I Believe that Children are Our Future
You may or may not have heard about this but, as reported around here, this has become national news.
This is disturbing and these kids are acting deplorably but, unfortunately, I'm not shocked.
First of all, you're dealing with middle schoolers who, in my experience, are a scary bunch. They are egocentric, full of new hormones that are new and hard to deal with, immature, and (when in groups) can be extremely vicious to stay respected in their peer groups. While this is extremely disturbing and hard to watch, I get that. I still remember when, as an eighth grader, I told my soccer coach to "shut up." I thought I was an angsty teen, reminiscent of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club but, in reality, I was a douche bag. But my friends thought I was cool and, for the next week, I was a god in the lunch room.
And I got my ass kicked when I got home.
That's the difference today.
When I was younger I did really stupid stuff (now I mostly do just plain stupid stuff) and when the teachers (or whatever authoritative figure called home) my parents asked me "What the hell did you do?"
Now, if I call home because a student is not doing what they are supposed to, their parents ask me "What the hell did you do?"
So we have taken all responsibility for actions away from the kids. When today's kids act like idiots, parents are quick to divert blame and show why it's somebody else’s fault their child acted that way.
Yesterday, a parent of one of these "angels" apologized to this woman with the news camera rolling. He basically said in an interview after (I'm paraphrasing) 'I'm really, truly sorry this happened...Now my family's being harassed and going through hell...hopefully people will see this and leave us alone.' Would he have apologized if this didn't become so public? I'm not sure but I would guess not. I'm basing my opinion on the fact that I've been called 'asshole,' 'bald-ass,' 'that fucking guy', and 'stupid' at my job on a regular basis (there's probably more but this is off the top of my head) and I've only received one apology from a parent (and, to be fair, that child came back with a whole different attitude and was pleasant for the rest of the year). And, off the top of my head, I can think of two times I've been threatened this past year.
I'm not saying this because I want people to say "I couldn't do your job" or "You deserve so much for being a teacher" because I really don't need that or care to hear that. The fact is I love my job. Everyone has parts to their job that they don't like and this is one of mine.
I don't take insults or threats personally. They're just kids trying to get a rise out of me (testing boundaries). The sad thing is that they can get away with talking to an adult like this because if the adult complains and the parents get involved--nine out of ten times it turns out bad for the adult. And, sometimes, I look to see why the student called me that name and, if it's justified (the child could have used better phrases but sometimes I can be an asshole) I adjust my teaching practices.
Back to this bus monitor--these attacks were excessive, egregious, and unwarranted. And, by the looks of it, seem like they have been happening for a while. No one should have to go through that. Yes--I did say I've had these character attacks made towards me (along with physical threats) but I'm guessing I handle them differently. And I can usually diffuse the situation before it gets so volatile. And I'm not condoning the kids actions in any way. I'm just saying that dealing with students could be the best job in the world or (like with this lady) the worst.
People around here want the police to step in and charge these kids. But, in reality, the police can't because you can't charge a child (under 16) with a violation. But i don't think that's what's needed. I don't think that all of these kids are "bad kids." Clearly, a couple of these kids are used to talking to/treating adults like this but I'm guessing, when it gets to this type of abuse, it's more mob mentality. But my point is that there were signs of this behavior way before this video was posted to youtube. And a lot of these adults that are calling for harsh penalties are the same ones that constantly make excuses for their own kids.
Maybe it's time to hold kids responsible for their own actions. It's not the school's or law enforcement's job to teach kids right from wrong--it's the child's parent's.
Whew--if you made it this far--thanks for listening to me babble. Hopefully this was easy to follow--at times I feel like I have rambled on incoherently--I didn't mean to write this much. But I did. But now I'm off to start my summer.