Friday, October 22, 2010

School Buses; Incubators for Bullies - Maybe. Be Aware

 I understand how parents who see their child abused, and know they can’t stop it, would just give up, tire from the battle and opt for isolation. This story, this Dad, may have made some people angry but it made me proud of every parent who musters up the courage day in and day out to entrust their special needs child to the world.
Last week a dad was caught on video having a tirade on a school bus after his 13-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy was bullied. There are two video’s, one shows him boarding his daughter's school bus and threatening students for harassing his daughter. The second, taken the day before, shows his daughter sitting on the bus and a white object in the middle of the aisle of the bus. The object was an unwrapped condom! A boy who was sitting behind his daughter picked up the condom tossed it onto the girl's hair and at some point began flicking her ear. She was shown struggling to pull it out while students watched and erupted in laughter
It horrifies me to know that NO ONE stepped up to insure her safety and it reinforces my worst fears for Nicky.  It also begs the question, are unsupervised buses free havens for bullies?  Based on my experience, seems they could be. I once refused to place Nicky on a crowed bus with 50 kids, for a 45 minute ride to school unassisted. His sensory and behavior challenges created health and safety risks for him and the other kids on the bus. I told the school, and waited for their response. While waiting, I decided to see if I could find a solution on my own.  That’s when I learned Nicky was not the only one who needed protection on the bus, it was dangerous for the typical kids too. I asked a local mom if her boys could be his bus buddies, to my surprise she said “There have been harassment incidents involving a girl on the bus that you might want to ask the school about. I don’t let my boys ride the bus. The kids are too out of control.” Months passed while I followed the desired school protocols and procedures and in the end they did not help me. My options; put him on the bus and take my chances, find another school or drive him myself. I drove him for a nearly a year. Thank goodness Nicky never got on the crowded bus unassisted and I learned what the environment was like before anything could happen to him. 
Sadly this Dad, confronted simultaneously by mans inhumanity, the humiliation his daughter encountered and the reality that he had not been able to protect her; lost it, he just snapped. His methods were extreme (and he was arrested) but I have nothing but compassion for this Dad who wanted to defend his daughter.  Honestly, what would you do? 

News for video of dad on school bus

  • Daughter of man who boarded Seminole County school bus released ...‎ -22 hours ago

    The video of Jones' outburst on the bus attracted national attention, drawing thousands of hits on YouTube and landing Jones an appearance on "Good Morning ...
    Orlando Sentinel - 607 related articles

  •  Here's some of the video. See for yourself. 

    1 comment:

    1. Donna, you are absolutely right. Any environment where there is not likely to be a line of sight between adults and kids is going to be an incubator for bullying. This is exhibit A.

      Exhibit B would be gym classes, where there are shower rooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms, and rows of lockers, and gym teachers sitting in detached offices doing paper work while kids are getting punched in the stomach.

      And they know it. And they don't care, because they have their tenure, and they have their paychecks. And they aren't the ones getting slugged in the stomach. And if a kid fights back, which he has every legal and moral right to do, he's in as much trouble as the bully. Maybe more.