Firstly, let us talk about the aim of “prosecuting” mistreatment of the disabled. It is not to exact revenge on the “bullies” and if that were the aim a lot less justice would be done for the reason they need to cooperate with the process as opposed to fighting it. It is impossible to resolve a conflict if one side has an incentive to lie about their part in it. The process is to determine what led, scientifically, to the harm and how, through psychology and sociology, that it may be rectified. Punishing the bad guy is not science and is unlikely to be terribly effective. There needs to be a discovery process, a mediation with the aim of clearing the air and establishing good or neutral terms between the parties, a scientific analysis, and the implentation of reforms the science would suggest. Outside of the most serious offenses, all punishments should be off the table so as to facilitate maximum cooperation from all parties.
The other reason punishments should be off of the table is to ensure that the victim comes forward. If the victim is a neurodivergent, they may have done something offensive or broken some minor social or other rule. Their victimizer can’t be able to use that as a trump card to avoid justice. That’s happened a few times in my life. One of the things that makes a victim the most powerless in the criminal justice system is an outstanding warrant or someone having evidence for another’s crime. A domestic abuse victim, for example, will likely endure significant abuse to avoid any jail time if their abuser can turn them in. Even if the abuser would get much more, the prospect of any criminal record, addition to criminal record, fines, or incarceration is enough to deter reporting their abuser.
The last paragraph is one reason I am against harsh and very punitive anti-bullying policies. If the policing of behavior becomes microscopic enough then the victim is likely to be liable of something under the system and that makes the system counterproductive to the end of keeping people safe. There is always, of course, the possiblibility that an administrator or a prosecutor may drop charges agaisnt the lesser offender to get the greater one but before any report is made, that is unknown. Which is why that needs to be an established policy. The ability to counter-snitch was, in part, why the people who urinated on me faced absolutely no consequences for it. While revenge is the emotion of most people I speak to about this and they suggest using punitive authority, the system being as horrifically punitive as it is makes it arbitrary. It is less if they did something wrong and more if the circumstances align so that something may be done about it. The presence of disicplinarians made me powerless toward my abusers. They did the exact opposite of keeping me safe merely by enforcing relatively minor rules.
Furthermore, the most common way I was bullied was “circus monkey” bullying. That is getting someone with less social awareness to humiliate themselves. Most anti-bullying policies would find it difficult to oppose since it is consensual. However, the mere embarassment of being exposed may be enough. Yet, it isn’t even recognized as bullying by many people so PSAs should be produced both to let people know it is bullying and implore them to intervene. The basic theme is the same: recognizing injustice and calling it out as opposed to hunting for perpetrators for punitive measures. Much more truth and discovery and therefore more atonement is possible without punishment. It is best to, not only for moral but practical reasons, to forgive everyone.
The last element is passive and passive aggressive mistreatment. The ghettoizing and generalized social rejection of the disabled. There are many approaches that may be taken to this. The first are the integration of activities that involve different groups. In a high school setting, for example, a half-time show can be designed by the football team, the band, the cheerleaders, the student council, the theater kids, the special ed kids, who must work closely together in ways they would not otherwise. That breaks the oxytocin barriers and forms diverse cliques.
Analogs to that can be replicated across many settings and contexts. Another means of integration is having well-designed parties and social events which are cool enough for the high functioning and neurotypical and safe enough for the lower functioning and intellectually disabled. I participated in the planning of that type of social event without much success in getting it off of the ground but parties and social events for the disbaled tend to be doggie voiced and G-gated/ Yet, between Emimem and The Wiggles is a Taylor Swift right down the middle. That was our philosophy in designing them. Finger food that included mocktails, dancing, games that included blackjack with fake money, no alcohol, and so on. To give it an adult feel but safe.
That is all how justice is wrought for the disabled. Not the common thought that we need to hunt down the bad guys because that is not only morally worse but less effective. It is to extend peace and grace to all and to focus on forging a diverse family of a community. Justice is not about revenge but atonement and, ultimately, clear air. I think to Taylor Swift’s “Mean”. It is a good song, musically, but it is a vindictive fantasy of outcompeting one’s oppressors in the game of life with the stereotype where the nerd becomes a rich yuppie and the bully something like a janitor. Justice is not a capitalism where the oppressed become the oppressors but a socialism where nobody is oppressed.