When you think of a bully, what comes to mind: Regina George? Butch and Woim from The Little Rascals? Every horrible thing about being nine years old? Bullying is commonly thought of as something kids do when they’re part of the “cool crowd” and teens do when they’re (not so) secretly jealous of you. But some people never outgrow being a bully, and those people don’t find themselves in the company of many good friends.
Take Edmond, for example. Edmond Aviv is a bully who picks on the disabled children living next door to him. He constantly torments them just because they’re different. He’s even spit on their mom several times. The thing is, Edmond Aviv is not a sad middle schooler. He’s 62.
Aviv has been harassing his neighbor, Sandra Prugh, and her family for 15 years in their South Euclid, Ohio community. Prugh has two adopted children with developmental disabilities, a paralyzed son and a husband with dementia. If that doesn’t get your blood boiling, read on. In a court letter, Prugh said Aviv once smeared feces on their family’s wheelchair ramp. He’s spit on her several times. Finally, a judge took action on this sad sack.
Aviv pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct back in February. He has to serve 15 days in jail, attend anger management class and write an apology to Prugh. Oh, and he was ordered to hold a sign in public for five hours bearing these words:
“I AM A BULLY. I PICK ON CHILDREN THAT ARE DISABLED AND I AM INTOLERANT OF THOSE THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM MYSELF. MY ACTIONS DO NOT REFLECT AN APPRECIATION FOR THE DIVERSE SOUTH EUCLID COMMUNITY THAT I LIVE IN.”
Mental picture: Aviv had to make that sign himself, and he got a minimum of four cardboard paper cuts. #justice
The sign was the least he could do. If you act like a bully in this judge’s courtroom, you’re going to be punished like one, regardless of how old you are. I’d like to give this judge a handshake, a high five and a hug. His ruling sets a great example for how cases like this should be handled. Isn’t it about time one of the consequences for bullying is extreme embarrassment? Bullies might finally be shamed into feeling remorse for their actions, and be moved to apologize for their wrongdoings—and mean it. (It would be nicer if there were no bullies at all, but we have to start somewhere.)
It’s one thing to push people around, but it takes a special kind of mean girl to torment people that can’t fight back. I’d like to think all bullies are sad middle schoolers who will eventually snap out of it, but I’m learning that some people will never grow out of making other people feel small. (How sad for them, right?) I’m mad for Sandra Prugh. I can’t imagine the strength it takes to care for a child with a disability, let alone two plus a paralyzed son and a husband with dementia and an asshole neighbor. I hope she gets 15 days of peace and quiet while Aviv is in jail, and I’m sorry it took this long for justice to be served. And I hope the neighbor on the other side of their house is nicer than this jag.
I would love nothing more than to hurt Aviv with my words over the (lack of) punctuation on his sign. But I’m not a bully, you guys.
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