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.