“I AM A BULLY” read the sign held by 62-year-old Edmond Aviv, who spent his Sunday sitting in his chair on a busy Cleveland intersection and displaying the sign to passersby.
Aviv was ordered to do so as a punishment for harassing his neighbors, particularly the Prugh family, for the past 15 years. Sandra Prugh has a husband with dementia, a son with paralysis and two African-American adopted children with developmental disabilities.
For 15 years, Prugh was victimized through verbal abuse, which included ethnic slurs. Furthermore, Aviv spat on her multiple times, threw dog feces on her son’s car windshield and smeared feces on her children’s ramp.
On her complain, the municipal court judge ordered Aviv to hold a sign for five hours reading:
“I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in.”
Additionally, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail, seven months' probation, 100 hours of community service, anger management classes and mental-health counseling.
Aviv later told the press, "The judge destroyed me. This isn't fair at all."
Although he certainly deserved every bit of it, is this sentence harsh enough?
Five hours of humiliation and fifteen days of prison-time seem too lenient a punishment for spending 15 years making other people’s lives miserable.
One may argue that making an example out of bullies is the right approach, but considering the seemingly life-altering effects of bullying, making an example is not enough. Considering that the offender is a sociopath and feels little or no remorse for his actions, such people should receive harsher sentences since they do it by conscious choice.
Meanwhile, according to polls, more people believe that bullies should be subjected to stricter punishments and there is much to be achieved as far as anti-bullying legislation is concerned.