By now you've probably all heard the story about Karen Klein, the bus matron in Greece, NY, who was bullied and abused by a group of middleschoolers on the school bus a few days ago.
I watched the 10 minute video. I was physically sick about 3 minutes into it, and crying soon after that. I had to force myself to watch the whole thing, and I know a lot of people who were unable to do so.
But bullying is important to me. Or should I say, ANTI-bullying is important to me. I always said when I retired I wanted to do something with a literacy foundation or a library or something like that. But I think I've found a new cause.
I'm not linking to the video here, it's that disturbing to me. If you want to see it, it's easy enough to find. I donated to Indiegogo, to the vacation fund someone started for her. I'm happy to see it's more of a retirement fund at this point: at this exact moment in time, it's at $466,201. The goal was $5000.
I'd like to thank everyone who donated: you don't know me, but thank you from the bottom of my heart for finding a few dollars to share with this woman. She's 68 years old, still working to make ends meet. That measly $15,000 she makes as a bus matron helps, I'm sure, but there's not enough money in the world that she should have to take that abuse from a handful of monster children.
And yes, I blame the parents.
Sure, kids + a pack mentality = trouble, = cruel kids. We all have heard it before: kids are cruel. But you know what? I know a boatload of them who are NOT. My sisters and I are not. My kids are not. My cousin and his kids are not. My family members are not. My neighborhood children are not. The majority of the kids I've met volunteering in a local school for the past 7 years are not.
Sure, there are a few. But they're squashed down the minute we hear anything remotely cruel: "Apologize to XYZ, we don't talk that way in this classroom." "You owe so-and-so an apology - that was mean and we don't behave like that." And then we talk about whatever issue it was that caused the cruelty: someone is short, different, blonde, poor, foreign, etc., etc. And 99 times out of a hundred, the kids learn tolerance and acceptance and kindness.
These little monsters who behaved so terribly on that bus were not taught to respect their elders. If they had been, pack mentality or not, they would not have done what they did. You've seen it: if a child is uncomfortable with what's going on, they shut down, back away, or simply don't participate. They might not have the strength to stand against the bullies, but they don't play along. These kids enjoyed it. It was FUN to call her "fat a$$," or "stupid" or "sweaty" or comment that she probably doesn't have a family because they all killed themselved to get away from her. Oh yea, you mother-trucker? Did you happen to hear later, after you opened your cruel little mouth, that Karen lost a son to suicide years ago? Feel better now?
A father of one of those boys went to apologize to her. At least that's what I saw on Anderson Cooper's AC360. Where was his son??? I didn't see HIM there apologizing! [If he was there and the clip didn't show it, I apologize.] And when AC asked Karen if she accepted the boys' apologies, she said she hadn't gotten any yet. Statements read by Anderson Cooper?? Really? THAT is supposed to make me believe you feel some remorse, you little animals??
I am HORRIFIED at their behavior. They have not ever suffered any serious consequences for bad behavior; I'd be willing to bet that same $50 I donated to Karen that they haven't. I'm supposed to believe they've never behaved this way before? Really?
Guess what, I'm not that stupid.
Okay, I'm off my soapbox and ending my rant now - but I vow now and forever to fight bullying wherever I see it. It's always been something I stand against, and I am comfortable saying I fight it when I see it, but this situation has simply strengthened my resolve.