Why did a father have to use YouTube to stop bullying?

See update at bottom>

The story of the Prior Lake, Minn., girl who was bullied with racist taunts is plenty troubling. So is the allegation that the father of the alleged bullies excused his kid’s behavior by noting he uses the “N word” around the house all the time.

But one lingering question is plenty troubling, too. Why did it take the posting of a YouTube video for Brad Knudson to get some measure of satisfaction? What’s missing in the story?

He made the video of Snapchat videos that were sent to his daughter on Monday (caution: graphic language).

“I was afraid that if I don’t get this out, if I don’t get people to understand what’s going on, especially with this individual, that my daughter is not going to say anything to me and I’m gonna find her someday hanging in the bedroom,” he tells WCCO.

Fox 9 reports Knudson filed a report with the police, who talked to the bullies’ parents.

The school superintendent says an investigation was launched after the video was posted, the station reports, although it also says a school liasonn officer met with the families over the school’s winter break.

The school district released this statement:

“Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools is aware of the You Tube video. First and foremost, we do not tolerate racism, harassment or bullying of any kind. We are conducting our own investigation to get a better understanding of the events that led up to this video. We have reached out to Mr. Knudson directly to offer support for his daughter. We strive to maintain safe and respectful schools for all of our students and will continue to work to ensure a safe learning environment for all of our students.”

The posting on YouTube is not without its own consequences. Someone posted the name and address of the father of the alleged bullies, which appears to invite a vigilante approach to a serious dispute. That’s, obviously, not a good idea.

Fox 9 reports he’s lost his job since the video was posted.

Update 5 p.m. 1/22/15 – Knudson has updated his story on his YouTube posting.

I would like to thank everyone for their support. I just found out our daughter did not take this issue as seriously as Wendy and I. The n word is something I was taught at a very young age was not appropriate. You hear nowadays a lot of songs by People of all color use this word. You also see videos that they use this word. I have never liked it I’ve always thought it was inappropriate that they used it.

I have now found out that my daughter during the WCCO interview decided to use Snapchat and send people videos of her thinking that this was a game and it was funny and she actually uses the N-word twice.

Regardless of your skin color I and my wife do not tolerate this word our daughter is going to be reprimanded in an appropriate manner. I am extremely saddened and disappointed because of this video she has discredited the message that we wanted to convey. I hope that this does not stop our efforts to highlight the issues that still remain regarding bully and the effects it has on children. It is still truly an epidemic and social media has allowed us to bully individuals 24 hours a day seven days a week no matter where that person lives. Wendy and I are still dedicated to highlighting this issue and help educate our young people on the effects of bullying and how to deal with bullying. Again I want to thank everyone for their support getting this message out.

  • Jim G

    I found that as a teacher confronting bully behavior in protecting bullied students, I should expect the parents of the bullying students to push back with personal attacks against me for calling out bully behavior. It takes courage for teachers and administrators to step into the maelstrom of hateful behavior and language when these lousy parental role-models throw tantrums. Unfortunately, it’s the only way they know how to solve their problems. Mr. Knudson is a good role-model for all parents.

    • I was the father of a bullied student. I went to the bully’s house and talked to the mother calmly. She insisted it couldn’t have been her son.

      Biggest mistake I ever made. The bullying intensified the next day because I had intervened. Other students — at the time there were two groups of students in the school district: the kids who lived in (pricey) Wedgewood and the ones who didn’t — joined in. It was vicious.

      The school — in South Washington County — was no help, in fact the assistant principal’s recommendation was we change schools, which we did.

      The father of the bully went on to serve several terms… on the South Washington County school board.

      • Jim G

        I saw a lot of bullies in my 34 year career. Some were power players in the community. I could write a book about the bully behavior of parents and their children. However, my most rewarding experience came as an eighth grader myself standing up to my tormentor on the “path” behind the school. My bully showed up at school the next day with the left side of his face bruised and eye swollen shut. I never had bully trouble again.

        • J F Hanson

          In the long run, it is only what the student does that will build–or destroy–one’s character. What the parent does now can obviously help support, but what the student does to end that bullying is what will save him/her.

      • kcmarshall

        I’m sorry that the other adults failed your son (and you). I have a hard time accepting an honorable and mature action like that as a “mistake’.

        If there is a silver lining to the technology-mediated bullying like the Knudsen case, it is the ability to actually capture the bullying in action. Makes it hard to deny and (hopefully) forces the hands of reluctant school leaders.

      • Dave

        Do you think it is a natural parental reaction to defend your child even if you suspect s/he may be in the wrong? I wondered about this last night when I was watching the video.

        The racist dad on the other end of the phone defended his kids.

        • I think it’s a natural reaction to want to believe your kids aren’t the vicious animal that the American teenager can be, yes.

          I think dropping the “N word” in that defense and excusing your kids racist taunts by noting that you throw the “N word” around in your house is the natural reaction of a racist, however.

          • Jack

            Both Dads are protecting their children. All of them are victims of their upbringing, social environment and their way to cope given different situations.
            New behaviors that are positive and reinforcing are always available to learn, adapt and make a habit.

  • Greg W

    It’s troubling that the parent had to turn to YouTube to get any sort of traction beyond a meeting with a liaison.

    Also troubling is the parent of one of the bullies being fired because of this, too. Does that seem right to anyone else?

    • Jeff

      Recall the Republican county chair who was fired from his hardware store job for making anti-Muslim remarks. Making a business case (and I don’t know the nature of this idiot’s work) as a business owner would you like to have your business associated with this person especially if they are involved in customer service?

    • kcmarshall

      Based on what he said in the message left for Brad Knudson, I don’t have much sympathy for the guy. I don’t think the dismissal was for being a bad parent – it was for his own public, documented behavior. Since the position he held was a sales-and-relationship role (broker), it is hard to imagine a different outcome.
      I’ll admit that dismissing an employee for out-of-work behavior is dicey. If the company is willing to take a public stand and face the consequences though, I think that is reasonable.

      • Kassie

        Totally agree. I think it is amazing that we finally live in a time where people get fired for making racist comments. While there will be racists for a long time, maybe they will start keeping their mouths shut when they realize they can and will lose their jobs over it.

        • Jeff

          Yes, as an older white guy who grew up in the 60’s I was reflecting on MLK and how glad I am to be living in better society (I know we’re not all the way there yet). However, it’s depressing to think that none of the civil rights legislation would have passed in today’s political climate.

        • Jack

          IF they have an HR department in the first place.

          “maybe they will start keeping their mouths shut when they realize they can and will lose their jobs over it.”
          good point.

      • Fox9 said he was an independent contractor. I don’t believe there are many protections for independent contractors.

        • Dave

          No, and it was probably very easy for them to “fire” him. Just say he’s not hired for any more work. Clean break.

    • Dave

      Are you kidding? School admins don’t want to deal with this stuff. There is no good way to handle it, and they’re probably already fearing lawsuits. I sense one or more resignations in the offing.

      When I was a high school freshman, it came out that the elected homecoming queen was pregnant. So the school admins, in their infinite wisdom, disqualified her and installed the runner-up, someone more “wholesome.” The whole thing blew up in their faces and resulted in the principal having to quit.

      There are few people more childish than the adults running schools.

      • Jack

        I should log off and log on 9 more times so I can up-thumb your post a perfect 10.

      • In my senior year in ’72, the class VP got pregnant. She wasn’t allowed to graduate with the rest of us. Her father was the mayor. Shameful times.

        • Dave

          “She wasn’t allowed to graduate with the rest of us.”

          That’ll teach her, right?

          • Jack

            Yah! don’t be gettin’ knocked-up BEFORE you graduate. Yer ‘sposed ‘ta make babies after!

        • Kassie

          I graduated in ’95 and my high school had a day care on site, but I know a lot of my friends from other schools knew girls shamed out of the school for being pregnant. They usually had to go to “alternative” schools, or come to mine.

      • >>There are few people more childish than the adults running schools.<<

        As someone who worked in the administration building of a large, local school district for years, I can tell you this rings true.

    • Tracy

      Yes, this does seem right to me. I’m sick of bullies being able to get away with their horrible behavior without any repercussions. They feel they have to freedom to say horrible abusive things to others? Than why can’t others in RETURN let them know what they think of them? This is a simple case of consequences taking place! So happy to see this! And if they don’t like these consequences then hopefully it will help them think twice about being so mean, cruel, menacing, and downright evil towards someone else.

    • Elvis

      The business had no choice but to fire that racist man. It was on YouTube and his address and name was posted also, can’t have that kind of negative publicity in connection to one’s business.

  • David P.

    I’d bet that the bullies in this story are the tip of the iceberg. This is good opportunity for the school to be proactive and take steps to teach about racism in our community. Facilitated discussions and studying the impact would be a good start.
    I’m reminded of the incident at Washburn HS a few years ago when a doll was hung in the stairwell or the steps taken by Chaska years ago to stop issues before something blew. Both brought in outside resources and engaged students, parents and staff.
    The YWCA worked with both of these schools (and has worked with many other schools and organizations).

  • KB

    The thing about this story that gets to me….if you don’t want to see/hear these snapchats…..just DONT view them! Technology in the hands of younger and younger people with no filters in their brains to understand the consequences….THAT will be the downfall of the next generation.

  • J F Hanson

    Does anyone else also have the same qualms I do here–about the rigidity of this righteously-indignant father and his sterling, PC-correct condemnation of “the n-word?”

    Mind you, I perfectly understand his indignation–but his solution is not providing only the freeing found in exposure of racism to the light of day, it also is turning it over to the democratic lynch mob, not all of whom are interested in airing.

    One of the result of this rigidity is the end result of this incident–i.e., both parties being exposed for all to see on the Internet–and for god-knows-how-long. Thats a bit of (future) blowback for this rigidity right there.

    Now I have to say that I question the notion that Intolerance of the Intolerant, and that it is what Pogo said: We have met the enemy and he is us,