My mother-in-law called me about 15 minutes ago to inform me of a situation with the school bus. She gets TJ off the bus every day, and apparently he was shouting at some older girls when he got off the bus today. For the past few days, these older girls have been harassing him, telling him things like they’ll have him arrested if he doesn’t bring them McDonald’s or Chinese food. This may sound pretty mild compared to other things that could be going on, but my son is a kindergartener with Asperger Syndrome. He takes everything very literally. That’s an Asperger’s thing. I guess my MIL said something to the bus driver, but his reaction was “kids will be kids.”
I don’t think so.
I happen to know that TJ’s school has a no-tolerance policy for bullying. His afternoon bus ride is shared with kids from another elementary school, but they’re all in the same district, so I would imagine the policies are the same. Actually, I don’t need to imagine. I looked up the transportation code of conduct on the school district website, and harassment is not acceptable behavior.
So I called the transportation department. The woman I spoke with was very helpful. I explained the situation to her, and she said she would leave a note in the bus driver’s mailbox. He will be monitoring the situation, which should mean telling the girls to cut it out or they’ll get written up. If the harassment continues, I need to call back and let them know so proper disciplinary actions can be taken.
Tom and I have both mentioned the idea of getting on the bus ourselves to tell these girls to leave him alone, but that’s probably not a good idea. Hopefully they’ll stop when the bus driver starts taking it seriously.
In the meantime, I’ve talked with TJ and told him that the girls can’t really have him arrested, and that they’re just saying those things to be mean. He said, “I thought older kids were supposed to be nice to little kids. They were being bad to me. I don’t like how it felt.” That both broke my heart and made me want to go on the mama bear offensive. You don’t mess with the mama bear by doing anything to her kid.
I was bullied when I was in school. Not beaten up physically, but the verbal harassment kind. Schools turned a blind eye to it back then, even when my mom called to complain when I was being bullied by my sixth grade English teacher. Today, it’s different. I’m going to be proactive. This mama bear isn’t letting her baby go through that. I’m not going to let that behavior slide.
I would encourage any parents whose child is being bullied on the school bus – or at school – to call and talk to the appropriate contact at the school or bus garage. They can’t handle a problem if they don’t know about it. Once you’ve reported the situation, talk to your child to make sure the responsible adults are actually doing their job and making sure the harassment does not continue. If it’s still going on, you may need to go over people’s heads and climb the administrative chain until you get results. No child should have to put up with being bullied. Ever.