Merriam-Webster defines the term Not Guilty as follows:

1:  a plea by a criminal defendant who intends to contest the charges

2:  a verdict rendered by a jury acquitting a criminal defendant upon finding that the prosecution has not proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

I agree with the legal definition but I do not agree on how it is passed down to someone without the victim having a voice in the matter.  I am not a lawyer or a judge, I am the father of a child that was victimized by three teenagers and now one of those teenagers has been found not guilty by a jury of her peers.  A jury of her peers?  A jury comprised of teenagers determined the fate of the girl that was involved in the incident that caused my son’s skull fracture, brain bleed and permanent hearing loss.  I am doing my best at believing the system works but I am struggling with this.  I believe in holding people accountable for their actions and my kids understand this as well as the kids I speak to at schools.  So where is the accountability now?

One of my favorite quotes is a quote authored by…ME ? “An obstacle is only an obstacle if you let it block your path!”  I would have liked it if this girl was held accountable for her actions but this outcome has not deterred me, nor will it weaken me.  Quite the opposite in fact; this outcome has made me stronger!  My path is clearer to me now than ever before.  As I work to establish The Jordanstrong Foundation, I am taken back with all the support and love I have received from the community, both locally and beyond.  I am working on creating an antibullying and social media education program that I will take to schools and share with kids (from elementary to high school).  And I intend to talk with the kids, not to the kids!

So, guilty or not guilty, I remain steadfast on my path of making a difference in the life of a child.

If you are interested in reading the Daily News article about the not guilty verdict, follow this link.

With gratitude,

Jordan’s Father