Was father wrong to board school bus to confront alleged middle school tormentors of his child?

Terry sent me this note about the Florida dad who stormed a school bus to confront kids teasing his 13-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy.

I have been thinking on this story all week and am torn. I do not condone what he did, but I don’t think he should be charged with a crime. I for one can truly understand how this man felt and can empathize with his frustration.  Kids who are bullied have a tough time in school, and I think its probably exponentially worse if the child is differently abled.  Schools should be mandated to have bully prevention programs in every school.

Here are the details: Upset over his belief that kids were tormenting his daughter, James Willie Jones of Sanford, Fl., boarded a school bus on Sept. 3 and began to scream at the kids — captured on YouTube. Please watch the video as the man charged onto the bus and released a barrage of obscenities in what can only be described as a tirade.

To his credit, Jones held a press conference this week where he said,  “At that time, I was a bully. And I apologize again for that. If you see the tape, I feel like I was backed up against the wall as a parent. I just didn’t know where else to go. We definitely don’t want to promote that. We don’t want vigilantes going on buses, threatening kids, because kids have rights too.”

For his actions, Jones is facing disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function. He has decided to pull his daughter out of the local middle school.

While I am sympathetic to the father’s defense of  his daughter, I would not be happy if my child were on that bus and witnessed his rage as it was downright frightening.

According to this news story from the AP:

Jones’ wife, Deborah McFadden-Jones, said they noticed a change in their daughter’s behavior since school began this year. She left messages with a school guidance counselor, she said, but never heard back.

McFadden-Jones said at the news conference that their daughter’s condition isn’t noticeable, and she was bullied for standing up for another girl.

“She’s a beautiful young lady who would give her last if she has it,” McFadden-Jones said, crying. “And she would step in for others who have been bullied or been pushed around, and that’s where it started. She was helping someone else, and it turned on her and there was no one there to help her out.”

Jones told deputies that boys placed an open condom on his daughter’s head, smacked her on the back of her head, twisted her ear and shouted rude comments at her, according to the sheriff’s office report.

Jones said Tuesday that the condom actually was intended for another young girl, but that some fragments hit his daughter and that her head was wet. Still, he said she has been teased, spit on, pulled, poked and pushed — and that she had an emotional breakdown after describing the harassment.

School spokeswoman Regina Murray Klaers said in an e-mail last week that Jones did not express concerns to school administrators about his daughter but did report an incident involving another girl. That incident was investigated and appropriate action was taken, Klaers said.

Jones said he has received e-mails, phone calls and other messages of support from people around the country.

143 comments Add your comment

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
5:57 am

Maureen, cerebral palsy is not a redirection of abilities. It is a disability that forces its sufferers to compensate, however imperfectly, by using mechanical aids and other people’s assistance. If cerebral palsy were a mere matter of being “differently abled,” then, given a choice about whether you wished you had it or not depends on which set of abilities you preferred to have. Would you be an athlete? Then be abled more in body. Would you be a scientist? Then be abled more in mind. But for what would you wish to be “abled” by having cerebral palsy?

Liberals carry politesse in language to the point of popularizing erroneous conceptions.

Schoolyard (or school bus) bullying is a form of assault in which the perpetrator and the victim are pupils, usually in the same school system. It’s a juvenile crime that carries a freight of politics which sometimes prevents established authorities from dealing effectively with it. When a crime happens, a citizen normally may try to put a stop to it… at his own risk. If the criminals prove too much for him, then the would-be hero, too, becomes a victim.

The only duty that a professional law-enforcement officer has that a citizen doesn’t have is that of being legally compelled to intervene in crime, rather than having the option to do so.

The girl’s father took his option to intervene in crime. Apparently, the criminal(s) weren’t too much for him, and the father could have put a bit of cautionary fear into the bully or bullies. But the state was offended because the father’s behavior had cast light upon the state’s tepid willingness, or on its practical ineffectiveness, in protecting children by preventing this form of assault. The state will, above all, protect itself and its image and deal harshly with anyone who lessens them.

That’s one reason leftists will never get their benevolent nanny government, although I expect that most leftists understand this quite well and are, secretly, willing to settle for being the ones who end up holding power as the Politburo of the World.

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
6:10 am

was he wrong?
hell no.

I’ve have done much the same thing

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
6:14 am

was he wrng to issue that stupid apology?
hell yes.

that was probably the first time those little thugs
ever had to face anything resembling consequences for
their predatory actions.

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
6:28 am

“That incident was investigated and appropriate action was taken, Klaers said.”

Obviously, that statement is false, since if the appropriate action had been taken the offenders in that previous incident would not have dared to repeat their mistake.

Criminals, even juvenile ones, don’t have the same rights as law-abiding citizens do. By committing crimes, they forfeit some of their rights and immunities. A punishment that does not deter the repetition of crime is not an appropriate action: it merely extends an invitation to the offender to do it again and supplies him with the motive of resentment. A punishment must go beyond this to be effective. It must make the offender FEAR to do it again, or else render the offender INCAPABLE of doing it again.

MS Man

September 25th, 2010
6:30 am

It concerns me that the story doesn’t indicate that the parents attempted to contact an administrator at the school and give them the opportunity to handle. I saw how they left a message with a counselor, but if my kid is getting bullied at school, I am going to the office and talking with the principal myself to get some action. I am not getting on a bus and acting like a fool. What does yelling and screaming and cursing teach kids? It plain and simple says that being the biggest bully is way to go. It doesn’t teach them to stand up for each other, to stop allowing bullying, or encourage them to tell an adult. If you do go to the administration and nothing happens, then move up the chain of command.

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
6:38 am

Wordiness alert. My apologies. Where’s the edit button?

I wrote:
“…then, given a choice about whether you wished you had it or not depends on which set of abilities…”

I should have written:
“…then whether you wished you had it or not would depend on which set of abilities…”

ScienceTeacher671

September 25th, 2010
6:39 am

Agree with MS Man. If I’ve left messages with a counselor and none are returned, I’m going to either call the principal or be up in someone’s office trying to get a resolution to the problem.

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
7:06 am

@MS Man, I don’t think I agree with you. For one thing, the state is not special in the way you seem to regard it. Having authority do what I can also do will likewise show a punk that the way to go is to become Yosef Stalin, or at least Boss Hogg, and then abuse legal authority in more expansive and profitable bullying.

Further, although most school yard bullying involves only misdemeanor infractions, it can and sometimes does rise to the level of felonious assault, aggravated assault, that can put the victim’s life in danger. There might not be time for a concerned citizen to contact authority and wait for the official wheels to turn. A better idea would be to train parents for intervention in these crimes, to teach them what they certainly may do about them, where the “you went too far” line is, and never to contradict those teachings with “Surprise! Gotcha! The rules changed last night while you were asleep!”

DeborahinAthens

September 25th, 2010
8:21 am

When my younger son was in school, he was bullied (ranted at, hit in the head, etc)relentlessly for a reason that I will address later. He is not handicapped, he is not black or Asian or Latino. He isn’t fat or ugly. After talking with administrators at Dacula Middle School, nothing was ever done to the miserable pieces of trash that picked on him. Eventually, my son solved his bus bullying problems by riding his bike home from school. Every morning we loaded his bike into the car, I would drop him off on my way to work, and every afternoon, since neither my husband nor I could get off work that early, he would ride his bike the five miles home. The bullying stopped. The people that were bullying him, by the way, were Baptist kids from Hebron Baptist Church. We are Methodists and they told my son he was going to hell for not being a Baptist and “truly saved”. I hate to bring politics into every discussion, but I see the same mentality in the fundamentalist Tea Partiers.

Perplexed2

September 25th, 2010
8:58 am

Rules with which to adhere t parents:
1. Get the facts from your child
2. Investigate, then investigate again to confirm child’s story.
3. In writing, submit a letter of complaint to the school board and cc a copy to the school principal.
4. With a workable period, if you are not satidfied, contact an attorney and the local newspaper to avoid jail time yourself.
5. Never, never take the law into your own hands.
6. Ask the school sysytem, since a child has Special Needs, why a special bus was not provided to avoid the so-called”normal” children with obvious little social graces.

Ole Guy

September 25th, 2010
9:11 am

Farnsy and, I would imagine, many others, would support the actions of parents who, unhappy with the coach’s decisions make complete fools of themselves by creating public spectacles. Having the discipline and self control, as a responsible adult, in addressing life’s issues, is the hallmark of real citizenship. Sure, in the wooly days of the old west, one could solve problems with brawn and weaponry; many, if not all of the social ills du jour have origins with people who haven’t quite grasped this concept, and feel that they, and they alone are in possession of some sort of special wisdom which grants them some set of “rights” and immunity from the realities with which normal folks must contend. This, like it or not, is the “price tag”/the behavioral expectations which go along with living within a society.

Everyone everywhere has an operational chain command. If one feels that an injustice has been cast upon them; if one has the COURAGE, DISCIPLINE, and TENACITY to pursue the issue, justice will prevail…unless, of course, you’re Charles Bronson!

teacher&mom

September 25th, 2010
9:31 am

Perplexed2 is correct. Make sure every complaint is followed with a written letter or document. That way you avoid the “he said/she said” nonsense. Take your first complaint to the principal. If that doesn’t stop the bullying, go straight to the Superintendent and follow up that meeting with a letter where you outline everything that was discussed in the meeting. If the problem still persists, get a lawyer, call the school board and ask to speak at the next school board meeting. Bring your documentation and present it to the board. Oh, and after you are confirmed on the school board agenda, let them know that you have invited the local media. I guarantee you’ll get results.

catlady

September 25th, 2010
9:44 am

This was well debated on momania over a week ago.

The father should NEVEr have boarded the bus. What if some parent had boarded the bus to threaten and harangue his daughter?

If the harassment had been verbal, he should in person and in writing put the school on notice. If no relief, then he should engage an civil rights attorney. I think the school would have been responsive then.

However, if the abuse had become physical (as it did), then he should file a report with the police, and attempt to have a warrant taken out against the boys. A few days in lockup might change the behavior of the boys.

As it was, he was shown to be impotent; not the right sign for these boys who were abusing his daughter. That makes them stronger. They feed on being “stronger” than others–on “winning.”

I would have thought there would be evidence of the assault on the tape. The dad should have relied on that to convict the abusers of assault. Taking it into his own hands leaves him open to charges.

teacher and mom nails it. However, I would be more aggressive if there is physical contact. Then it crosses from harassment to assault, which is against the law.

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
9:51 am

and while all of you are wringing you hands helplessly trying to make the least responsive part of of society – the education system – act

your kids still suffer the consequences.

I’m all for documenting and following the perscribed rules of the system – but I’d not let my special needs child continue to recieve abuse at the hands of thugs while the system tries it best to make
it and you go away.

in the meantime, anyone threatening my special needs child will have
to get thru me to reach her.

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
9:53 am

@ teacher/mom

exactly what do you expect the media to do?
hell, we give Maureen fact and fact and lead after lead
that goes nowhere.

if it doesn’t fit a specific agenda, it ain’t gonna happen

gamom

September 25th, 2010
9:56 am

Keep a copy of all your documentation too. Especially emails, make sure you request a read receipt so they can’t say they never got it. Keep the read receipt. And if you are sending something by snail mail, do a return receipt requested, so they again can’t say they never got it. Perplexed2 has the right idea IMHO

V for Vendetta

September 25th, 2010
9:56 am

If the parent had previously contacted the school, even for the reason of simply covering his backside, then I say he was justified in his actions. Were his child otherwise healthy, I would disagree. I think standing up to bullies is one of the best lessons you can teach your children about being a strong individual and not a mindless lemming.

Ole Guy, I would tend to disagree with you here. As a coach, the ranting you talk about at athletic events come from parents who either feel they know better than you or think you are being unfair to their child. It is not a defensive position in response to bullying or ill treatment. I have never seen a parent tirade at an athletic event that had any sort of justification.

Deborah, why didn’t you make your son stand up to the bullies? Why did you have him take the easy (coward’s) way out? Considering the impetus for the bullying–yet another example of the intolerance and bigotry inherent in religion–I would think standing his ground would have been the more empowering choice–even in the face of overwhelming size/numbers. And of course you see the same mentality in the fundamentalist Tea Partiers: they are no different than their conservative GOP brethren. Same sh1t, different name.

Lynn43

September 25th, 2010
10:02 am

I have not followed this story, but was anything done to these young hooligans? What and how did these students have a condom on a school bus, and where was the bus driver when all this was happening? Was anything done to the ruffians parents? They got a picture of the dad. Where is the picture of the kids? I am all for the girl and the media made to wrong person look like the bad guy. Spread the guilt.

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
10:03 am

@ catlady,

the what if portion is moot. what if your mom had married
Elvis or the Cookie Monster?

no parents were threatening his kid. mini predators in
training ON THAT BUS were.

I don’t see anyone advocating parents en masse storming
school buses for any slight provocation. what I do see is
one man who had been trying to work within the system doing
what he felt needed to be done to protect his child

because the system wasn’t

I have no issue with this man.
none.

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
10:08 am

how many of you have ever been able to make the school
system adress an issue it didn’t want to?

just address it – I’m not even asking if you got your wishes.

only two things motive public schools to move quickly
race and religion

Maureen Downey

September 25th, 2010
10:09 am

@bootney, I have to jump in and say that I do pass on leads or make calls on many of them. Here is the problem: many of the leads are individual stories of mistreatment or perceived mistreatment. They are not systematic and pervasive, and often are from someone who feels wronged and wants vindication, which I understand but which may not justify a news story. As the head of the EEOC once told me, her agency cannot intervene for people who negotiated badly in their jobs or who have a personality clash with a supervisor. I feel the same way as a reporter.When I look into complaints, I often discover that the system had its reasons for firing a teacher; the teacher doesn’t agree but the system had reasons that satisfy the law.
I do want to note that we are looking into a misuse of funds case brought to me by a teacher from this blog.
And it was also several teachers from this blog who spoke to news reporters about APS and the CRCT.
So, please don’t assume that there is no follow-up. There may not be a story, but there is often inquiry.
Maureen

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
10:11 am

@ Deborah

enroll your son in a good martial arts school.

(note, good one which teaches respect and disipline – not
one which prides itself on it’s trophies)

within six months he’ll have what he needs to stand his ground
within a year, he’ll be able to do more than that if necessary

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
10:15 am

@ Maureen,

point taken. as in all walks of life more goes on behind
the scenes than the average Joe sees up front

still as you point out yourself, often no story comes
of things – for a variety of reasons. trying to get the media
involved is no promise of either action or resolution

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
10:21 am

it merits bring up again.

this was not a contest of equals or some kind of weird athletic
activity. this was multiple predators against a special needs kid.

from my perspective, the dad should have beaten the tar out of
at least on of them. that would have taught the little thugs a
real life lesson about actions and consequences the schools and
their parents have not.

teacher&mom

September 25th, 2010
10:22 am

@ Bootney…I started to add to my earlier post that pulling in the local media is highly effective for those of us who live OUTSIDE the metro area. Rural BOE’s are intimidated by the media. They don’t like controversy and will go to great lengths to avoid having their names attached to anything negative in the local paper or news outlets.

Yes, many of us on this blog have asked time and time again for the AJC reporters to look into many leads. I’ve decided that too many people in the media are more concerned with the “fluff” and skimming the surface. It seems that real investigative reporting has died. No one really wants to dig in and do the hard work.

bootney farnsworth

September 25th, 2010
10:25 am

@ teachermom

point taken.

go south of Macon and the school systems do tend to be afraid of
the local press airing out their laundry

provided of course it stays away from the football team.

teacher&mom

September 25th, 2010
10:33 am

Then there are allegations that some media outlets have substantial financial interests. I follow the Bridging Differences Blog. One of the commenters is trying to cast a light on the fact that the Washington Post has a significant financial interest in Kaplan K-12. It just so happens that the Rhee-Fenty administration has awarded lots of money to Kaplan K-12. Now every player in this financial arrangement may be playing fairly and honestly. Maybe. What I’d LOVE to see is someone in GA to really sink their teeth into this Goliath called standardized testing and the millions of money that goes to “improve” test scores through products sold by the very companies that publish the tests. Georgia has sold its soul to Pearson and other Educational giants. I realize that this is off topic but…what the heck ;)

I also understand that just because we put it out there on the blog, doesn’t mean the the AJC has any obligation to follow through. I just feel that this is a potential story that has the power to blow the top off current federal and state education policies.

J.B. STONER

September 25th, 2010
10:43 am

Ask me what to do with bus full of thugs?

Make them walk to school.Plain and simple.
Riding a bus is a PRIVILAGE , NOT A RIGHT.

teacher&mom

September 25th, 2010
10:45 am

one more thing…the dad who confronted the bullies had a powerful trump card that he should have pulled. His child is disabled and is protected by IDEA. When a parent of a student receiving IDEA funds decides to actually read the pages and pages of parental rights under IDEA, and then insist on those federally mandated rights….well, things have a tendency to go in their favor.

Chances are this dad wasn’t fully aware of his rights or his anger (which is perfectly understandable) took over before he was able to fully weigh his options in dealing with the bullies. Any lawyer worth a grain of salt would have been all over this like a “chicken on a june bug.”

love2teach

September 25th, 2010
11:17 am

My fifth grade daughter was on the receiving end of a bully. She came home daily with new bruises from pinches and kicks. The school knew it was happening and who was doing the bullying. After several attempts at resolution the school’s principal told me there was nothing else to do. (The bully was of another race and about twice the size of my child with a father who was a lawyer.) Within moments, I had withdrawn my child from school …BTW … taking her outstanding standardized test scores with her. The principal then began scrambling for “another” solution. My daughter told me recently that her next two years of school were the best school years she had. As an adult, she takes ______ from no one.

I understand this parent’s frustration, but I would not have gotten on the bus. There are more effective ways to handle bullies. The school does not want to report this type of incident on discipline reports.

Pel

September 25th, 2010
11:33 am

I don’t have a problem with the father boarding the bus to address the bully/ies concerning his child. I do have a problem with him using profanity and he extended an apology for this.I saw the interview the news media did with the parent of one of the bullies. She expressed a concerned about the safety of her child and I can understand this. However, she never, never, never expressed any concerns about the little girl nor did she express an apology or have her son make an apology. I do find some serious fault with this. Did not the interviewer ask the mom if she condone what her son did?

Dr. John Trotter

September 25th, 2010
11:37 am

“teacher&mom”: Kaplan K-12 was one of the bones of contention in the Clayton County School Board saga. The teachers hated it, like they also hated Direct Instruction on the elementary level. The overwhelming majority on the school board voted to set aside the Kaplan program and thus give the teachers a break from what they apparently thought was an ineffective and onerous program.

When SACS’s Mark Elgart wrote his report on Clayton County (a real “sham and farce,” as it has been described), he harped on and on about the school board eliminating Kaplan — and he put most of the blame on this at the feet of Norreese Haynes, although there were nine members on the school board. Elgart also seem totally confused about Kaplan…talking about how it had improved the test scores (or some other measurement) of the elementary students. But, it’s my recollection that the program was not even used in the elementary schools. Direct Instruction was used there.

Just some thoughts on a Saturday morning. Maureen, your story is indeed heart-wreching. The bullies must be addressed with all due alacrity, but the spineless administrators are afraid of the student-bullies too.

Oh, by the way, two of the teachers who were strongly aligned with Haynes actually voted to keep Kaplan. So much for a conspiracy. But, I have often wondered if SACS has some kind of “arrangement” with Kaplan itself. Elgart’s apparent agitation about Clayton’s set aside of Kaplan seemed inordinate to me.

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
11:39 am

Many commenters are primarily concerned with doing what keeps the concerned parent out of legal trouble, and whether this stops the abuse, eventually, someday, maybe, is incidental. A few, such as bootney farnsworth, are primarily concerned with stopping the abuse of the innocent child by the bullies, and nevermind the consequences to the concerned parent.

What I wish more people would see is that there IS a conflict and why it exists.

If the “let the system work” approach suggested by MS Man and Perplexed2 is relied on, the bullying will continue for days, perhaps for weeks, and it may intensify as the bullies (and their bully-raising parents) become aware that an official concern has been raised with school officials. The bullies might become sneakier, might look for a chance at a no-witnesses, out-of-sight ambush of the victim, and as they become sneakier they may also become more violent and nastier. That’s what might be going on while paperwork is lying on a stack in the principal’s desktop in-basket.

You could make a tragic-comedy by superimposing scenes where a child is being tormented over calm, oh-we’re-all-just-so-civilized scenes where school officials and the concerned parent are having nuanced dialog and shuffling papers around.

Too many people have given too much authority to the state, and have not kept enough of it for themselves. It ought to be proper and customary for the first corrective move to come from good, concerned citizens, with the state’s part, should it become necessary, should be to take the side of the faction among disputing citizens which has justice on its side.

Of Course He Was Wrong

September 25th, 2010
11:43 am

Nothing good was going to come from his actions. They have now made the main story his illegal actions instead of the focus being on his child. File a complaint with the school system, have an attorney send a letter putting the system on notice, then make it public with the media. Something would have been done.

Maureen Downey

September 25th, 2010
11:48 am

@teacher & mom. I have to tell you that the work that the AJC did on both E-Rate- this year and several years back — and on CRCT involved lots of detail work. The reason why it is hard to uncover corruption is that it is seldom on the surface but hidden in 100-page contracts and complex work orders. And it is only the recent access to databases that has enabled the AJC to look into test score disparities. The ability to do this did not exist 15 years ago.
Maureen

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
12:09 pm

@Pel. Haven’t we all see it before? When the police have to get rough taking down a youthful offender, the said offender’s parents always convey to the press the same, tired, and very improbably load of baloney. “My son is a good boy, just a perfect angel. He never causes problem to anybody. Why, he even mediates between others who are violent and makes peace. He’s a leader in our church…” Etcetera, and so on. The same things are usually said by the parents of bullies whose pushy, ugly ways are starting to catch up with them. Evil covers itself by telling lies and by attempting to redirect concerns, making themselves seem to be victims.

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
12:10 pm

Oops. Spelling error. Where’s the edit button? I wrote “improbably” where I should have written “improbable.”

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
12:23 pm

V for Vendetta. Try taking your own advice. Go for a walk tonight in one of the bad parts of Atlanta. Carry a flashlight so the predators are sure to see you. When they attack, you can build your character by fighting them all. You can console yourself in the hospital that you are “a stronger, better person” because you “stood up to bullies.”

David Sims

September 25th, 2010
12:32 pm

@catlady. You wrote: “As it was, he [the father] was shown to be impotent; not the right sign for these boys who were abusing his daughter. That makes them stronger. They feed on being ’stronger’ than others–on ‘winning.’”

Okay. Where does the fault lie that the father was inadequate to the job of teaching the bullies a lesson in manners? Obviously, it lies on the laws that forbade the father to beat the tar out of the bullies.

Bullies are criminals, and criminals do NOT have all of the same rights and immunities that law-abiding citizens have. One of the immunities a bully gives up is not having someone bigger and stronger than he is hand him a taste of his own medicine. Or, anyway, that is how it ought to be.

The state, jealous for its power and prerogatives, has blocked the natural immediate way by which bullies can be promptly corrected, and it has substituted a formal, political, convoluted, clunky, unreliable, bureaucratic method of redress, which at best takes a long time to work, and it might not work at all.

ken R

September 25th, 2010
1:15 pm

Debrahinathens,

I don’t see that in the Tea party, obviously your a Liberal because you or your husband don’t have the BALLS to stand up to anyone, not even your own child.

He must have a lot of respect for you.

teacher&mom

September 25th, 2010
1:20 pm

@Maureen…I do understand how difficult it is to uncover corruption and I appreciate the AJC’s efforts in uncovering these scandals. I won’t belabor the point here because I’ve typed out a long response that I’ll email to you. I won’t bore the readers with a long post.

ken R

September 25th, 2010
1:20 pm

Meant for your own child.

UGAJD

September 25th, 2010
1:30 pm

The whole incident could have been avoided had the school district taken appropriate action. It’s my understanding that the father complained to the school, but to no avail. I don’t understand how the school bus driver could just sit idly by while the father’s child was abused by other children. Frankly, if the driver can’t control the environment, he/she needs to be relieved of their duties. If it had been my daughter, I would have done the same thing. In my book, the guy’s a hero.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta

September 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

Maureen, THANKS to you and your colleagues at AJC, the nature and extent of the problems enfeebling Georgia’s public schools are being brought to the fore. But have you emphasized to the mothers and fathers of our public school students that lack of parental participation is one of these problems bedeviling many of our public schools? Do the vast majority of Georgia parents realize that they can help solve these problems by assisting on regular bases on their children’s school buses and in their classrooms? Conscientious bus drivers, teachers and administrators should welcome such parental assistance.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta

September 25th, 2010
2:00 pm

Georgia needs school board attorneys like UGAJD.

Lisa D. Also a Teacher and Mom

September 25th, 2010
2:27 pm

As many of you point out, parents have to be advocates for their children. As a (careful, diligent) teacher, I know that I don’t see all, and that bullies (even young ones) can be very savvy about inflicting their blows. I appreciate parents who speak up about what they hear from their children. As both a parent and a teacher, I am appalled at the number of other adults who believe that all of this is somehow acceptable. Teachers need to be trained in research-based information about bullying…why it is IMPORTANT to address it, and what the effective methods are for doing so. Hint: true bullies are all about power, and sweet, sympathetic explanations about how their behavior has hurt someone else only FEEDS the hunger for power. ALL ADULTS in our communities need to refuse to accept this behavior. Bystanders are enablers. Speak up whenever and wherever you see bullying happening.

MS Man

September 25th, 2010
2:29 pm

I just want to clarify that I am not advocating a wait and see attitude. I am advocating for making the policies and procedures that are in place work for you just like the rule of law. If my child is being bullied and I don’t see action immediately, I don’t wait for it to happen again and again, but I do give the administrators the opportunity to fix it before I go off like a hot head and become the bully myself. I am all for protecting every child in every circumstance, but there is right way to do it and solving bullying with displays of power and intimidation do nothing but aggravate. Bootney is basically arguing that to stop bullying, be the bigger bully. That mind set is what starts the problems with bullying in the first place. Its all about power or the perception of power. But, breaking that cycle would take some honest attempts and educating people and not just intimidating them.

wolfgang blicker

September 25th, 2010
2:31 pm

I’m sick and tired of society turning on the victims and giving them a ration of manure posing as political correctness every time one of them stands up for themselves and gives back what they’re getting. If the school bus driver doesn’t do something about it then I have no problem with a father protecting the rights of his daughter to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, without being bullied by some scum bags in the process. Why is all the press about the father standing up for his daughter? Where are the stories about these bullying no goods and their parents? Where are the other people they’ve bullied? Why don’t we hear from them? Dollars to donuts this isn’t the first time they’ve been awful to others and the light needs to shine in the corner where these baseboard crawlers are lurking with their parents instead of on a man trying to keep them away from his daughter.

EWS

September 25th, 2010
2:36 pm

“While I am sympathetic to the father’s defense of his daughter, I would not be happy if my child were on that bus and witnessed his rage as it was downright frightening.”

I realize your above cited statement is hypothetical in nature, but it implies that I was okay with you that your child was on the bus looking on idly the entire time watching as this girl was bullied. Hopefully, that was not “downright frightening” either. You should not be happy with your child if he or she were to condone this behavior on a bus and not stand up for a classmate.

Shannon

September 25th, 2010
2:53 pm

It strikes me that generally the bullies outnumber the bullied–yet most of the parents commenting here are saying things along the lines of “if it were *my* child being bullied…”

Chances are, if your child is involved in bullying, she/he is the one doing the bullying. And what are all you proactive parents doing about that? Are you teaching your kids not to bully and not to support bullying in any form?

Also, in this situation, the young lady in question has cystic fibrosis. While that isn’t a completely debilitating or crippling disease, she’s not going to be fist-fighting the bullies and winning anytime soon. Further, suggesting that people who face bullies need to simply bully them back–which is essentially what the “enroll your child in martial arts!” crowd suggests–is creating the kind of society in which I don’t want to live.

Adults have police officers precisely because we don’t want to take care of matters when crimes are committed against us. Kids have that recourse and the school system on top of it.

If this is a problem and the counselor doesn’t return calls, send certified mail to the school. Send certified mail to the principal. Then send certified mail to the superintendent. And then call a lawyer. Name names in the lawsuit; name anyone responsible for keeping order on the bus as well as the parents of the kids in question… and document any injury with photos.

What the dad did was wrong. Worse, it didn’t do his daughter any favors.