Olympia teen files civil rights complaint with feds after alleged bullying

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — An Olympia High School student who says he’s been bullied for years is fighting back. He says constant bullying has caused him to miss months of school and he can’t take the abuse any longer.

bullyRichard Crane is a sophomore from Olympia High with a very big problem. He says bullies have picked on him for years.

“First day I was back in high school, they were all on me,” Crane said. “We can pick on this kid and the principal sends them a message that it’s OK. Go ahead. You know. We won’t do anything.”

Crane says he’s been physically beaten on several occasions and has copies of threatening tweets and text messages sent to scare him. He says months of bullying have taken their toll. He says he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder that caused him to miss almost all of his freshman year.

“I was just standing there in the hallway and I had a panic attack and I walked all the way from the school to my house and I didn’t go back after that.”

Richard says his school didn’t do enough to stop it and now he’s filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. His mom has stood by his side but feels powerless.

“It’s bad,” Tamara Crane said. “It’s not what you want for your kid. You don’t want to see him have to go through that. He should be enjoying his high school years.”

The Olympia High School principal, Matt Grant, won’t speak about Crane’s case in particular, but says he treats all bullying allegations very seriously.

“When you’re calling someone a retard or that’s so gay, we want students to know that can be hurtful and that can lead to harassing,” Grant said. “We really do a lot of identifying of things that can hurtful or harassing.”

Grant admits there is bullying in the halls at Olympia High, but students just need to file a complaint.

“I think, like any high school, it’s going to be a problem but is it a problem that’s confronted or not confronted,” Grant said.  “We do confront it.”

Crane says he has filed multiple reports. He recently confronted his bullies on his own, which led to his dismissal from school.

“I got emergency expelled with hardly any justification,” he said.  “No time set of when I would return back to the school, so as of last week, I haven’t been back there and I don’t know when I will be allowed to.”

Crane doesn’t want his bullies to get the best of him but admits this has pushed him to the edge.

“I’ve thought about why,” Crane said. “What am I living for right now? When every day is such a living hell. I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to take that route.”

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  • JKB

    This is exactly what happened to my son. He was bullied from 2nd -10th grade. Once it starts everybody joins in. He was kicked out of school when others attacked him even though he never did anything back, even when witnesses said he didn't do anything.

    Nothing gets done because schools have a "no tolerance" policy. Problem is this "no tolerance" is fuel for bullies and allows it to continue, because both parties are punished regardless of what actually happened. Schools are too lazy to get down to the bottom of the problem and discipline the appropriate party. So the bullies win and the victim just becomes more of a victim.

    My son today struggles with the anger he feels from those incidents on a daily basis and it has had a devasting effect on his daily life.

    I hope this young man at Olympia highschool is successful and this becomes a way for the bullied to fight back. He has a right to be safe in his highschool and the fact that they are ignoring his rights is appalling. It is time for schools to get to the bottom and take proactive stances against bullying at the first sign of it from any child and discipline should be engaged against that child immediately. Good for him for fighting back.

    • judson wallace

      its the administrators. i went to both public and private schools. i'm not sure where i would send kids i i had my own. i think home schooling is a good option because it puts parents back in control of the problem, which is usually the administrators.

    • Jennifer

      I don't understand why parents don't take their kids to a different school. I would be willing to drive my child, so he could be safe.

    • Jargon

      My kids both experienced this – son and daughter – but they took matters into their own hands. My son confronted and punched his bully – my son got suspended but the bullying stopped. My daughter did the same thing with the same consequence. We did not tell them to do it and we did reprimand them. But there was a part of me that cheered because they solved the problem themselves and did not in turn become bullies themselves. sometimes you just need to send a message if all other avenues are no longer viable.

  • Guest

    Richard was a bully in middle school and was a bully again in high school and now is screaming that he was bullied. They should talk to the students at Oly that he bullied and he wont be the innocent kid that he appears to be.

    • Guest

      I know about Richard because my son was bullied by Richard in middle school while Richard was at Reeves middle school. I know about the suspensions and everything because parents of kids that went to Lincoln with Richard told me everything.

      • skydancer13

        I know Richard too and you are spreading vicious lies. He isn't bullying anyone and several of the kids currently harassing him have committed crimes, both against him and others. They are cold- hearted, smooth liars and are getting away with everything they do to him. Richard has been severely hurt by these thugs, including a broken bone ,concussion and a disc injury. You're probably one of the bullies…

        • mig

          I know this is a tad bit late but… Fuck off skydancer. I knew richard quite well in both elementary and middle school. and I can vouch that this kid IS a BULLY who plays the victim. I remember him treatening to kill me in 5th grade over something stupid. I told my mom about richard and she spoke with his mom at the time (a real nutcase). Richard was physically abusive in elementary and middleschool. I didnt know him in highschool, but it just seem like life is finally catching up to the guy. How is richard supposed to learn some boundaries if these “bullies” never confronted him.

    • Robert Lee

      I've seen your style of lies before. I encountered the same type of treatment as Richard did in Junior High and part of high school over twenty years ago. When I complained, or talked back to teachers for siding with the bullies, I got the same type of victim blaming as you're demonstrating at this very moment. Clearly you're part of the problem, not part of the solution as you're just trying to take focus off the problem and put it on the individual.

    • skydancer13

      I know Richard too and you are spreading vicious lies. He isn't bullying anyone and several of the kids currently harassing him have committed crimes, both against him and others. They are cold- hearted, smooth liars and are getting away with everything they do to him. Richard has been severely hurt by these thugs, including a broken bone ,concussion and a disc injury. You're probably one of the bullies…

    • Sean

      Not surprised you'd say this. Guess what, you have no proof if you can't even give your name when posting. You're a coward just like the bullies picking on Richard.

  • Guest

    I feel for this kid. This is the kind of behavior that leads to shootings. I was bullied throughout my entire time in school and only through heavy therapy was i able to "recover" from the resulting depression. To this day i still struggle with rage stemming from the abuse. The problem is two-fold… One part is the lack of parent responsibility and the other is the complacency of the school staff who are often powerless to do anything even if they wanted to. We, as a nation, need to wake up and fix this issue because it is what leads to the school shootings that everybody finds so horrible. I dare anybody to read up on the causes of our nation's school murders dating all the way back to Columbine and find ONE case where the perpetrators weren't bullied.

    • Guest

      You and me both my friend. I identified far more with the shooters than the students that were shot when I first heard about Columbine.

  • ScrewOhio

    And I bet you're just the kind of piece of sht to give him what's coming to him? You sound like a loser frat douche. Like you have a fking clue as to what this kid is going through. You're obviously finding justification for some personal actions of your own if you think blame resides on this kid.

  • Raymond

    The school expelled Richard because their apathy has made him nothing more than a ticking time bomb in their eyes. They can't see the student for his problems because they think he is a problem.

  • Ryan

    I was bullied from 4th grade until I left high school. I am in my 40s now, but I still suffer from the memories of being bullied in my youth. I have grown beyond any tangible effects in my daily life, but the physical and emotional scars remain. I experienced the same sort of apathy and disinterest from school staff and administrators described above. As long as they don't see it first-hand, they don't care to know about it. Some teachers favored the bullies because they were on the football team or in the "cool crowd" so they assumed the victim somehow brought it upon themselves. In many cases, I would get jumped on the way home while walking across the street from the school. In sheer terror, I watched the cars whiz by while I was being pummeled and harassed by bullies. Upon reporting the abuse, the school would say there's nothing they could do because it didn't oocur on school property. Never mind the fact that I was walking home from school when it happened. With the amount of violent movies and video games pushed onto society and the de-facto acceptance of bullying as a rite of passage in childhood, it's no wonder that we have children growing up with a spectrum of mental disorders, abusive tendencies, anger control problems, drug addiction, and a blatant disregard for the feelings of others. This pecking order and prison mentality of "might makes right" in our public schools needs to stop.

  • Guest

    Bullying is not something I condone, but I also think parents are teaching kids to be pussies, and the parents don't even bother to stand up for their own kid until they can get some kind of media coverage.

    When I transferred schools in 6th grade (admittedly this was 1978, so kids were not getting trophies for participation and teachers could paddle kids) I became a target for bullying, what did I do? I kicked the main kid in the nuts when he said he was fighting me, and got a bloody lip from the second kid, and he got one back, then teachers broke it up (they are not even allowed to break up fights now), we all 3 got the board, then it was over, no more bullying. Why? I stood up for myself, sure I knew I was going to loose to 2+ kids, but I was raised to stand up for myself, and help out someone else, if I had gotten expelled my parents would still have been proud that I stood up for myself.

    We are raising a society of gutless kids that think they are entitled to stuff. PTSD is for people with dangerous jobs, not for kids whose parents told them they were the best, and come to find out they are not. There is always someone better at something than you.

    The fact that no teacher has the power to even discipline children is ridiculous, and yes you sometimes need things hard than "your words" to teach a child a lesson.

    • wilmington

      Glad to hear that partaking in the culture of violence worked out in your favor. Most times, however, when kids fight back against bullies that are inevitably larger than themselves they wind up in as much or more trouble than the bully who instigated the incident, or worse yet, in the hospital or dead. Your experience does not address the root of the problem, but is simply an anecdote about how your participation in the crime of assault worked out in your favor. Good on ya, mate. Not.

    • judson

      …. yeah. they are definitely pussies. we should give them guns so that they learn to solver their problems through violence like real men. you, know like colombine.

      • bikejumpr9

        Let's keep the guns out of the childrens hands while at school. I think there is something about the puss-ification of our newer generations. Sometimes, you have to just stand up. I was bullied for much of my school life (almost 30 now) and it was not until I finally stood up, that something changed. I have been punched in the face in front of principals, and police for that matter, and had nothing happen, other than" Hey Billy, you need to stop that." I finally stood up, put that jerk-off over a half-fence in front of the school, and everyone left me alone. I did not fight him, punch or anything, just pushed him over a half fence. I think if more people just stood up instead of takeing everything lying down, we could have a stronger wave of kids, maybe even some with self-worth and dare i say, confidence?

    • Guest

      > PTSD is for people with dangerous jobs

      As someone that grew up in an abusive household and suffers, this is particularly ignorant. Nobody with PTSD deserves to be told their diagnosis is because they're weak. Likewise, fighting back can often lead to even greater beatings and because of the "No Tolerance" movement schools have accepted these days, bullies and the victims alike suffer.

      Things are different now than they were in 1978. You can stop grasping for life lessons when there is nothing more to learn than we need to do a better job creating better people rather than creating better defenders.

    • NAL

      PTSD is for people with dangerous jobs??? Really? You might want to look into PTSD further before making such a stupid comment! I have PTSD from being sexually abused multiple times at the age of SEVEN…PTSD is Post-TRAUMATIC stress disorder…from a traumatic event…being bullied for years can cause it too. I know this family, and this child is not gutless. He has taken self-defense classes and has reached out for help. He was expelled for TELLING his bullies to leave him alone! He was trying to handle the situation in a mature and non-threatening way…they responded by threatening him and the administration responded by expelling him and doing NOTHING to the bullies…

  • morry

    They bring their fists. You bring a knife. They bring a knife. You bring a gun. That is how this is supposed to work. Chicago style.

    • elroy99

      That's the CHICAGO WAY. If you're going to quote a movie, quote it correctly and in its entirety.

      Correct quote:

      They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That's* the *Chicago* way!

  • jsw

    i certainly have ptsd from school bullying. i could show you the scar tissue on my chest… i had to have surgery to remove a series of keyloid cysts that formed under my right breast from having them twisted by two bullies in my middle school. i am male btw.

  • Observer

    That principal is a real wuss.
    "We identify behaviors"
    What, so the behaviors can be implemented?
    Why aren't the behaviors linked to specific perps, and the perps punished?
    Who sent those texts?
    In fact, why aren't the perps in the video?
    Why is the victim further victimized?
    This whole bully thing is mishandled from the get go.

    • hjgj

      The perps aren't in the video because they are under age. The victim is further victimized because he in fact also bullies.

  • RealJournalist

    Could the poster of this article please be fired?

    Anyone to whom I need to explain why this is just a complete piece of shit as far as journalism goes to need not concern themselves with this post.

  • asdf

    Walk into the principals office, hand them the fine ahead of time, then go out and kick the shit out of whomever is bullying you. Use deadly force. That person deserves it. Just my advice. I'd pay to watch that actually. Heck give me a call i'll give you the money personally.

  • Billy

    Olympia High School has had many bulling assemblies for the students. They definitely do what they can to prevent bulling. News is such a one sided thing. They leave out way too much. When he said he was beaten up, apparently, he was calling that kid fat and bulling HIM.. I am COMPLETELY against bulling, but i am also against one sided stories. I have been reading facebook comments all day about this, and people that know him are talking about how HE is a bully. and i'm not saying he wasn't bullied, because that's highly possible. Again, they just left out too much

  • Josh

    Contrary to fact, RICHARD, himself was a bully. This article is completely one sided. He picks on an overweight student in middle school, get's in a fight with him, ends up losing, then reports to the school district about HIM being the victim. I'm not affiliated with any bullying that goes on between him or others but these facts are completely wrong.

    • skydancer13

      You admit that you don't know Richard, yet report rumor as if it's fact. I do know him and you're very wrong. The kid who assaulted him in middle school has severe anger management issues and had a prior record. He continually threatened Richard throughout the year and had already assaulted him once before. The kid was literally twice as big as Richard so yes, Richard was hurt badly. It wasn't a fight because Richard was leaving the building when attacked. It was a premeditated assault by a disturbed individual who had chosen Richard as a target long ago. Those are the facts.

  • Brandon

    You know I went to middle school with Richard and frankly he was a total bully to me up intill 8th grade when I stood up against him and frankly I’ve seen him bully another person (that I will keep anonymous) and tried to fight him in the hall. Richard complains about being bullied but never told the other side, he needs to tell the other side or someone needs to find the people who are at Olympia HS that have been bullied by him in the past or recently before he dropped out.

    • Guest

      Your so right. He is a bully and people get fed up with him and fight back. I have gone to school with him for 5 years. He antagonizes fights.

  • Josh

    Also, you can't deny the fact that you DID bully him. The only fact that is true in your statement is that you ran away because you couldn't handle the consequences. All bark and no bite, buddy.

  • Guestly

    We all know there is a big problem with bullying in the public school system. I do not know the facts of this individual case so I won't comment on it. I will however start a discussion on the problem itself. I believe that the parents are the ones who carry the primary blame in most all of the cases throughout. I have three children ages 12 to 20 and have taught each one of them to treat everyone with the utmost respect and to expect the same in return. If they come across someone who doesn't have the same values then they should stay as far away from that person as possible because those types are no type of friend to have anyways.

    I have also taught each of my children to defend their selves from anyone who is out to do them any sort of harm. My kids were never in the most popular groups because it seems that these groups harbor mostly the type of persons that I have told them to avoid in the first place. I find that a very strange thing. My youngest son had an issue with a "popular" kid bullying him in the 5th grade. I had my son follow the rules at his school in regards to bullying. The first through 6th times my son reported the incident to the teacher and counselors and I made follow up calls for each incident and nothing was done to stop it. I set my son down and told him that it was time to move to plan B. During the next football game the bully attempted to push my son around in front of some of his friends. My son removed his jacket and proceeded to punch the boy in the face three times, swipe kick his legs and pin him to the ground for a few minutes. He made the boy agree to stop because now he knew he wasn't as strong as he originally thought. He let the boy up and the the bully ran straight to a cop and cried that he was being bullied by my son. The police called me to come pick my son up from the game. When I arrived my son had the biggest grin on his face and told me exactly what had happened in front of the officer. My son was suspended from school for three days but because of it but was never bullied again.

  • tarzan322

    They should fire the principle in this case. If the principle isn't taking care of the problem, you can't expect someone being bullied not too. If the victim was expelled trying to take care of the problem on his own, then the principal needs to be replaced because he is presenting an educational atmosphere conducive to learning to everyone. Someone being bullied can't learn if they spend all day worrying about bullies, and our elders should be stepping in to prevent these situations in the first place, not turning a blind eye to it.

    • Guest

      Mr.Grant should not be fired. Richard was expelled because he antagonized a fight and both kids were expelled. The kid he fought has turrets and is in the special ed program. There is so much more to the story. Richard needs to learn to own up to his actions and to avoid fights instead of antagonize them.

  • Current Student

    I am a current student at Olympia High and have never heard anything about this kid or of any physical bullying happening at our school. Olympia is a very safe and friendly school. I am an openly homosexual individual at school and have not been bullied once in my whole four years here. It is a shame that the reporters did not do any real research on the school's bullying policies or how the mass population of the school feels. It seems as though they are trying to hurt our school by putting this kids story in the forefront of our community, when as you can tell by the other comments on this page, that it may not even be true. I would hate for our school to develop a nasty reputation because of one kids false accusations against the entire school.

    • skydancer13

      I have a current student at OHS too and know Richard. You can't say he's making false accusations if you don't know him personally. I'm glad you aren't being bullied but that doesn't mean others aren't. I know parents, some of whom are OSD teachers, who are looking at out of district schools for their high-schoolers because of concerns about the lack of response to ACTUAL bullying at OHS. The principal talks a lot about not wanting bullying to happen, but the reality is that it does. I know of another student who left the school because he repeatedly reported bullying and his concerns were dismissed. The talk has to be followed up with action in each individual circumstance and at OHS it simply isn't .

  • Guest

    Ooo Richard, do you really believe anyone with a brain cannot truly understand what is really going on here? I love how on Komo your big sale on your little claim is that you are so scared that you are failing all your classes. Please, you are failing your classes because your are lazy and your mommy doesn't hold you accountable for your actions. One day when you look back on your life you will be ashamed of yourself and the lies you have told. Grow up and start being acting like a young man. Do your class work, stop being a bully yourself and stop the lies to keep yourself out of trouble. Geeze, I am so sick of teens today thinking they can get away with anything.

    • skydancer13

      What is your problem? I sure hope you aren't adult because you certainly don't act like one! You're probably one of the bullies so I shouldn't even bother responding, but it's hard not to when you're spewing such garbage. You don't say whether or not you know Richard but I do. He's been severely beaten and injured (broken bone, concussion, disc injury in back) both at school and off-campus. Kids get online and continue the bullying from the comfort of their own homes, to the point of breaking the law. He and his family have been through hell and you have some nerve giving him crap on here after he reaches out for help. You're just plain creepy…

  • Guest

    If you are referring to my comment you are 100% wrong, I was bullied growing up, I did have one child who was a bully and another who was bullied himself and I do not condone bullying at all. I have read a lot of posts about this specific kid and his claims and most all of the people close to the situation say he is a bully. My kids went through OHS and like I said one was bullied and the other was a bully, with both of my kids the school did a great job at stopping it. My daughter (the bully) learned a very valuable lesson at OHS and has now become a very caring person because of how the staff and administration handled her bullying. I was mortified as a parent that my kid was hurting someone else, not physically but emotionally. The school in a very hard but teaching way explained to her what her actions were doing to the other student. Because, I have seen how the administrative team works on both ends of the spectrum I find extremely hard to believe this young man’s claim. I truly feel he is trying to use the bullying card as an excuse for his own behavior. I feel he is trying to come up with something to tell his mom for why he is failing his classes. This is just my take on the situation and you can have yours.

    • danielle

      I agree with you completely. I have gone to school with this kid since he was in 6th grade. He is a bully and because of his behaviors he receives it in return. There is a lot more to this case than people will know but he and his parents need to take some responsibility

  • Guest

    Richard, just own up to your actions and don't let people get to you. I've seen bulling go both ways between you and others. If someone tries to start something with you, walk away. Its hard to not stand up for yourself but some of your actions do upset people and things become a lot worse. Focus on what you need to do for yourself and say fuck it to everyone else. If oly isn't working out for you find a better schooling program that will work for you.

  • Nikki

    I have known this family and Richard for many years, and have watched what has happened. He has never been a bully, but has been forced to defend himself for years! You people claiming he is a bully are dead wrong and have been fed lies from the true bullies, trying to cover themselves and claim innocence where there is none, and the parents of the bullies who have also commented on numerous sites should be ashamed of themselves for excusing the behavior of their children and bullying Richard themselves. One parent brags that her son took a video of Richard being beaten up with his cell phone on the last day of middle school. I would not brag is my child stood by and made entertainment out of another student being beaten up!! Why didn't her son use his phone to call for help??? She also claims that the video showed that Richard was not hurt in the incident because he got up. Hello, if you had just been thrown onto your back on the ground and your bully was still standing over you in attack mode, no matter how hurt you were, adrenalin and instinct would override the pain and force you back up, duh…as for the entire Olympia school district, they have violated Richard's rights on so many occasions it is impossible to even list them all…they have dropped the ball from the beginning and deserve to be held accountable!

  • Nikki

    As for those saying the school is not at fault in any way, in this case you are wrong. He was expelled for asking the bullies to leave him alone after they harassed and threatened him repeatedly. He did nothing wrong, yet he was expelled and the bullies were not…..

  • skydancer13

    I know Richard too and these haters on here are just continuing the bullying. My guess is they're either the bullies, friends of or the parents (because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). Richard isn't bothering anyone and is simply trying to get an education and have a good, normal teenage life. How can you slander and discount someone who is trying to get help after being severely beaten, and is threatened and harassed on a daily basis – both in person and online? Many of these bullies have criminal records for crimes against Richard and others, and nothing is being done to curb their actions. Several of you are basing your comments on rumors, likely spread by the bullies or their parents, and don't even know this kid. Shame on you. Richard has been through enough. Leave him alone already, you bullies.

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  • Joe

    Did anybody notice how one of the texts was telling Richard not to hurt a girl and that Richard had stabbed him in the back? That definitely made me question the validity of his claims.

  • Mom

    Sorry about your troubles but the FEDS do nothing. If the bullying is not about race or religion, they do not care. Then, they say you have nine months to file…or somehting like that. Really? If you have been fighting the school for 9 months or a year…it takes you a little time to find your options, to even find out about the Federal route,because your energy is at the local level.

    Feds do nothing no matter the several "bullying" summits the President holds. Its just for media. Not reality. If the bully is the Teacher or protected by the Teacher, no one does anything. PROTECT THE SCHOOL. FORGET THE CHILD. Great America? Huh?

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