Monday, November 1, 2010


I'm sure most of you have already seen the article and video about the "crazy bus dad," but I wanted to share my feelings on the situation. If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, click here for the article and video and then return to my post.

This kind of situation is one we can all relate to, especially those of us with special needs children. We've all gone through bad situations where bullies at school (or out in the world) target our kiddos because they're different, and because they are easy targets. I doubt many of us have stormed a school bus and blasted kids and bus driver the way this gentleman did... But I know that at least I have certainly wanted to.

There is nothing so heart wrenching, frustrating, and infuriating as knowing your child is being bullied because he is different, and knowing that school staff are aware of the issue and yet nothing is done to stop it. We have been lucky thus far, that due to Jaymes' age the bullying comes in the form of "haha, you wear diapers," or "what's wrong with you? Why don't you talk to me? Why is your blanket pink?" Younger kid bullying isn't as overtly cruel as with middle and high school bullying... But it still makes me see red. Jaymes is lucky, in a way, that he doesn't really comprehend (and even if he did, he wouldn't pay attention long enough to get the message!) the things people around him say. He just wanders off, happy as always. It breaks my heart though, and I really worry about school and bus time- times with limited adult attention because the kids greatly outnumber the adults and it's simply impossible for staff to catch every little comment. At least the child in question in the article (a middle school girl with CP) was able to tell her dad about the bullying. Jaymes can't tell me if something is happening to him, if he's being bullied or teased, or even (God forbid) an adult touched him inappropriately or something.

So in my own way, I really sympathize. I'm not sure that people without a special needs kiddo can fully appreciate why the dad's reaction was the way it was. I understand it, and the things he's said are things I've said silently in my head a couple of times. I don't approve of his actions, but I get it and I can't blame him.

I hope he scared the piss out of those evil little bullies, I really do. I don't expect that it taught them a damn thing, and I'm sure they will continue to prey on those kids who are easiest to target. It would be great if this whole situation will alert the parents to the fact that they need to re-think their parenting and teach the little bastards some decency. Again, I wouldn't count on it, but maybe.

I think those bullies deserved exactly what they got (and more, IMO), and wonder how it felt to them to be bullied and made to feel helpless, and if they'll learn a thing. The thing that I hate about this is that in the end, the bullies come out looking like victims. Unfortunately, dad screwed himself by storming onto the bus and screaming obscenities in front of minors, not only the bullies but innocent kids who were just riding the bus on home.

Again, I understand why he did what he did. I feel terrible for him and for his daughter. It's really terrible. But regardless of why, it is never ever ok for an adult to get on a school bus full of children, curse at them, and threaten them with physical violence. It is just not ok. There are alternatives. He could have raised an almighty fuss at the school. He could have spent a few days going up and chain of command, until he got to someone who would seriously fix the problem. He could have pulled the child out of the school and either waited for things to settle and resolve or find another school. He could even have contacted the media to make the community aware that at such-and-such school, staff and bus drivers are allowing bullying of a disabled child. There are legal, effective ways to fight back. All he accomplished in doing what he did (as much as the bullies deserved to get their asses handed to them) is making the bullies look like the bullied, and scaring the daylights out of a bunch of innocent kiddos sitting on their school bus. As soon as we as parents of disabled kids begin responding to things like this with anger, threats, and fury, we lose the battle.

I do hope the transportation department for the school district immediately began looking through their tapes, to see whether the bullying (and you know it was) was actually happening. The bus driver should have done something, but anyone who has been reading my blog long knows, I'm no stranger to bus driver stupidity. Remember the time the driver almost left Jaymes alone in the bus, door open, on a major road at a high school? Or the time they forgot to bring him home? Or the time the driver failed to notice (sitting directly behind her, so that she could see him in the rearview in case he caused a problem) a serious, gushing nosebleed that left puddles on him and on the bus seats, and probably the kids next to him?

I hope this father does not get jail time. His daughter needs him, and he isn't a criminal. He acted wrongly, out of rage and frustration, but all he was trying to do was protect his little girl.

I do not look forward to when Jaymes is in middle school. Not at all. I don't want to even think about the tormenting that bullies will do. I was "normal" in high school, but I was tormented mercilessly. The end of middle school and all of high school were awful for me. I remember coming home so distraught I just wanted to die. I don't ever want Jaymes (or Sierra) to feel that way.

Schools need to get with the program and stop allowing this kind of thing to happen.

(Insert tangent here, where's my soap box?"

So many of these schools (ask me how I know...) love to slap a label on our kids and stick them in a self contained classroom away from the regular education population. In separating the "normal" from the "special" children, the schools are sending a message to their students. What they need to be doing is exposing their students to kids of all abilities, and teach tolerance.

The world can be a very ugly place sometimes. My thoughts are with "crazy bus dad" and his family. I'm on their side.


Laura said...

A co-worker had a middle-school daughter who was being cyber-bullied. She confronted the ringleaders (girls) in person at their school and told them that if the bullying didn't stop immediately, she would spend every minute of every day getting them thrown out of the school. My co-worker didn't yell or use violence-- she was just deadly serious. It worked; the bullying stopped.

Amber DBTD said...

Good for her.

The only dangerous thing there is what could potentially happen as a result of an adult coming to the school and threatening other people's kids. These days people turn everything into a major deal.

As tempting as it is to deal with the issue yourself, it's smarter (and safer, legally) to force school officials to deal with it instead.