Friday, June 22, 2012

Bus Monitor Bullies and their Enabling Parents or How to Raise an Asshole

She is not alone in her shabby treatment, sadly
For those of you who are shocked, SHOCKED, by the video of the 7th grade "bullies" ruthlessly taunting a 68-year old grandmother, I'd like to introduce you to education in the 2010s.  First of all, bullying occurs amongst peers, and these 13-year-olds are not even one-fifth the age of their victim, so this act is miscategorized.  The fact that Karen Klein, the victim, is not the person who posted the video speaks volumes about the mindset of students and the commonplace nature of this scene that is shocking the country.  One of the bullies, who did not view this video as out of the ordinary, or as crass, vulgar and borderline criminal, posted it, I suppose so that he and his charming friends could digitally hurl more invective at the unbelieveably restrained Klein.  She responded with such class and honor that she deserves all the money the Canadian good Samaritan is raising for her.  But, so does anyone else who works with children in schools these days. 

These students can lay their hands on her as
a joke, but a teacher in Florida can't hit a
much larger student leaning on her,
insulting and cornering her.
Only one of the parents of the four bullies apologized, the father of Wesley Helm.  To his credit, he did it for the news reporter and to Mrs. Klein's face.  He had said how he didn't raise his children this way, and how he couldn't believe his son had done this.  It's shameful that only one person, and none of punks who committed these awful acts, apologized, so that tells me that perhaps Mr. Helm, and the other parents, did raise their children this way.  I am glad that this man apologized, but it should be the child.   If the child is big and strong enough to talk to an elder as if she is sub-human, then he should be tough enough to repent like a man.  The fact that this father shielded his son from the shame and embarrassment is the reason his son acted this way: a lack of consequences.  When my daughter tried to steal a coveted item from her friend's house the other day, I had no problem calling her out on it.  Yes, she cried, but she was made to apologize.  I'm willing to bet she won't do that again; indeed, today, out of the blue, she told me that "stealing is never okay". 

So many parents are disturbed by the video, as they should be.  But, to the parents such as Mr. Helm who cannot imagine their own, darling angels ever acting in a similar way, let me tell you, if you have ever questionned a school employee on a story told to you by your child, then your child does act in exactly this manner.  They argue with their teachers, with their deans, and with their assistant principals, as if they have some authority in the school decisions and in the consequences of their actions.  They contort stories until they are unrecognizable when recounted by the indignant parent to the beleaguered administration.  They taunt their classmates who are weaker, they disobey the requests of the staff, and they show outright disdain for people like Mrs. Klein who keep them safe on buses, cook their food, and clean up their messes.  And they do so because you believe them when they tell you that the teacher picks on him or her for no reason, or that the other student hit them for no reason.  Yes, when you side with them and their incredible tales, and go to Parent Teacher conferences seething with hatred for the evil school teachers that, in your mind, plot and scheme against your child, believe me, your child is exactly like those bullies on the bus.  And it is precisely because you side with your child and blame the teachers and other staff members that your child is like that.  Really, Mr. Helm, where did Wesley develop such facility with profanity and ugliness?  It certainly didn't sound like Wesley's first, awkward attempts at bullying by calling someone a poopyhead, dingleberry, fatty, four-eyes or a doodle: these boys were talking about cumming in her mouth!  Did you really have no clue your child was capable of this?
Too bad Brandon Teng
 isn't a teacher, or he'd
 lose all rights for doing
something like this.

People like Mrs. Klein take this nonsense from children all day, every day.  Bullying involves power imbalances, whether real or perceived, and obviously, the bullies in this situation know that they have the upper hand, because Mrs. Klein would lose her job if she reacted or retaliated.  The fact that she didn't return the insults, didn't smack anyone, and didn't even report this, shows how common such scenes have become.  Rather than change the behavior of the children, the adults have to simply tolerate it as part of the hazards of the job.  Those boys were touching her, for God's sake, and still, for Mrs. Klein, it was just another crappy day surviving her crappy job.  It is a noble job, and she is a noble woman, but the work she does and her gracious demeanor deserve better than to be insulted by a bunch of entitled, cowardly, foul-mouthed jerks.  Karen Klein, I salute you and others like you.  The pendulum has swung waaaaaaaaay to far on the side of the children to our, their and society's detriment.  It will come back around, though.  It has to.

Oh, and as for protecting the identities of these miscreants, their names are Wesley Helm, Josh Sleasak, Tyler Warren, Brandon Teng and Luis Recio.  Let it be written now and forever what they have done, so that it follows and haunts them for the rest of their lives, for perhaps then they will know remorse.  And maybe, feeling shitty about their disgraceful actions will help them finally become better people than they were raised to be.

EDITOR'S NOTE: There is an anonymous comment below asking me to remove Tyler's name from the above list.  The fantasy that is being told as to why he should not be blamed has a few logic holes in it.  First of all, it was another bully who first named him, and as all of the other boys have issued "apologies", shouldn't they have mentionned this other, equally damaging <sarcasm>, injustice?  Okay, we've established that they're cowardly liars, so I'll cede you this excuse flaw.  Second, "we" took him to the police station, "as Tyler is the only person involved with this incident that was wrongly accused" - well, how the heck do you know that if he supposedly wasn't on the bus?  Did he talk to the others?  If so, shouldn't he have asked them to clear his name?  And, "we" is in quotes, because earlier in the retelling of this delusion "we" was referred to as "Tricia Warren".  And, finally, there is a legal defense fund to "clear his name" (how one goes about doing that, legally, is a problem I'll leave to the lawyers), not, as one would expect in such a horrible falsehood, defamation of character.  I could go on, but let's just leave the Swiss cheese statements stand on their own flimsy legs.  I'm sorry, but these Greek parents are an embarassment.  Earlier, Luis Recio's father felt obliged to put this exculpatory phrase in his official apology: "Like Luis said, if your friend says to bully somebody, please don’t do it."  It's not Luis' fault, he is just another innocent child, just like Tyler!  In an interview, Luis was asked "Did you say anything mean to her while you were recording?", to which he eloquently responded, "No, not nothing, probably like oh you're fat, or nothing", so we must assume that he conveniently forgot saying "Imma f******g take a crap in your mouth" to Mrs. Klein.  The reporter quotes Luis as saying "all he told Klein was to give him back his yearbook."  There is no way he truly believe this, nor does any other viewer of the video recording that refutes his statements, but I'm sure his mother does, and this is what I'm talking about, Greek parents.  You may believe your son, Mrs. Warren.  I do not.

Oh, and I was right, it was NOT their first time bullying.


  1. Painful, difficult to read, synopsis of the chaos found in many schools today. Having been a substitute teacher for several years at many different schools, grades, and subjects, I witnessed first hand the incredible challenges faced by teachers. Many classes are too crowded, children with myriad disabilities who are now mainstreamed act out causing disruptions, parent's are not involved, not enough money for assistant's, student's on myriad's a mess.

  2. Thank you! Brilliantly written, thanks for calling out the kids name, it is a shame that their parents don't feel they should teach them to apologize. It's saddening that this behavior is tolerated and commonplace in our schools.

    "Lets Give Karen -The bus monitor- H Klein A Vacation!" has raised over $650,000 for her. She plans to invest some and donate the rest. A very dear woman.

    People in her position should have lists of parents phone numbers so they can call and put them on speaker.

  3. Tyler Warren was not there, there were four students involved; Tyler wasn't even on the bus. Please remove his name from your blog, and this comment... he is unrelated to this incident, he and his family have already suffered enough from this misinformation.



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