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Teen accused of bullying classmate out of more than $6,000

Could this happen in Buckeye? Could this happen to your child?

Bullies don’t just physically hurt other children; they manipulate their emotions, too.
Police said that Robert Guthrie, 17, intimidated a younger classmate into giving him as much as $6,800.

Teen accused of bullying classmate out of more than $6,000

The younger boy allegedly stole the money from his parents.
He could get up to two years behind bars if he’s convicted, a thought that frightened him.

“I’m very scared of what might happen to me, because I don’t want to go back to jail, and if I end up with a fine, the felony charge is going to prevent me from getting a job,”

Guthrie said.

He insisted he didn’t bully or intimidate the other boy, but that they were actually partners.

“He was taking money from his parents to give it to me, so I could purchase things for him and me to share,”


Guthrie said they used the cash to buy videos, electronic games, game consoles and large amounts of food – purchases the other boy wanted to hide from his parents.

“It was all his idea. He was the one stealing the money to give it to me, so that I could supplement not only his desire for more electronics but his desire to binge eat. If I had known all of this, I wouldn’t have done it,”


Guthrie said it didn’t occur to him that he could be committing a crime.

It all came crashing down, he said, when the other boy confessed to his parents.

“My avarice came and bit me in the neck. It’s my own dang fault that it kept going, I could have stopped it any anytime, but I kept asking for more,”


According to an article by Leanne Italie from The Associated Press,

The “Stop Bullying Now” campaign of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines bullying as aggressive, intentional behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength and is typically repeated over time.

While it can be physical, it’s often verbal, social or via cyberspace, driven by kids’ easy access at increasingly younger ages to social networks, text messaging and e-mail.

A candlelight vigil is held at South Hadley, Mass., High School on Jan. 15 for freshman Phoebe Prince, 15, originally from Ireland. Prince endured months of taunts and threats after she briefly dated a popular boy, prosecutors say. The 15-year-old hanged herself at home Jan. 14 and six of her classmates face charges.

Parents may be so pleased that their kids are on top socially that they fail to stress an important component of the role: power comes with “responsibility to treat others with dignity,” Wiseman says.

“This really goes to how we function as a civilized society and what our responsibility is to each other,” she says. “Parents say my kid’s a good kid, he couldn’t possibly get into this situation. He’s a good athlete, he’s well-liked, but now he’s being suspended for the third time for some racial or hazing incident.”

Wiseman says teachers and school officials must work in concert with parents, something that often doesn’t happen. Without such partnerships, “It’s hard for a parent to really, fully comprehend how serious or dangerous a situation is.”
No parent wants to believe the worst, she says, choosing to accept and act on the rationalizations of their bullying children as the “one and only truth.”

Some misconceptions about bullying behavior:

  • Kids being kids
  • Rumor campaigns, teasing, name-calling and excessive fighting are not just “girls being girls, kids being kids,” Holiday says.
  • The mother of one of the girls charged in Phoebe’s case said Phoebe and her daughter used to trade insults, but she considered it “normal” for teenagers.
  • Without clear guidelines at school or in other settings on what is and isn’t considered bullying, parents are left to make judgments that might not jibe with the beliefs of others.
  • They’ll grow out of it.

Research indicates that bullies, who often were victims themselves, are more likely than non-bullying peers to face serious trouble later in life.

“Bullies are at higher risk for alcoholism and drug abuse, at higher risk of going to jail,” Holiday says.

Wiseman says “most children who are mean or cruel think that something has been done to them first that justifies their behavior, in all age groups. It’s never OK.”

Good controllers

Wiseman urges parents to tune into warning signs early on.
She calls bullies “good resource controllers” who can manipulate other children with ease starting at a young age.

“When they’re younger, they control the tricycle on the playground that everybody wants and as they get older it can be things that they’re organizing or things that put them in positions of leadership, unofficial or not.”

While bullies are often “socially intelligent, can read people well and are charismatic,” Wiseman warned parents on the lookout for such behavior that not all kids with those traits bully peers.

Parental emotions

Parents may play out their own pasts as bullies OR victims when taking on the social lives of their kids.

“There are parents who want their kids to be socially accepted and because they want the child to have a lot of friends, they accept mean behavior so long as the right people like you,” Wiseman says.

The dynamic is an important one for bullies, who rely on “wannabes,” or followers, to help make it happen.

“We are on the long road to making decent human beings,” Wiseman says. “You’ve got to hold your kid accountable. People who are in a position of power can do with it what they want to people who don’t have it, and that could lead to discrimination at its core.”

Sources: Teen accused of bullying classmate out of more than $6,000 – Not my kid! Parents may not recognize bullies