Another One Rides The Bus
June 25, 2012 by almostakiss
I have a lot of unpopular opinions. This is one of them. I always keep them to myself. I speak about them loudly in my own home. I don’t share them because I don’t like having to defend my stance. I also don’t like generating conflict between people. It would be smarter to wait until I had a following before alienating them all by posting my opinions but…here goes.
This topic struck a nerve with me and not in the way you might expect. Everyone’s heard about the story of the school bus monitor being picked on by four 7th grade students. I have nothing against this woman and think she handled things the only way she knew how. No one can argue that what those kids did was right because it wasn’t. The fact that one of them was taping her reaction to put on YouTube flabbergasts me. It seems to be a sense of pride with the youngest generation to document yourself behaving badly for the entire world to see. There is “no shame” in being mean or acting like a jerk. It is all fodder for the Internet and millions of viewers, not to mention the entire news media.
I’m aware what goes on on school buses, even though it’s been a few decades since I rode one. I rode a school bus for 3 years in jr. high and 3 yrs in high school. The jr. high school was 5 miles away and the bus was ridiculously overcrowded. People would have to sit 3 to a seat so if you were last onto the bus (as my pickup was), you’d end up with your rump on 2 inches of the end of a seat. It was entirely a mob mentality with the rowdiness at a high level all the time. All the kids from my stop and the nearby stops would walk to an earlier stop to be assured they’d get a better seat or a seat at all. They were walking in the opposite direction of the school to get ahead of other people. This made NO sense to me. I was one of those kids who barely got up and out in time to catch the bus at the last minute. I made sure not to miss it (I chased it a few times) since I didn’t want to have to ask my Mom to drive me to school. Back in the day, you either walked to school or rode the bus. No parents shuttled their kids to school unless they were coming from a doctor’s appt. I did walk down to the other stops a few times but to stand out in freezing weather and wait was insane. My neighborhood was the poor part of town and the kids were rough. Bullying was commonplace. They didn’t bully everyone but I’d been bullied a lot in grade school and got some in jr. high as well. I wasn’t bullied at school but on the bus. Our neighborhood had a couple of bullies that made my life hell. One hit me over the head with a ball pean hammer and stole my tennis racket while riding the bus. There were many other incidents but needless to say, it wasn’t a safe zone. The bus driver acted like she was deaf, dumb and blind. I’d feel sorry for the drivers but they picked that job. Being a school bus driver is on my list of things I’d never want to do. It’s right up there with cleaning public toilets. I’d be less shell shocked with the toilets.
Years ago there was no such thing as school bus monitors. I had to google it to see what exactly they do. Basically, they monitor the conduct of students to maintain discipline and safety. They ride the school bus to prevent altercations between students and damage to bus. The woman they showed being verbally attacked is the equivalent of a Walmart greeter. She’s 68 years old and just sits there being paid. She’s supposed to keep the kids from fighting but if they don’t respect her, how’s that working? You know how it goes, good kids won’t cause trouble no matter what. It’s the troublemaking kids that will push the limits and bounds and if not reeled in, they don’t know when to stop. They just keep it up until somebody gets hurt, either emotionally or physically. They have no way to keep themselves in check and the good kids won’t stand up to them for fear of becoming the next target. The other bad kids in the group also won’t challenge their friends, they jump in as well. The only thing that surprised me about the school bus monitor incident was that it was recorded for posterity. This type of behavior has been going on for decades. Yes, it’s still wrong but just think how many people have this happen every day and because it wasn’t filmed, it’s like it doesn’t exist? The ones who suffer in silence and have no attention called to it still deal with the consequences. They get no sympathy and they sure as hell don’t get half a million dollars.
I look at everything in life through 3 prisms: common sense, logic and fairness. I think it’s absolutely insane that people are donating money to this woman because they feel sorry for her. She didn’t suffer any financial loss for having those monsters verbally tear into her. I would’ve rather someone came forward and said they’d pay to have the 4 kids sent to a boot camp where they can learn respect for their elders. Another scenario would be someone offering the woman a comparable job doing something else. She could still earn her own money but wouldn’t have to be around the kids anymore if they’ve traumatized her. This trend of rewarding people with cash whenever they have something bad happen really bothers me. If EVERYONE that had something bad happen to them magically had a bank account set up online and filled with cash, fine. But just think of all the crimes that don’t make the news headlines. I just heard of an 88 yr. old woman beaten in her own apartment and a couple who had a home invasion and the man was beaten in the face with an iron. I don’t hear a word about anyone setting up a fund for them to get money. We need to help one another in ways that don’t involve money too.
Getting back to the school bus debacle, the kids were made to apologize. Saying sorry just doesn’t cut it. I don’t know if those kids will ever understand the ramifications of their actions. They should be doing community service or something where they have to think about what they’ve done more than once. What the school buses need isn’t a monitor, it’s a bouncer. Like in a bar. They need a big burly dude just making his presence known and not taking any shit. Once the kids know he means business, they will behave. If they don’t, the monitor/bouncer needs to tell the bus driver to pull over. In a parking lot or just to a side street, whatever. Then they both talk to the kids and explain that if they are late to school, the kids that caused the ruckus will have to stay after school for detention. There needs to be some consequences. It would disrupt the school day if the bus is late but isn’t that better than having the kids think they can get away with anything?!
I don’t have kids so I’m sure a lot of people think my opinion shouldn’t count. If I had a child who behaved that way, I would be so ashamed. Everyone talks about making the world a better place. Does it matter if all our food is organic, we go “green” in every way that matters and we “repurpose” everything, if we don’t know how to treat our fellow human beings?!