It was common knowledge among the student population that this was happening. Why did no one step up? What sort of culture has to exist to allow that kind of cruelty? Is it possible that not one adult knew? Having been in public education (as a student and a teacher), I have to think the evidence was there.
I remember seeing a young girl being teased when I was a student teacher. I asked my mentor teacher to please send her on an errand that would take some time. When she was gone, I ripped into the class. They had never seen me angry before, but there was no question how I felt about her treatment. I told them I could not wait for them to grow up and that this behavior would stop now. And you know what? It did stop. They were stunned at my tirade and took it to heart. She was never teased in my presence again. I don't know if it stopped altogether, but I did what I could.
We all must do what we can. We have to stop this behavior when we see it, no matter the age of the perpetrator. We have the power. We must have the conviction to use it.
Update: the Bilerico publisher asked me to write a post about Billy. It's here.