Arc of Onondaga weighs in on inappropriate Snapchat video
Syracuse, N.Y. —
After the arrest of two Cazenovia High School students accused of taking inappropriate videos of a special needs student, advocates of people with disabilities remain deeply concerned.
"There's bullying, and then there's just utter humiliation. The level of offensiveness is huge," Ruth Ann Riposa said.
Riposa works with people who have special needs every day at ARC of Onondaga, helping them achieve their fullest potential.
She says their social experiences in high school are often even harder than they already are for other teenagers.
"What can be challenging for someone who feels like they might look different, or respond differently, or have different levels of abilities than everyone else, is they might want to work even harder, or it might be a cause of even more anxiety to want to fit in," she said.
Riposa thinks, just like everyone else, these teens just want to be loved. However, often times others prey on them instead, knowing they're defenseless.
In the age of technology, she says, the effects of bullying don't disappear after 10 seconds.
"They've been assaulted, so to speak. Social media is long-term; it's lasting," Riposa added.
While she hopes the perpetrators pay the consequences of their actions, she says it's there needs to be a cultural change in molding our teens.
"It goes back to it being a marriage between a community, a school district, a family to raise up and ingrain in our young people how to interact with people of all abilities," she said.