Bullying is a major concern of parents, teachers, school officials and law enforcement. Bullying takes place at school, at work and at home. Bullying is a vicious and violent act that defames, injures, and destroys a person’s character and self confidence. Did you know there is also bullying on buses?
Bullies cuss, slap, hit, pinch, and poke and make fun of their victims all the way to school. Students are victimized the entire time they are sitting with their bullies. There is no one to tell, and no place to run. Students feel trapped and overwhelmed. They go through this cycle of getting on the bus, and being mentally and physically abused by their bullies.
This is a problem that has been going on for centuries. Many people students and adults both have been ignoring the problem, or they just did not recognize the signs of bullying. Now that bullying is out in the open it is everyone responsibility to help protect the victims of bullying.
Forming groups and organizations can empower families to stand up for their rights, but mostly for the rights of their children. Many students have committed homicide or suicide, just to escape the horrors of bullying. No student should have to live with bullying, and no parent should know how it feels to lose a child over a problem that should not exist.
Bullies have no respect for their victim. A growing concern of “Bus bullying” or “Bullying on buses”, have school officials and parents concerned. Parents are fearful of letting their children ride the school bus, not knowing what type of bullying abuse their child will encounter, before they arrive at school. Bullies usually begin taunting their victim on the bus, because supervision is minimal.
It is difficult for bus drivers to pay attention to the road, and watch out for signs of bullying, while they are driving. However, some bullying may take place at the bus stop, before boarding the bus. Once everyone is no board it is difficult for the drivers to see what every student is doing. The bus is a small confined space, which leaves no room for victims to retreat.
Oftentimes students are assigned to seat with their bullies. This makes it even harder for victims to get away, or move to another seat. The majority of victims have no other choice but to ride the bus. This makes them an easy target and readily accessible to their bullies. Bullies intimidate and physically abuse their victims. Intimidation are usually threatening words such as, “I’m going to get you after school”, “ If you tell anyone, it is going to be worse” or “ you are dead meat.”
These words are often associated with physical abuse. Some bullies think of numerous ways to torture and torment their victims, the entire time they are on the bus. The only relief their victims have is when they arrive at school, and exit the bus. Many victims are afraid to tell their teachers, especially if their bully is in the same classroom.
Before the school bus arrives at school, the victims would have suffered a number of verbal insults and physical incidents, from the hands of the bully. Incidents such as making fun of the victims clothing, hair, shoe, or the way the victim look. Some bullies even speak negatively and harshly about the victim’s family and the way the live. Bullies find this type of abuse very amazing and entertaining, at the expense of their victims’ pride.
The bully friends are laughing of course, which only gives the bully more power. Some bullies pinch their victims; poke them with writing instruments such as pens and pencils. Bullying victims go through the same type of abuse on their way to school and on their way home from home. The majority of school districts are searching for solutions to end “School bus bullying.” They have taken measures that they hope will help keep students safe, while they are traveling to and from school.
There are eminent dangers of bus bullying, which can affect other students, innocent bystanders, pedestrians and other drivers. Bus drivers have to stay focused on the highway. Their job is to get the students to school and home, quickly and safely. Any distractions can prevent or delay this from happening. When drivers hear a scream or a plea for help, the drivers’ first instinct is to look up, at the mirror and try to pinpoint a problem.
When the drivers take their eyes off the road, even for a second, an accident can occur. It does not take but a split second for a traffic accident to take place. Students who are being bullied are reluctant about telling an adult, for fear of being labeled a “Tattle tale” or a “Big baby.” Even if students are afraid to speak out about their bullying experiences, parents, teachers and other adults should learn the signs of bullying.
Bullying takes place on the playground, in the lunch room, in the classroom and even in the bathroom. Some of the most obvious signs of bullying, which adults can see if they look closely enough is fear. Students who are being bullied are afraid to go to school, and afraid to ride the school bus. They may make excuses of being ill or not feeling well. They deliberately miss the bus school, so their parents will take them to school.
Other signs of abuse include asking friends and family members for rides to school, returning home from school with torn clothes or missing possessions. When parents notice any of these signs they should immediately approach their children and inquire about their day. Sometimes students may open up and share a little bit of what is going on.
Students are taking some measures of their own. According to a news article dated July 31st 2013 students videoed an assault of another student on their school bus. Two boys apparently attacked another student and being punching him several times. The mom did not know her son was a victim until she received a text message, asking her if her son was O.K.
The bus driver acted quickly in this incident and so did the school. The bus driver pulled off the side of the road and handled the fight in an appropriate manner.
How did the school administration handle this incident? The two bullies were suspended from riding the bus, and from school. Students say the two boys are known bullies, and they constantly pick on other children. What can parents, teachers, and school officials do to make sure students are safe on the bus, on the playground and in other parts of the school?
Schools can install a video camera on every school bus. Videos capture every action students and drivers make. It can show who start fights and who is being bullied. With the type of media on hand, schools can disarm bullies, suspend them from the bus or take other appropriate action.
Schools can also hire more bus aides, and place one school aid in the front of the middle of the bus and one in the back of the bus. The presence of bus aides can eliminate bullying dramatically. Bullies are less likely to attack their victims, if they know a responsible adult is nearby. Schools have more power and authority than bullies will ever have.
Schools have a zero tolerance policy to a lot of negative behaviors, and bullying is one of them. The growing concern of bullying on school buses is causing many parents to take actions of their own. This include taking their child off the school bus and personally taking them to school, or withdrawing them from the school altogether. Bullying is a worldwide problem that is happening all over the world.
What can students do to protect each other from bullies while they are riding on the bus? Students can sit as close to the front as possible. Most bullies don’t like to be seen, and they most likely will sit in the back of the bus. Sitting on the right-hand side of the bus put students in direct view of the bus driver.
Students can sit with a friend or with a neighbor. This may deter bullies from singling out a potential victim to bully. Sometimes kindness works and sometimes it does not. Being polite to a potential bully, might persuade the bully to think twice about his or her actions.
Students who witness bullying can tell teachers, parents and other adults, what they saw. When students speak out against bullying, this can eliminate a lot of bullying problems. Students can also stand up for bullying victims. Bullies are not likely to begin picking on someone who stands up for someone else. Bullies feed off of their victims fear, not courage.
When students group together in the lunchroom, in the classroom and on the playground, bullies are less likely to approach anyone in the group. Bullying is not just the victims problem is it is everyone’s problem. Parents can make a large impact in their student’s life and education when they get actively involved in helping to eliminate bullying.
Parents need to become familiar with their child’s school policy on bullying. They need to know the proper steps to take to report bullying, if they are not getting any help at the local level. When parents are reporting bullying, they need to do it confidentially, without naming the victim. Parents cannot be with their children all day and bullies may take their exposure out on the student, for being a tattle tale.
Parents should learn to be good listeners. It is not always what the student says that tells the story; it is what he or she won’t say. Do not show signs of anger and violence, when children tell their events of what is happening. Most parents make the mistake of telling their children to physically fight back. This is probably the worst advice parents can give to their children. Violence only begets more violence.
Parents should not blame their children for the bullying, and should look into finding alternative transportation. Walking is one alternative; although, the bully might decide to walk to school too. If the student is a walker, taking a different route home each day, may cut back on bullying. Bicycling is another option; however, this depends on the age of the student. Carpooling is another alternative that really works.
Parents can start an anti bullying support group or PTA at their children local school; there is definitely strength in numbers. Parents can get students involved and have them to sign a pledge card. The pledge card will list the consequences of unacceptable behaviors, particularly the behaviors associated with bullying. Parents can outline or reinforce school bullying policies, with consequences highlighted.
Parents can also set up neighborhood supervision. Parents can take turns supervising students in the morning before they get on the bus, and in the afternoon, when the bus brings the students home. Parents can also volunteer to ride the school bus. Many schools do not have the extra resources to hire bus aides. Parents who want to help keep their children and other children safe from bullying can work out a volunteer schedule, with other concerned parents.
The best way to put an end to bullying is to get involved. Parents should be too busy to talk or listen to their children. The more information parents, students and teachers have about bullying, the better chance they have of eliminating bullying altogether.
Remember schools cannot stop or prevent what they do not know about. If no one speaks out against bullying, no one will ever know. When school officials know all the facts, they can take appropriate action to safeguard students from bullying. Until then it is up to the victims to let others know what is going on. Even if students are not the ones being bullied, they should still report any incidents of bullying to their parents, to their teacher or to their school administration.
Some schools have made reporting bullying easy and safe. They have set up a website that allows students to report incidents of bullying. The child is never identified. The only visible information the server captures is that of the website server. This service is currently being used in nearly 900 schools worldwide. If bullying is to stop it must first be addressed in an effective and appropriate manner.