By the Menzoid
Unless you were exploring the outer reaches of Uranus lately or have your head up your you-know-what recently, everyone knows the story of Karen Klein, the elderly bus monitor who was savagely teased and humiliated a few days ago by a small mob of Grade 7 and 8 loogans.
Hey, bad stuff happens all the time. What’s really telling is the reaction by various interests to the bad stuff. To wit:
Lesson 1: The school continues to play defence.
The school has posted a response on its website to the now-viral YouTube video. But there’s something noticeably missing: namely, outrage – the sort of outrage millions of decent people the world over are feeling. Check out some of the comments from the school’s pansified principal, David Richardson:
“Certainly the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our district’s Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated. However, it is not appropriate for the district to discuss the specific disciplinary consequences that will result for any individual student.”
Indeed. God forbid we should violate the privacy rights of these little monsters.
“I need to stress that we have a specific process that we must follow before imposing discipline on students. In the event that a district is seeking a suspension of more than five days, the district must prove the student’s violation of its Code of Conduct in a due process hearing before a hearing officer.”
Wait a second… why is there a “burden of proof” issue in regard to this matter? Whatever happened to the camera never lies? And didn’t the principal just state in his opening salvo that “the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our district’s Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated.” What gives?
“We have received thousands of phone calls and emails from people across the country wanting to convey their thoughts. People are outraged by what has happened and they feel the students should be punished [but] we cannot condone the kind of vigilante justice some people are calling for. This is just another form of bullying and cannot be tolerated.”
Once again, a school defaults to classic Hug-a-thug mode, proving yet again that like most schools and school boards today, anti-bullying policies are all about accommodating, not punishing, the bullies.
Lesson 2: The response of the parents.
Amazingly, this is still a giant X-factor. We don’t know if they’ve disciplined their kids or if they are molly-coddling them. Certainly, there has yet to be an apology uttered. I guess Elton John was right: sorry seems to be the hardest word.
But then again, The Menzoid will bet the ranch that the parents have legal representation by now and the lawyers have told them to not say anything as a mea culpa could be interpreted as an admission of liability.
Sadly, such parental entitlement exists: more than a decade ago, The Menzoid spotted a letter to the editor of the Toronto Sun. It was penned by a school principal. Finally, The Menzoid has a reason to reproduce the contents of this missive. Fasten your seatbelts, folks, for it is a shocking indictment of how some parents approach child-raising.
In the Letter of the Day (dated April 4), Daniel Morse makes some excellent suggestions about keeping our schools safe and clean. One suggestion was to “divide the students into small groups and get them to clean a small area of the school.”
He must be kidding.
Most people, including Morse, do not have a clue about what goes on in today’s schools.
As a principal of a large school, I asked a student to pick up a pop can and a chip bag from the hallway – garbage that he had just thrown there.
This triggered three lengthy meetings with his parents and their lawyer. They wanted to sue me for forcing their son to do menial work at school instead of “educating” him.
According to their lawyer, my action in asking him to pick up garbage constituted unusual, cruel, and demeaning punishment.
Morse’s idea makes perfect sense but it would be impossible to implement. If the general public would educate themselves about what is going on in our schools these days I think our teachers might receive a little more support.
Lesson 3: The Menzoid is overjoyed that the generosity of others has led to a half million dollar pay day for Karen Klein BUT…
Of all the analysis The Menzoid has come across regarding the Karen Klein incident, the bull’s eye was hit by The Menzoid’s friend, Andrew Lawton. Andrew runs a website called the Landmark Report. Here’s his take:
Whether or not Klein will receive the apology she seeks is still unknown, but she will be receiving a large sum of money for her ordeal. Neither Klein nor anyone in her family requested this money, and it is her choice as to what she does with it. But she doesn’t deserve it.
The more-than-16,000 strangers that have donated to Klein in merely a day are hopping on a bandwagon that made the bus monitor the overnight poster-girl for bullying. However, Klein’s reality is just as real to countless young children and teenagers who endure this ridicule on a daily basis. Those youngsters aren’t blessed with six-figure donations for their troubles.
Every epithet and threat Karen Klein had to endure on her fateful Monday afternoon bus ride was one of the many that I heard on a daily basis. I’m not alone.
Nearly all of the bad words in my vocabulary today are there because they passed through my ears as I cried my way through elementary school and high school for years. I’m not jealous of Klein’s receipt of such a substantial gift – although, if such a campaign were started for me I doubt I’d complain. My issue is with the thousands of people who found it so easy to put their credit card number into a website to help a woman unknown to them a week prior rather than taking action on the broader bullying epidemic.
Parents of bullies are often ignorant to their children’s schoolyard behavior. Parents of the bullied are usually kept in the dark by their children. Parents of the bystanders are just happy their children aren’t in one of the other groups. Everyone has a responsibility to take an interest in bullying. Writing a check is not taking an interest.
What happens when Karen Klein cashes her check and the world moves on? Until another video gets posted, likely nothing.
We shouldn’t need to wait for evidence of one person’s troubles to be blasted across televisions and radios around the world to be aware of an issue that will outlive the hype of Karen Klein.