National Bullying Story – Have You Seen This?

Bullied bus monitor thankful for support, pleads for threats to stop

By Jason Sickles | The Lookout – Fri, Jun 22, 2012

[Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET]

All bullied bus monitor Karen Klein wanted was an apology. Now she’s getting that … and then some.

Police say the four boys who tormented the 68-year-old on a school bus in upstate New York earlier this week have taken responsibility for their actions. The students are also saying they’re sorry.

“I feel really bad about what I did,” one said in a statement to CNN. “I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.”

Another said, “When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean, and I will never treat anyone this way again.”

The video of the seventh-graders cursing, taunting and physically threatening a crying Klein has become a rallying point against bullying. It has also prompted an overwhelming outpouring of support for the longtime school bus worker.

An online campaign to fund a vacation for Klein had grown to more than $500,000 by Friday afternoon, far surpassing the initial $5,000 goal. Max Sidorov, the Toronto man who started the fund two days ago, said he did so partly because he was bullied himself as a child.

“Maybe we can send her on a great, early retirement,” Sidorov told The Associated Press.

Then Anderson Cooper surprised the grandmother of eight on CNN Thursday night with an all-expenses paid trip for nine people to Disneyland from Southwest Airlines. The Walt Disney Co. made the same offer for Disney World.

“I want to thank everybody for so much kindness,” Klein told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

But not all of the reaction has been positive. School officials in Greece, N.Y., and the boys who bullied Klein have received a barrage of threatening messages. Police stepped up patrols near the teens’ homes.

“We have a cellphone of one of the boys, and he’s received more than 1,000 missed calls and more than 1,000 text messages threatening him,” Capt. Steve Chatteron said. “Threats to overcome threats do no good.”

Klein, who asked police not to charge the boys, issued a plea for the madness to end.

“I feel kinda bad for them and their families because of what’s going on,” she said. “They’re being harassed terribly, and I don’t like that. I don’t want any harm to come to them.”

Humbling words given the week she’s had.

On That Note:

I don’t know what this world is coming to when this type of behavior is so rampant among our younger generation, but I do know what would have happened to the kids of my generation if we had done something like this!!  We would have been lucky if we could sit down for a week or two.

Having been abused for many years, I am against violence.  Having said that, I must add that I am NOT against parents spanking their children.  Since the government has gotten involved with how we discipline our children, this type of behavior has grown in leaps and bounds.

I do not agree with BEATING our children with belts or switches off trees, that is too extreme in my opinion.  I do agree with my mother’s philosophy however; she kept broken yardsticks, paddle-ball paddles that the ball had come off of or paint stirrer on top of the refrigerator.  If you were smart enough, like me, you would start running as soon as her hand was going toward them rather than after she started swinging!

When I got older, she explained to me her thinking on this: using those type of things for paddles made sense because, no matter how angry you were, they would break in half before you really could hurt the child too much.

I always laugh when I think of it because it reminds me of the old Bill Cosby bit where he’s talking about his mother wielding the yardstick like a “samurai warrior”.  My brothers used to complain that I never got spanked (which wasn’t exactly true), but I wonder why?  lol!

As parents, we need to make sure that our children learn to respect other human beings, especially those who are different, handicapped, elderly, etc.!!  This behavior, as with any other, begins at home.  It’s either taught or tolerated – either way, that’s unacceptable in “civilized” society!

Love and blessings to all,

Terri

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8 thoughts on “National Bullying Story – Have You Seen This?

  1. i have been following this story and am amazed at those nasty kids so young, and more so at the parents that most of them have not come forward. we learn what we see, and says too little about those kids parents, but i am also thankful for the financial support of others. i hope that she can leave that job

    1. The outpouring of support renews your faith in the goodness of people, doesn’t it?! I agree with what you said about the parents as well. Thanks for your thoughts Terry!!

  2. Hi Terri, I also agree with Terry’s comment. It makes you wonder how children are being raised and what they’re taught…there is very little respect for adults or anyone, for that matter. I’ve seen it in all different ages and it’s very sad. The world is changing and I’m not so sure it’s all for the good~I am thankful, though, for the financial support she has received, above and beyond what was hoped for…
    Love and hugs, Lauren

  3. Amen Lauren! It’s frightening when you see this level of cruelty and lack of respect, isn’t it?! Very disheartening to think this is the type of world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. I’m beginning to think that it has a lot to do with the mother’s being out in the work force and not home raising their children (or a stay at home dad for that matter)! One parent or the other needs to be around full time to supervise and direct, to lead by example too! Blessings, hugs and smooches!! I hope things are calming down for you 🙂 ❤

  4. I blame Bart Simpson…seriously. It was a challenge while raising my 18 & 25 year olds because it was during their childhood that Bart Simpson and South Park among many others. All their friends were watching these things with their families and the parents thought nothing of it. Yet it is the very nature of these characters and many of the more popular movies to make disrespect, bullying, and the child ruling over the parent funny and the perceived normal.

    I have to confess that my daughter was caught writing a racist word on the back of a school bus seat. I was completely shocked. I had never, to my awareness, said or done anything to promote racism or bigotry. She had friends from the racial category the word defamed. I was caught so off guard that my instinctive response was to believe her professions of innocence. However, there was footage on the bus that indicated that she was the one who had committed that heinous act. There was no corporal punishment, but I worked with the school and addressed the issue.

    I was a single, working mom, struggling with physical and mental health issues and I could see that she was acting out increasingly: lying, stealing, running away, drugs, and promiscuity. I didn’t have insurance or money, I didn’t have a network of friends and family I could get support from with any consistency. I sought help through school and public agencies, but because she hadn’t actually done anything bad enough for the state to incarcerate or intervene, I was on my own, until she got caught with another girl, across the state line, and she was convicted of a minor felony. Then we got some services and she had to engage in some mandated anger management and therapy programs.

    She has told me that she was a bully. It was a shock to me when she told me that. Why had I never been told by school officials or been confronted by the parents of those she had bullied? I never knew that one of her outcries for help was how she acted out by bullying others.

    She’s almost 19 and my heart breaks for her because of how difficult a time she’s having due to the long-term consequences of her past choices.

    1. Kina, I must agree with your assessment of programming that our children are exposed to these days 😦 My daughter is not allowed to watch those shows, though I must admit that she doesn’t really like South Park anyway, but she does try to watch Family Guy and some of the other ones that I find totally unacceptable and make her change the channel when I catch her turning them on!!!

      In addition to that, she is not allowed to ever raise her voice to/at me. She gets an abrupt wake-up call if she even starts and then she knows to tone it down immediately. She has been taught respect of her elders. But she is also a teenager and has to push her boundries every now and then to test the waters.

      I think the younger parents these days don’t follow through enough and give in way too much. I had a counselor tell me one time to never ground my son for any longer than what I could stand it for and then to hold firm to the punishment given, even if I wanted to kill myself before it was over, lol! I learned real quick just how long I could deal with being cooped up with my whining son and would not budge after sentence had been handed down.

      Having said all that, I feel so sorry for your daughter and her struggles. I pray that she find some peace within herself and start her own road to “recovery” of her self-esteem and worth!!

      I also pray for your strength, patience and healing!! God bless, Terri

  5. I would really have to disagree that this behavior is rampant among the young and is something new. Human nature hasn’t changed much and bullies have always been around. Just look at the Bible, they were everywhere and horrible people. With new technology, we just see it outside of our own little part of the world. It’s easy to blame moms at work, or tv. I am 56 and I did not have a stay at home mom.

    I am actually a bit irritated that the woman would have just sat there in the bus. Why didn’t she get the bus driver to stop the bus and call in school district administrators? But to just sit there and cry? The end result is these boys are truly ashamed of what they did and are now being harassed by tons of other people. What goes around comes around.

    In our school district (I taught school for 20 years) the biggest bullies by far are the adults. When my daughter was 6, her teacher was hitting the kids. Carol Comeau, the Superintendent of Anchorage, Alaska told my husband and I that she got my letter the kids were being hit, but she chose to ignore it. That is a true bully. And she is 70 years old.

    I’ve seen adults in our school make fun of kids, be drunk during the school day, have sex with students, etc. It is not the kids.

    1. Anchorage, Thanks for your thoughts on this matter. That’s what I love about freedom of speech, we can each state our opinions, whether we agree or disagree. This type of behavior is not something totally new, I agree, but in my neck of the woods it seems to be growing. I also know what I see and having a 14 yr. old (yes, I am in my 50’s also) I know what I hear. This is a sore subject with me and my daughter knows full well what her punishment would be if she displayed this kind of behavior ever!! But, thank God, she and her elder sister & brother are just like me, kind hearted and sympathetic souls.

      Maybe the increase is regionally measured? I don’t know but I do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with my readers and me. God bless, Terri

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