If you haven’t seen the video of the elderly school bus monitor being taunted and bullied by several upstate New York boys riding the bus, you should watch it. When I watched that video, my heart sank for the poor woman, but the video also made me wonder where society’s morals have gone.
While it may seem like an over-reach, I question not only the kids, but I also question how they were raised. To threaten an adult or to suggest that a family member killed oneself so that they didn’t have to see that adult any more is more than just a temporary lapse of judgment or succumbing to peer pressure. A fundamental respect for humans is something that should be taught to children from an early age, and obviously in these kids it was not.
The big question for this event is “what would you do if one of these kids was your child?” I don’t think it would be, but then again, I’m sure that these students’ parents didn’t believe their kids would do something like this, either.
Here’s what I would do:
- First, the school district should at a minimum prevent them from riding the bus for the coming school year. If the school has anti-bullying policies in place, those policies and the punishment must be followed. Failure to do so would be a tacit acceptance of the behavior involved.
- I’d make my child answer the angry and threatening calls that came to his cell phone so that he could see how his actions affected so many others. I’d protect him, but I would also want him to feel the fear that he made someone else feel. You can talk about fear until you’re blue in the face, but when you experience fear, it is difficult to forget.
- I would make my child create a large sign stating something to the effect that he was one of the people who bullied the elderly lady on the school bus. I would include her picture on the sign so people knew about the incident. Then I would make him walk around the malls holding it. And I’d make him walk around town with it. I would video tape people who said things to him so he never forgot how he felt when he was put into the same position into which he put the elderly school bus monitor.
- We would volunteer together in a retirement community or a nursing home so that he would hopefully develop empathy for the “old” people that he disdains.
- Then we’d have the school bus monitor over to our home for dinner so that they could discuss what happened and hopefully make amends.
- After a few months, I’d make him write an essay about everything that occurred and then present it to his school so that they could learn from his experiences. I’d make a video of him reading it to the class.
- When everything was finished, I’d make him create a video about what he did, what he went through for punishment, and what he did to try to make things right. That would go right up on YouTube with a link to the original cell phone video.
What would you do?