This week reminded us that we have a great deal of work to do to erase bullying, in our schools and on our buses. Karen Klein is a 68 year old woman who has been monitoring buses for many years I would be so embarrassed if I were those kid’s parents.
She is not the first but wouldn’t it be amazing if she were the last to be bullied by insensitive kids who lack direction??
That the kid thought nothing of taping and being an observer is just as disturbing as those who taunted Karen. From the barbs it was evident that these kids felt a sense of entitlement and one has to wonder how and why. They were rude, abusive and it was a very sad statement of today’s youth and the language skills they lack. Bullying takes on many forms.
The offensive kids kept referring to poverty indicating they may be from an affluent part of Greece, NY. I would have to ask, if they do come from a good home, do they realize they did not earn that money or the right to treat others as if they were less?
We all know kids will take chances and are not always on their best behavior when not in their parents company. But more and more kids are behaving unacceptably and with their parents as well as at their parents. How do I know this? Because I have seen it time and time and time again. I have witnessed children as young as 5 swearing and harassing someone and when called to their parent’s attention, the parents just shrug it off.
In schools, authorities have only so much power in disciplining a child who is acting out and then they have to rely on the parents to follow through and this is not happening as often as it should. Students are quick to point out that no one can “touch them” so they have carte blanche to act out and little can be done other than alerting the parents and suspension.
When my daughter was 14 she started acting out in school. I could not believe the things she was doing. I asked her who she thought she was that she could treat her teachers with so much disrespect. Her lame response was other kids did it. Her behavior was unacceptable to me and I worked with the school in trying to find ways to encourage her to stop. She was grounded at home and at times, banned from school activities. She was suspended from school a few times but none of these actions fazed her.
The school wanted to try one more intervention (after 27 referrals and numerous conferences between myself and the teachers and principals). For me, it had gone past intervention, it was abuse. It was time to get Family Court involved. She was a bully plain and simple.
My daughter was NOT raised that way. Disrespect was not tolerated nor was abusive language. I would not even use shut-up in front of her. But, she was headed down a path that was very disturbing to me and I needed to take action. It was decided that she would go away for a year and begin a behavior modification program that would address her actions as well as her emotional problems. Prior to that, she had been in therapy for several years for issues related to her abandonment as a toddler and the adoption.
In my case, my daughter was diagnosed with several mental health problems, several of which would need lifelong treatment. But, even with these diagnoses, acting the way she did to adults or other students was just intolerable. If she could not control her behaviors, she needed to be away from the school and so she was placed in a small educational program that addressed these issues as well as they could given the financial and physical restraints.
The single most disturbing point to these episodes was the school’s shock that I would be involved every step of the way and certainly not agree that my daughter should be acting out in this manner. There needed to be consequences both at school and at home. I was flabbergasted that the school seemed so surprised at my involvement. To me it was a no-brainer, she was my child.
I believe, as I still do, that my daughter is accountable for her actions. As her parent, I was accountable for her health and welfare and that meant her behaviors, good or bad. If she needed boundaries or discipline, it is my job to provide them.
I believe as parents we sometimes seem to thrive on the cheering on of our children in sports and other activities but fall short when it comes to discipline and I am not quite sure why. They go hand in hand; a parent is responsible for all aspects of a child’s growth and development, including setting boundaries for acceptable behaviors. It begins after birth and does not end until they leave the home.
There is so much in the news about anti-bullying programs in schools and Zero tolerance. In order for that to be upheld, it needs to be reinforced in the homes too and there needs to be immediate and decisive action to discourage further bullying. Parents need to Parent their children first and foremost
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