Because Punishing The Victim Makes Sense

Hypothetically let’s say a student stole a cell phone from their teacher. The teacher, being an average person and almost entirely ignorant on security, didn’t set a lock code. Because there was no lock code the student was able to log in. After logging in the student found embarrassing pictures of the teacher and sent them to friends.

In this situation would you punish the teacher or the student? Although not setting a lock code on your phone isn’t a wise decision there is no victim involved when somebody is ignorant. There is, however, a victim when a theft occurs. That being the case, I would argue the student should be punished but the teacher should not. Of course, that’s not how things work in our society:

A South Carolina high-school teacher may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a student stole her cellphone and distributed partially nude photos from it around the school. Administrators say she should have password-protected the phone.


One might think that the student would at least face disciplinary action from the school, if not criminal charges of some sort. But thus far, the school has not moved to hold the 16-year-old student accountable at all. Arthur, however, is another story. After teaching in Union County for 13 years, she resigned when district officials gave her the choice to do so immediately or start the firing process.

Interim superintendent David Eubanks told The State that Arthur might also be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. “I think we have a right to privacy, but when we take inappropriate information or pictures, we had best make sure it remains private,” he said.

I would argue that this is the inevitable result of combining zero tolerance policies, a total lack of critical thinking when “it’s for the children”, and having a legal system instead of a justice system.

The only victim here was the teacher because her phone was stolen. But since children saw her nude photos the fact that she was the victim of theft and didn’t send the photos is ignored. To make matters worse, the thief is left unpunished because, well, reasons.

So here we are, continuing to wallow in a society that punishes victims and lets criminals go unscathed.