Taunting of school bus monitor earns boys one year suspension

The four middle school students  whose crude taunting of an elderly school bus monitor went viral have been handed year-long suspensions from their Rochester New York, school.

(We discussed this nine days ago. You can view the vile video here.)

The monitor, Karen Klein, has received support from around the world, along with $650,000 in donations. (A day after I posted the video, I received a note from a Hilton Head resort offering her a week’s stay; I forwarded the invitation to the school spokeswoman who promised to get it to Mrs. Klein.)

According to the New York Times:

The four boys who taunted a 68-year-old school bus monitor from Rochester, N.Y., prompting outcry over bullying when a video of their insults went viral, have been suspended from their middle school for one year, school officials said on Friday.

The video of the boys’ heaping insults onto the bus monitor, Karen Klein, also generated more than $650,000 in online donations for her to take “a vacation.” The conduct was filmed by one of the boys on a cellphone and uploaded to Facebook. The video found itself onto YouTube, where it surpassed 7.9 million views.

It inspired a Toronto man, Max Sidorov, 26, to set up an online “vacation” fund for Ms. Klein on the online fund-raising platform Indiegogo.com, with a goal of raising $5,000. In four days, the fund grew to $500,000.

Greece Central School District officials said the four boys, ages 12 and 13, will be suspended from Athena Middle School for one year, prohibited from using regular school transportation and required to volunteer 50 hours of community service with senior citizens, as well as complete a program in “bullying prevention, respect and responsibility.”

Since the school district is legally required to provide the boys with a formal education, they will be able to attend an alternative education program in what is called the district’s “re-engagement center,” in a nonschool facility.

In making the announcement, Barbara Deane-Williams, the district superintendent, said it was unusual to publicly announce school disciplinary measures brought against students. But, in this case, she said the boys and families admitted to the wrongdoing, agreed to the suspensions without a hearing and also agreed for the findings to be made public. Ms. Deane-Williams also said that the district staff members, including some on the transportation staff, would be participating this summer in a previously scheduled bullying prevention training program.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

103 comments Add your comment

mark

June 29th, 2012
10:51 pm

I’ve seen kids do worse in front of everyone and not get into trouble. Just because something goes public does not warrant such harsh measures.

Really?

June 29th, 2012
10:57 pm

Baloney. They deserve another year for stupidly filming and posting their ignorance. Plus somebody still needs to beat the crap out of them.

marilyn

June 29th, 2012
10:59 pm

To Mark: Wrong!

Kevin

June 29th, 2012
11:15 pm

Hey Mark,
If that had been your wife or mother that was taunted on the bus would you feel the same way? Part of the problem is that kids don’t get punished enough or at all in most cases which explains why kids think they can get away with this kind of behavior. I’m actually glad the punishment was made public so that other kids can see that there are consequences. My only hope is that, dispite the fact that they deserve it, the boys don’t get bullied themselves after all this. That won’t help anyone.

Sarah

June 29th, 2012
11:43 pm

Mark, you are one of the problems. These kids are out of control and they deserve this. 10 year olds are using guns and this is a big problem. If you think this is OK then where are your limits? I praise the school district for standing up and taking action. No teacher, principle, administrator, driver, monitor or anyone working with these kids should take such an attack. To condone this, well you are no better then they are. I would be ashamed.

Finally!

June 30th, 2012
12:07 am

…School administrators with backbone.

Lee

June 30th, 2012
1:09 am

{{{yawn}}}

The ONLY reason the school did anything was that the little thugs had the Darwinesque idea to post their misdeeds on Youtube. The very fact that this district had to have “bus monitors” in the first place speaks volumes.

CJ

June 30th, 2012
1:13 am

Mark–that’s not ‘harsh’, as you call it. It’s just a modern day behind-whooping for terrible behavior for little monsters who think they are superior to older people. They have been taught no respect for their elders. I think the punishment definitely fits the crime. They need to learn respect and be pulled away from their peers until the problem is corrected. It is now their parents’ responsibility to follow through.

Tired of Teaching

June 30th, 2012
2:07 am

Finally! It’s about time we see a school district offer up consequences. They deserve every day of that year long suspension. Hope they got some physical punishment at home too. Had they gotten enough of that all along they probably wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.

This is a prime example of typical behavior from middle school students. They would have gotten away with it had they not been stupid enough to video themselves. Kids have no respect these days. I’m sure these were all “good” kids from “nice” families, but parents, let this be your warning. When you don’t properly parent and teach your kids right from wrong and try to be a friend rather than parent, your “good” kid will embarrass you. It might not be this severe, but teachers and bus drivers see it every day…your kids are a reflection of you. A whole lot of parents these days are lousy.

kyle

June 30th, 2012
3:30 am

required to volunteer 50 hours of community service
anyone else see something wrong with this?
you cant be required to volunteer anything
that would be forced to help old people

Good Mother

June 30th, 2012
7:17 am

Kyle, no I don’t think involuntary volunteering is wrong. Maybe the kids will see something in these old people — see them as humans when they spend more time with them.

What is troubling about this incident is that the bus monitor was unable/unwilling to do anything except ignore the situation. My expectation is that when taunting/bullying occurred she would be abel to stop it. If she cannot stop them from taunting her, how could she stop them from taunting other students? So TRAINING is absolutely important here. The monitors have got to be able to recognize the beginning stages and nip it in the bud along with filming it. SHE should film herself handling the situation.
I’ve been on the school grounds and have seen older children literllay shaking the tiny children out of the swings — while teh teachers watched. I get involved. I go to the child and tell them to stop and tell the little kids to yell, tell their parents and their teachers immediately.
we’ve got to take charge and take control and prevent the bullying.

Josh Valentine

June 30th, 2012
7:35 am

A year of without a bus ride to school will do the kids good. Another punishment that will suit the kids good, make all of them spend time at a senior center will be good. Maybe, they’ll learn to respect their elders.

southernopinion

June 30th, 2012
7:41 am

I see this every school day. I’m called “crippled hoe” (arthritis), bitch, racist (I’m white; students all black) and not a lot is done either. Parents have no idea of their “angels” behaviors.

Solutions

June 30th, 2012
7:46 am

Fear has kept generations of kids in line at school, lack of fear has produced the current generation of thugs and thug want a be’s. That said, you have to wonder what kind of system puts a 70 something who is hard of hearing and over weight on a bus of middle school kids who are usually pushing the limits of proper behavior anyway? The elderly lady inspired no fear in the brats, hence their complete lack of respect for her and the system she represented.

Martina

June 30th, 2012
8:02 am

If “someone who inspired fear” had been on the bus, and proceeded to verbally discipline those boys (or given them a taste of their own medicine by responding with like language and taunts), then the school system would be the one paying $650,000 to their parents. Why does somebody have to be a retired Navy drill sergeant to get respect? Shouldn’t children learn that people should be respectful of each other, just because they’re part of the human race?

South Georgia

June 30th, 2012
8:13 am

I would guest that this Rochester Middle School just lowered their bus discipline for the upcoming FY 2013 school year! Maybe after seeing the video adults not in the school business will get an idea of what goes on.

teacher&mom

June 30th, 2012
9:07 am

Call me old fashioned…..but I believe discipline serves two purposes.

1: Punish the offenders.

2: Serve as a warning to possible future offenders.

We’ve become a society that has a difficult time reigning in the actions of our children.

We are raising a generation of brats.

Maybe the viral video forced the district to discipline the students. Who cares? At least they did something. For 180 days, those boys (and their parents) will have a daily reminder of the consequences of their behavior.

Hopefully, it will be a life-long lesson that will forever change them for the better.

My 2 cents

June 30th, 2012
9:09 am

In reality, the reason for the “stiff punishment” and parents willing for the punishment to be released publicly is because of the public outrage and reports of death threats. I, for one, find the punishment lacking. Parents are responsible for their 12-13 year-old offspring. The fact that these children didn’t stop their attack when the monitor started crying leads me to believe there has been a severe lack of home training. The parents should be sentenced to the community service side by side with their
little darlings. If this was the best child rearing these parents were capable of, they need to keep them at home and not subject the rest of us to such abuse.

Lee

June 30th, 2012
9:25 am

@Kyle, yes, I see something wrong with a school administrator “requiring” a student to work community service hours. That is beyond the school’s limits of authority, IMHO.

Also, for those who think the school should “sentence” the parents, that, too, is beyond the scope of authority for a school administrator. The school has no authority over the parent – nor should we want them to. A school administrator is not a judge in a court of law.

catlady

June 30th, 2012
9:27 am

This will continue to go on, just without the videos being posted, I am afraid. And I wonder, if this thing had not gone viral, if the students would have been punished at all.

Nikole

June 30th, 2012
9:28 am

Mark is right about one thing: I have seen MUCH worse occur and students get off with little to no punishment. I guess I need to start recording and uploading to youtube what goes on in schools today. (I’m just kidding, I would lose my job if I did such a thing!)

Mandingo

June 30th, 2012
9:51 am

I am from the old school like my parents were. At the start of the school year I check in with the bus driver and let him/her know to contact me as soon possible if any of my children are disrespectful or behaving like knuckleheads. I can assure you it will be corrected immediately. ( talk to them, take away privliges, leather belt ) My kids understand the consequences ( talk to them , take away privliges , leather belt ) of an adult notifying me or my wife that my children are behaving like they have no home training.

Solutions

June 30th, 2012
9:51 am

Off topic, but here is a web site for gifted students: http://www.davidsongifted.org/
Georgia supposedly has a good program for gifted students compared to other states! If that is the case, we are in more trouble than I had believed.

TimeOut

June 30th, 2012
9:52 am

Lee, do we want the courts to do all of our work for us? School systems have elected school boards; hence, we’ve given them their authority. Many of these systems include community service in their graduation requirements. While it is true that the publicity most likely generated the appropriate severity of the consequences, we cannot expect the courts to resolve all of our youth or adult conduct problems. If we don’t have faith in those who make such decisions in our school systems, then perhaps the real issue is the need to change how select those to fill such positions, how we define their roles, and our perception of such roles’ importance. Antisocial behaviors have been around since the dawn of humanity. Some societys have dealt well with it and others have glorified sociopaths and their abuse of others. It is up to us.

catlady

June 30th, 2012
10:00 am

I think YDC might have been a good first step, legally. Let the law mete out punishment, as well as the school.

Solutions

June 30th, 2012
10:11 am

catlady, I don’t think the kids committed a crime under the law. Their comments were not slanderous if they were true, truth is the first and best defense against slander, and slander is not a crime, rather slander is a civil tort. You could argue it was verbal assault, but if the elderly lady could not hear the words, is it indeed assault?

teachergirl

June 30th, 2012
10:17 am

With all the new anti-bullying laws popping up around the nation, this punishment is not surprising. I believe in Georgia it’s a “three strikes and your out” situation. I have seen students in my classes get taken out by this rule. They not only bullied students, but they bullied teachers, custodians, parapros, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc. I know our SRO (school resource officer) was very involved with these cases and a few of them went to YDC for at least the day because they pulled that crap on him, a cop. I just hope that because these kids mentioned above have been punished and have other requirements to meet that they become better adults.

GwinnettParentz

June 30th, 2012
10:32 am

The suspended students will no doubt benefit from a year in private schooling. And the $650K Mrs. Klein will receive (after the government grabs half in taxes) from her fellow Americans demonstrates yet again our American exceptionalism those on the left prefer to ignore.

V

June 30th, 2012
10:33 am

The kids behaved like monsters. But as a parent, it frightens me that an employee paid to supervise kids on the bus allowed and failed to report this behavior. Did she allow vicious attacks on other children to occur also? These boys didn’t just decide to pick on her all of the sudden. If my child has been on that bus with her as bus monitor, I would be afraid for my child.

Ashley

June 30th, 2012
10:55 am

The kids won’t be attending school with their posse or friends, that in itself is punishment ….we all know middle schools kids want to be accepted by their peers. This bandishment we surely knock them down a peg or two. Maybe they will begin to know what it feels like to be humiliated and bullied by someone else because I’m sure some teasing and ridicule will be coming their way.

Lee

June 30th, 2012
11:03 am

@Timeout, our very wise Founding Fathers rebelled against tyranny and established a system of checks and balances to protect the rights of the individual. In the 236 years hence, our politicians have been trying to restablish that tyranny – and they have succeeded in many ways.

So no, I do not want the school administrator to have any authority over me just as I don’t want the garbage man to have any authority over me. We have granted authority to the courts of law, which has systems of checks and balances and appeals.

To your final point, no, I do not trust most school administrators as far as I can throw them. Google “Tweety Bird Keychain” or “student suspended for DRAWING a picture of a gun” for a couple of reasons why.

ScienceTeacher671

June 30th, 2012
11:11 am

I have to agree with Good Mother on this one:

What is troubling about this incident is that the bus monitor was unable/unwilling to do anything except ignore the situation. My expectation is that when taunting/bullying occurred she would be abel to stop it. If she cannot stop them from taunting her, how could she stop them from taunting other students?

What’s the point of a bus monitor if she can’t stop the bad behavior?

Chris Murphy

June 30th, 2012
11:20 am

“But, in this case, she said the boys and families admitted to the wrongdoing, agreed to the suspensions without a hearing and also agreed for the findings to be made public.”

Let’s hear it for Upstate New York!

Pompano

June 30th, 2012
11:22 am

I’m w/Science & Good Mother on this one. So what’s the purpose of a “Bus Monitor” if they are incapable of controlling the kids? Sounds like a wasted position (and taxpayer money).

ISeeItEveryDay

June 30th, 2012
12:05 pm

If you are not in the classroom, you do not see the behavior teachers see every day. You have no idea what teachers go through with your “perfect” children!! Most kids are completely different at school than they are at home and give the illusion that they are perfect angels to their parents. If a teacher calls a parent, the parent almost immediately turns it around on the teacher and tells them they are not doing anything for their child or they give too much homework or they don’t allow the student to be themselves. Don’t get me wrong there are good students, but unfortunately teachers cannot pay attention to them because they are busy trying to train the ones who don’t give a rip; a lack of home training on the parent’s part. On the flip side, school administrators are afraid to punish students because of lawsuits the parents threaten to file. I agree with another comment about posting videos (which will never be allowed) of the classroom. We all know that will never happen because parents will then see exactly how their child acts and the parent will look bad. Had it not been for this video that was posted on YouTube, no discipline would have ever happened because it would have been the student’s word against everyone else. My two cents.

Really amazed

June 30th, 2012
12:07 pm

Let’s see if the actually will be susp for the entire year!! Remember…NCLB for no matter what! Not sure the DOE can actually allow them to stay out. Very, very sad.

Another Math Teacher

June 30th, 2012
12:10 pm

ScienceTeacher671: “What’s the point of a bus monitor if she can’t stop the bad behavior?”

If you’re a teacher you already know why she couldn’t stop them. After a few tries to report student behaviour and being ignored, people stop trying. It’s the same for teachers with bad behaviour in the class room. It’s better to not write a referral than to write one and have administration back the student.

Really amazed

June 30th, 2012
12:13 pm

Sorry…they actually will be susp for the entire year. Maybe the kids did it to actually NOT have to go to school. This could be their reward for what they were trying to do. Why else would they record it??? Stupid is as stupid does!!!

ScienceTeacher671

June 30th, 2012
12:14 pm

Another Math Teacher, which just goes back to the other thread about school climate being the most important thing as far as retaining good teachers! Who wants to be in a system where the inmates are in charge of the asylum, which is the case in many schools today?

catlady

June 30th, 2012
12:14 pm

Soutions: I was thinking affray or the use of “fighting words.”

catlady

June 30th, 2012
12:16 pm

The bus monitor was unable to control the behavior (and we all understand that) but she could probably not lose her job due to being disabled.

William Casey

June 30th, 2012
12:28 pm

In my days as an administrator at Chattahoochee H.S, I sometimes had to ride busses which had especially unruly kids. When I did, we had “silent ride,” no talking for the duration. Sure, it helped that I was a 6′-4″, 240 lb. former football coach. The real trick, though, was that I had the AUTHORITY to deal out immediate In-School Suspensions, Out-of-School Suspensions and bus bans. The kids hated “silent ride.” Word quickly got around and I didn’t have to do it often. It was such a simple and inexpensive solution. The bus drivers loved me.

I hope that the parents add some effective punishments such as taking away cell phone, computer and TV for awhile. Have the kids read “Crime and Punishment.”

William Casey

June 30th, 2012
12:29 pm

I think that it’s “buses.”

gateacher

June 30th, 2012
12:32 pm

Excellent! Done, and done!

gateacher

June 30th, 2012
12:36 pm

I’m also curious to know what consequences the PARENTS of these boys are giving them! The school should not be disciplining their children for them!

Fred ™

June 30th, 2012
12:38 pm

Good Mother

June 30th, 2012
7:17 am

Kyle, no I don’t think involuntary volunteering is wrong.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Involuntary volunteering? Really? You don’t see how insipid that is? How can you “involuntarily” volunteer?

Just damn…….

Hillbilly D

June 30th, 2012
1:01 pm

I still say they need their little butts busted but in fairness, a one year suspension is more than I expected them to get.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

June 30th, 2012
1:06 pm

We teachers, the currently practicing as well as the recently retired, need to educate the remainder of THE PEOPLE about the nature, frequency, intensity and duration of the student misbehaviors which have typified many school buses, hallways, classrooms, cafeteria, auditoria, gymnasia et al…

before the talented, conscientious Jordan Kohanims of this world throw in their towels and our PubEd system devolves more and more rapidly toward third-world status.

catlady

June 30th, 2012
1:22 pm

Mr. Casey: According to my dictionary it can be either way, but to me busses=kisses and buses=more than one bus.

RCB

June 30th, 2012
1:58 pm

The boys were disciplined properly, but let’s not pretend that this bus monitor is capable of doing her job. From her physical and emotional appearance, I don’t think she has the ability to monitor a bus. I’m glad nothing happened that would have required her immediate response.