'NYT' Bullied Boy Bullied a Boy

Turns out the subject of that New York Times article about the Arkansas kid who gets beat up all the time, Billy Wolfe, is himself a bit of bad news. And that Pulitzer-winning reporter Dan Barry either missed or ignored that complicating little twist. A story in the Northwest Arkansas Times details a police report on young Wolfe: "[T]he police report contains allegations that Billy harassed a student confined to a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy by sneaking up behind him and screaming to aggravate the disabled boy's sensitivity to noise, by bouncing a rubber ball against the disabled boy's head, and by calling him 'stupid' and a 'retard.' The police report provides further context on the assaults described in the NYT."

"One allegedly occurred after Billy called a boy who had just moved from Germany and whose mother had just died of cancer a 'gay [expletive ] German' and then called his 'deceased mother a vulgar name.' Another incident allegedly occurred after Billy pushed another student. Billy was accused of picking on other kids, stealing, and intimidating those that he picked on against telling the teacher."

Blogger Jay P. Greene, who lives in Wolfe's town and whose kids go to the school featured in the Times article, further notes, "But the NYT article by Dan Barry makes no mention of the police report or the details contained in it. Nor did Dan Barry's reporting uncover any of the information from the interviews contained in the Northwest Arkansas Times article. Instead, Barry simply writes, 'It remains unclear why Billy became a target…' He also declares, '[Billy] has received a few suspensions for misbehavior, though none for bullying.' It seems the NYT reporter either somehow missed the existence of the police report or decided not to include its contents in his piece. Either way, it is very sloppy reporting. I sent an email to the Public Editor of the NYT asking if Barry had seen the police report, and, if he had seen it, why he chose not to include it in his article. Other than a form letter I've received no reply."