By now most everyone has seen the video of the 68 year old bus monitor being bullied by three thirteen year old boys. The video is gut wrenching and shows in all its glory just how cruel kids can be. The woman showed extraordinary restraint as the boys repeatedly made comments about her weight, her age, and her intellect. They even prodded her arm to make fun of her under arm fat, violating her not only verbally but physically. Afterwards one of the boys’ parents said he was appalled at his son’s behavior but was worried for his safety because he was receiving nasty emails and death threats.
I’m sorry but I am not feeling any sympathy for these boys right now. Chances are this is not the first time they participated in this type of behavior and one can only imagine whether this will be their last. Kids will be kids, right. But when did it happen that grown ups could no longer be grown ups?
I understand the outpouring of sympathy for the bus monitor is more than likely based not only on the nature of the bullying but also on how she handled herself throughout the bullying. She took the high road, exhibited appropriate adult behavior, and did not sink to their level. But I question why it is not appropriate to sink to their level, fight fire with fire, speak the only language they seem to understand. If it hadn’t been for the stupidity of one of them, uploading the video on Facebook (to what end, boasting pray tell?) this behavior would have probably continued. If she reported it, it would have been her word against theirs, three against one. And even if someone spoke to these boys about bullying, I question whether words or education programs would do the trick. These are vile, aggressive, abusive behaviors and a slap on the wrist with words, in my estimation is meaningless.
I can only hope that the media will follow this story through to the point where we know what ramifications this will have for these three young men. I don’t think receiving death threats absolves them from what they did. I can only hope that their parents will step up to the plate and truly take the upper hand. I think they should be punished and in a manner that they will never forget how heinous their behavior actually was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not speaking of corporal punishment. To me that’s fighting abuse with abuse. But I would go for something that is near and dear to them, something that they like to do or something that defines them within their circle of friends. I’m thinking no cell phone, no internet, no computer, no video games, no television, radio or magazines, providing free lawn moving and snow shoveling to the victim for one year, and other than mowing her lawn house arrest for the entire summer. They can read books but only pre-approved ones like the classics or self help books, and the occasional post card they get from the bus monitor from wherever she chooses to go on vacation with the thousands of dollars she will receive for putting up with their nonsense.