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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Monday, June 25, 2012

How Would YOU Handle This? - Bullied School Bus Monitor Incident (Video)

Disgusting. Appalling. Vomit-inducing. Horrifying. The list of negative adjectives goes on and on. When I first saw the headlines for this disgusting incident, I couldn't watch the video because I was at work. When I got home that night, I watched it the very first opportunity I could. I was speechless; it brought tears to my eyes. 

Source: Youtube

In case you haven't seen this in national headlines, 68-year-old Karen Klein, a bus monitor from Greece, New York, was verbally assaulted in the most savage manner by middle school students on her bus. Not only did this abhorrent attack go on for ten minutes, the perpetrators had the audacity to record it and upload it to Youtube. Additionally, not one student is observed coming to her rescue. No one stood up for Mrs. Klein, and no one tried to get the bullies to stop.

So why is this being discussed on a political blog? First, there is a heartwarming side to this. A fund set up on with the intent of raising $5,000 to send Mrs. Klein on a nice vacation has now raised over $600,000! This is newsworthy regardless of what political side you're on. Secondly, it raises a key issue I think few Americans talk about openly: parenting. 

Let it be known, I personally do not have a frame of reference; I do not yet have children, and my wife and I don't plan on having any for a few years. But aside from that, this incident did get us talking. We had an extensive discussion about it while walking our dog (the closest thing we have to a "kid"). We talked about what I feel is the most important question: how would we handle this? What if we found out our children were involved. Seeing that we are probably about 15-18 years away from having middle school-aged children, we have some time to learn, but discussing this now helps prepare us for this journey. 

My wife's primary answer, of course, was "we would never have this problem." I'm sure she is right, but either way, sometimes it's not that easy. Ignoring her answer, IF this did happen, and one of our future kids were involved, how would we handle this? I'm sure a heavy dose of discipline would be in store (taking away video game privileges, grounding, who knows? etc), but what would it involve? 

So my question to everyone out there: how would YOU handle this? What specific measures would you take? We desire to produce well-rounded, mannerly, future contributors to our society, and to me, it starts with parenting. There's no magic formula, and I'm curious to see what current parents have to say. In my opinion, in this "feelings first" age, children are not disciplined enough, and the stereotypical "spoiled brat" child is more prevalent. Of course, this is just my opinion, and I'm very open to learning the parenting opinions of anyone willing to share.

I believe well-behaved, better-educated, motivated, hard-working kids will lead to a better society, and in my opinion, it starts at home. What do you think? Please share thoughts below. 


  1. One word: orphanage.

    1. A little harsh, don't you think?

  2. As the father of 2 young boys (ages 5 & 7) I would be sickened if my child were involved. LME - No offense to your wife but there is only so much one can control. Every child is different. My 7 year old is getting to a point where he is really starting to push his boundaries. My wife and I set up a '5 minute rule'. Without boring you, essentially,m they're bedtime is 8pm (both boys). For everything they do wrong during the course of the day, they lose 5 minutes from their bedtime. For a repeat offense in the same day, the get 5 mins from bedtime and an immediate 5 min timeout. That is how we hope to have the understand that there are immediate consequences and future consequences (earlier bedtime). They may also have certain toys taken away for longer periods.. A week or so. We are also big on making our children apologize to any person they offended. Now, to the current situation. My child(ren) would be volunteering at obesity clinics, assisted living facilities, etc. They would apologize to the bus monitor as well. I have a hard time believing that those kids get taught anything about respect at home. As I watched the video, I though the same thing as you LME, parenting. Although I think there is only so much a parent can do, a child, especially of the age of these kids, should never speak to an adult the way they are regardless of whether that person is the president of the united states or the person that cleans the port-a-pots after bonnaroo. This is also somewhat of a societal issue. We teach our children that to be successful, you must attain a certain income level or position of power while we tell or insinuate that the bus monitors of the world are failures. When I say we, I mean the country as a whole either through parents or what is shown on television. It is disgraceful and is, in my opinion, one of the great underlying problems in this country.

    1. Whatsamattausa - good morning, and Happy Monday!

      Trust me... I'm such a clean slate when it comes to how to parent that I haven't made up my mind on anything. Whether a parent is in 100% control or understand there are limits, I'm all ears. No offense taken :-)

      One of the reasons to post this, as with many reasons to post anything, is to learn things and share info. That's an interesting program you have set up. How does it work out? Or is it one of those things that you won't know the results of until down the road.

      I 100% agree with the starting of baseline respect. All too often I see kids disrespecting adults. To me, that's unacceptable. When ordering food off a menu, talking to a cashier, or whatever the situation is, it seams "please," "thank you," and all the normal common courtesies we should be using are avoided. Instead, kids are cussing at teachers, elders, and, well, everyone they can. I absolutely agree that respect should be passed regardless of social stature, income, or anything like that. I mean... to be respectful hurts no one, right? There are no downsides to it, and it takes nothing to do. From that, everything can be built upon.

  3. I tried to post yesterday - but long-winded me used too many

    So here's the short version. I drove a school bus from 1988 to 1995, a long mileage run with Jr. Hi and H.S. aged kids from a rural area.

    For the most part, I loved the job. Due to the length of the run (55 minutes - each way) I was a quite lenient with the kids, in terms of noise level, etc. I expected them to remain seated, keep their stuff picked up - and not bother others.

    Even back then, some students were disrespectful and unruly. A large group from the same root family would gang up on new riders, or others that they disliked and instigate problems. Verbal and or physical attacks on other students were not uncommon.

    When I intervened, they'd start on me... at times to the point where I was forced to call my dispatch for help in solving the situation. Several times, over the years, the police were sent.

    This usually happened on the way home from school and the only option available was to 'write the student up' and refer them to the school the following trip in. The school would then decide the appropriate 'punishment.'

    The problem was exacerbated by the a total lack of concern re: these behaviors from their parents. It was always 'someone/something else's fault' or 'the driver is lying on my kid' or (my personal favorite) 'my child would never do that.'

    I have to note that these same students presented the same sorts of problems with their teachers at school. When I attended parent conferences regarding these students, many times their teachers were also in attendance... with the same complaints about the kids - disrespect, inappropriate acting out, etc.

    The parents remained adamant 'their child was NOT to blame.'

    This run had a long standing reputation for being the 'worst' in the whole of Clark County. My immediate supervisor, having dealt with these people for decades, was supportive. The new Director of Transportation (beginning 1993) was NOT. After his arrival, I was continually called on the carpet - for simply doing my job.

    I finally left the district, a year after the last of my own two kids graduated.

    In short, a kid will do WHATEVER they are allowed to get away with. The problem lies directly at the feet of the PARENTS. It's THEIR responsibility to TEACH them the boundaries and when they do NOT, the result is what you saw on that video.

    @LME - Best of luck to you and your wife when you decide to have kids : ) Remember, they don't come with instruction manuals... you're pretty much on your own. They're a challenge, for sure, but WELL worth the effort!

    1. Dara - thank you so much for contributing. It is great to get the opinions of someone who was involved first hand in these kinds of things. I think you made a lot of great points including the following that I tend to agree with:

      "In short, a kid will do WHATEVER they are allowed to get away with. The problem lies directly at the feet of the PARENTS. It's THEIR responsibility to TEACH them the boundaries and when they do NOT, the result is what you saw on that video."

      And thanks for the words of luck. I know we will need it whenever the time comes!

    2. And for future reference, I apologize for the character limit for comments. It's something I cannot control as it is a product of the blog's design. Of course, if you write too much, simply copy and paste it to a word doc or something and post it in continual, back-to-back comments. The blog is yours for the writing :-)

    3. I second that; great write-up Dara. Good to hear a perspective from someone familiar with the situation, and I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the true problem here. It's too bad that it only seems to be getting worse with time rather than better. :(

    4. 100% Right, RKen. I absolutely see it getting worse. It's sad.

  4. Whatsamatta - Great on you for setting limits and boundaries on your kids at a young age. Ours are grown now, but I think that starting young is the key.

    I agree w/you re: 'lower status' jobs. BOTH of our kids went to work (summers) as soon as they were able to get their work permits. They started out bussing tables and washing dishes, and when they were older promoted to cook and waitress, respectively.

    We taught our kids that NO honest work is 'bad' and THESE are 'professions' that are always out there as a stop gap - just in case your 'real' job becomes unavailable, for whatever reason.

    I cringe when I see these kids - fresh out of college - stating that they refuse to take a job that they feel is 'beneath them'.

    P.S Both of our kids are now professionals in the medical field... and both have, at times, returned to the food service industry - when they've needed a few extra bucks : )