In Defense of the Bus Monitor Bullies
July 3, 2012
I'll be the first to say it: It's time to leave the school bus bullies alone.
In case you've been in detention for the past week, a loathsome foursome of seventh-grade boys are in hot water—well, actually in a one-year suspension from school—after a video of them taunting their bus monitor, Karen Klein, went viral. But as horrible as their behavior was, our reaction as adults is even more troubling. According to one bully-boy's dad, his son has received thousands of death threats.
We all get outraged when we hear about kids whose parents publicly punish them by, say, making them stand in the mall with a sign proclaiming "I SHOPLIFTED." They're just children!, we gasp, as we wonder how evil those parents must be. Yet thanks to the Internet, and viral videos, misbehaving kids are humiliated before millions of people, not just the few passing by on their way to The Pottery Barn. And the people offering to "punish" these children aren't even their parents. Now that's an even greater evil.
So let's all get off the bus and leave it to its rightful passengers: Klein, the boys, and the handful of parents and administrators who are qualified to hash things through. Klein's already gotten plenty of sympathy, and will probably get some big bucks too, since a fund set up to give her a vacation has already attracted well over a half-million bucks. Which bewilders her; she says her supporters "don't even know me."
All those haters don't really know the boys, either.
What’s your take on this sad situation? Do you think the boys have been punished enough?