I'm a young bus driver by comparison of many others. I'm now 25, but I started when I was 23. The one thing that bothered me was the amount of teachers and principals who asked me to unpunish the children who were being a bully or acting up on the bus. I would sit them up next to me or separate people, and the next day I would have the principal telling me that the bully's parent was unhappy that I forced them to sit up front next to me and to undo my punishment. How is a bus driver supposed to protect students when we are denied our right to regulate how students act on a bus?
Even more, the one thing I saw that confused me was that kids who were standing up to their bullies were being punished. I used to get so angry seeing this because it takes a lot of strength to stand up to a bully. I'm not saying violence is the way, but sometimes... you just need to give one good punch to let that bully know to cut the crap out. I remember my mom telling me about these girls who picked on her and at the time one of them had crutches. They were calling my mom names and kicked her, and finally my mom just had enough. She kicked the crutches out from under the girl and told her to never bother her again. Now a days, if a kid did that, they would get into so much trouble. Teachers and principals should not be punishing a child for standing up for themselves. This "zero tolerance" is also harming the very kids it's trying to protect.
I know the feeling of being bullied. As I was watching the documentary Bully, I remembered a memory from 2nd grade. It was the fear of being picked on and how easy it felt to go along with the crowd to pick on someone else; even if it was a friend. I remember Indian Sunburning a girl's arm so badly in 2nd grade on the bus, and her mom called my mom (we were friends). My mom was so angry with me and sat me down to explain why it was wrong and to not treat people how I wouldn't like to be treated.
In 4th grade, it was like hell. I had a group of girls who I thought were my friend but threatened if I didn't buy them things/do stuff for them, then they wouldn't be my friend anymore. For months I'd give them my favorite toys, gum, and do stupid things for them. It got to the point that my mom noticed my desperation to get a poster for them, that something was wrong. I finally told her, and she told me that they weren't my friends. That I shouldn't have to buy people things to be their friend. She had me stand up to them the next day which was the most scary thing ever. They called me names and yelled that I had lice. I ignored them and told them they weren't my friends. After awhile, they stopped and realized I didn't care.
My brother was picked on a lot as a kid. His food allergy to peanuts (he was the first kid in the town in the 90s to have a peanut allergy), and the school wanted him to sit alone at his own table at lunch. The school segregated him, and by doing that the kids made fun of him. He still has a lot of anger in him.
I think principals and teachers are a huge main factor when it comes to bullying and I hate how they handle situations.
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