I don't know if you've heard about the 17 year old high school boy beaten by a bunch of boys on his Belleville, IL. school bus. But, here in St. Louis, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Belleville, it has dominated our news lately. (That is when we're not hearing about Michael Jackson's death...3 months ago!)
It happened about a week ago on a high school bus in Belleville, IL. A 17 year old white boy boarded the bus, looking for a seat. Nobody would let him sit down next to them. So, he finally gave up and sat next to a black boy who obviously objected becuase he and another black boy proceeded to grab him by the neck and punch him repeatedly in the head. On the video, at least one other student was heard yelling, "Kick his ass!" The rest of the students were heard whooping and hollering and encouraging the attackers. The bus driver was heard saying, "Cool it back there!" and other such lingo. But he did not pull over to give the boy aid.
One student finally stepped in and pulled the victim away, and in an interview after the incident said he did so because the boy is very quiet and was not trying to defend himself. He went on to say that the victim often has trouble getting a seat on the bus, but they usually let him sit down eventually without physical incident. They usually just tease the boy unmercifully.The bus driver drove on to school with a school nurse waiting for the boy. News reports said he was bruised but overall okay.
The following day, the two main attackers had been suspended for 10 days, a few others suspended for egging it all on, and the bus had a different driver, complete with a security guard.
Now here is my worry. My boy is only 11 but he is ADHD and has often been ostrasized by his peers. I'm sure there are lots of other kids who are in the same boat...or should I say bus?
Even though my 11 yo knows some karate, I would not think he would have the presence of mind to use it under this much duress should something awful like this happen to him.
I would personally have expected that bus driver to pull over and put a stop to this horrible situation. As a student, I remember our bus drivers pulling over just because we would not sit down...or because our voices were too loud...or someone was being teased.
There was even a copycat situation a few days later at a sister school to my son's school.
What are parents teaching their kids? What kind of behavior are parents allowing without actually condoning it? What kind of person with children in their care lets something like this happen without intervening? What is this world coming to?