Casey Heynes breaks silence over bully video
Posted: 21 March, 2011 at 11:21 am

[…] an interview with A Current Affair , Casey said he had been bullied almost every day at school and even contemplated suicide a year ago when […]

Comment from Rallentanda
Posted: 22 March, 2011 at 12:53 am

I agree that the school is at fault for not protecting children in their care. If the Principal and Deputy were suspended every time an incident of this nature occured you would find that all bullying would miraculously stop in our schools as
superannuation packages are the ultimate consideration.

Comment from Madison Walker
Posted: 4 May, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Casey<3 you are my hero. I saw you at Jusin Bieber. When I saw the video i was crying about you. Becausse i didnt want you to get hurt I love you Casey Haynes Madison

Comment from ronda
Posted: 18 May, 2011 at 2:12 pm

he should be suspended but the smaller kid started it they got be suspended

Comment from ronda
Posted: 18 May, 2011 at 2:13 pm

they both be suspended i mean

Comment from Neil Campion
Posted: 19 November, 2011 at 4:53 pm

You can only take so much. When I was in high school, a kid used to come and tackle me everyday. Oneday I landed a punch on his cheek and he never bothered me again. Well done, Casey.

Comment from girl
Posted: 19 February, 2012 at 2:05 pm

good on him for standing up to that boy he is one great human being

Comment from Pete
Posted: 2 August, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I was bullied at highschool, and really badly. Then one day I picked up a big stick and smashed the main offender across the face with it. He was in hospital for a week, with a badly fractured cheek-bone and severe bruising.
Neither he or any of his gutless buddies ever did so much as make eye-contact with me ever again.
Sometimes the only thing people understand is to be belted properly.

[Sir Roger allows the sharing of this comment in the spirit of freedom of expression. The writer illustrates the size and the emotional impact of the bullying problem, the frequent non-existence of effective management and care in schools (and elsewhere) and the potential results. While he understands the writer’s frustration and anger, Sir Roger’s allowing the comment is not to be taken as a recommendation to others, or as incitement to violence. Sir Roger is not in the business, here at least, of telling others how to live their lives or what choices they should make. That is up to them. So are the consequences.]

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