Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WTF Wednesday: Middle School Bus Inappropriateness

There are days when I'm extremely happy that I have older kids. They can prepare basic food for themselves, turn on the TV, clean their own rooms (and bathroom now), dress themselves, and temper tantrums generally involve slamming doors and then silence instead of endless screaming.

But when my 11 year old comes home and tells me the other kids on her bus were watching porn on their phones on the way to school that morning, I immediately wish I had toddlers again just to not have to deal with crap like that.
Pic Courtesy

I jumped ahead, though. Let me back up a bit.

The Girl is in the 6th grade and got accepted to a middle school off base with a self contained GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program. I love her program. The teachers are amazing, they challenge her, and they teach more than the stupid Common Core Standards shit tells them they have to teach. Because her school is off base, we have the option of taking her to school each day (which is looking better and better as each day passes), or putting her on the bus in the mornings.

The first day of school, the bus driver drove right by her bus stop, where 5 children were standing, and just continued with his route like he hadn't forgotten a thing. That should have been my sign.

After spending 15 minutes on the phone with the supervisor of the school district's transportation that day, he told me if there was ever anything else that came up that worried me, to let him know. Oh, good dear gracious, I'm sure he wasn't expecting the list I accrued from that point on.

My daughter immediately starting coming home in the evenings, telling me she couldn't stand her bus and the kids on it. She chose to stay away from them, which, in turn, got her teased by them because she'd rather be a loner and listen to her music in the morning than sit in the back and talk to them.

They also teased her about her acne. Assholes, right? To tease a child about acne that they haven't yet experienced because my daughter hit puberty before them? May karma strike acne down on these kids who teased my daughter about her acne...

My blood started boiling, but I'm an old-fashioned mom. I understand that kids get teased. Getting mildly teased helps strengthen you, and my daughter was handling the teasing just fine- with strength, poise, and letting it roll off her back. She knew the kids on her bus were assholes, so she didn't let it bother her. Proud mama moment right there, let me tell you.

A few weeks ago, my daughter comes come and tells me that the kids on her bus are cussing. Okay, they are 11, 12 and 13 year olds- cussing when they are away from their parents is to be expected as they try and figure out who they are and make themselves look badass to other kids. As she still didn't even associate with these kids, and knew what they were doing was wrong, I didn't worry.

Fast forward a few days and she comes home, telling me that one of the girls, at the ripe age of 11, is
throwing herself at every boy on the bus, and declaring to the whole bus that she just wants a boyfriend. She's also attached herself onto the new kid on the bus, calling him Cutie and trying to sit with him, when this kid clearly wants nothing to do with her. As my daughter told me about this (poor) child, she's rolling her eyes and says how stupid it is to throw yourself at boys. Sweet. That parenting lesson was taught for me. I like that. My daughter watched this desperate girl and decided she didn't want to be like her. Whew.

Fast forward a few more days, and now a different girl on her bus, also 11 years old, announced to everyone that she's cutting herself at night.

WTF?

I've been trying to track down this child's parents, I have. They need to be informed of what their daughter is doing, or is telling people she's doing to get attention. That's not cool, and then now, because she so eloquently announced it to the entire bus, I'm having to explain to my 11 year old what a "cutter" is. But shy of following this child as she walks home in the evening and possibly being branded a stalker, I've been unable to find out where she lives or who her parents are.

Then The Girl comes home with the story of how the desperate girl and the girl who says she cuts herself, along with several other kids on the bus, were watching, and I'll put it in my daughter's words, "Videos of naked people on their phones" that morning on the way to school. I had to bite my tongue to not yell out,

"WTF, they are watching porn on your bus??" because, at this moment, I didn't want my daughter to add the word porn to her vocabulary. I asked if she watched these videos with them, to which she scrunched up her nose and said, "Ew, Mom, no. I hate those kids, and those videos were inappropriate. I don't want to see a bunch of naked people. Gross."

Another Proud Mama moment right there. I breathed a sigh of relief.

At this point, I was at a loss of what to do. Go talk to the bus driver? Talk to transportation? Try and find the parents of these children? So many options, and I had to proceed with the right one to make sure something was done about it and it wasn't swept under the rug, or my child wasn't affected by it by these hooligans for confiding in me.

I talked with my daughter, to find out what course of action she felt comfortable with me taking. To her, she didn't care. She didn't care if these kids knew she told me about it. She didn't care if they all hated her. She didn't care what happened, as long as it all stopped. Then she tells me that the bus monitor does nothing when these kids act out like that.

Wait... there's a bus monitor? Kid or adult?

Adult, she tells me.

There's an adult, who is paid by the school system, to ride my child's bus and make sure the kids behave. I'm not sure what the monitor's definition of "behave" is, but my definition includes not teasing a child, not cussing, not sexually harassing other students, and not watching porn.

As I'm making the decision of how to handle the situation, The Girl texts me on her morning trip to school.

The girl who throws herself at boys, who is the one instigating the cussing and porn watching, has her mother at the bus stop that morning. As the bus arrives, the mother proceeds to cuss the bus driver out for "harassing" her daughter.

I texted my daughter back, "Is the bus driver harassing her daughter?" I knew my daughter would tell me the truth.
Poor Bus Drivers

"The bus driver yells at her because she's ALWAYS doing something wrong. She's cussing, blasting music, and other things. But she only tells her mom only what the bus driver does, nothing else."

So now the poor bus driver, who clearly has his hands full with these asshats, is being yelled at by a mother who should probably be spending more time hugging her daughter than yelling at a bus driver.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. All logical thought went out of my head of consequences, or trying to do what was "right" for all parties involved.

I called the transportation office. I gave them names of children, what these kids were doing, and asked what in the hell the monitor was doing besides properly watching these kids. The customer service woman at the transportation office was speechless. After a minute or so went by, she says,

"Well, you know things aren't they way they were when we were young, honey. There's not a lot the monitors or drivers can do, from a standpoint of discipline, anymore."

WTF? This better not be the beginning of a "Sorry, but our hands are tied" speech.

Thank goodness it wasn't.

"So, let me recap, and make sure I have this right for the supervisor. We have a female child sexually harassing male students, another female child who says she cuts herself, cussing and watching porn on the bus?" she asked.

Yep. That's a good summary.

"Okay. It's sad, isn't it? So sad, these kids nowadays. But, this is what will happen. I'm going to pass on this information to the supervisor. He will then meet with the bus driver and monitor, and then we will definitely be calling you to let you know what decision has been made, if not sooner than that to get your official statement." 

That made me relax a little. The lady went on to say they'll talk to the principal of the school, but when I informed her that my daughter's bus was full of kids from several schools, that one bus comes on base and picks up all of the kids, then drops them all off at my daughter's school, where the other kids get on different busses to go to their schools, she said it would just have to be between the supervisor, bus driver and monitor, then. Then she asked a question that made my heart sink:

"These are base kids doing this?"

Yes, unfortunately they are. Kids are kids, and I understand that. But I'm one of those people who feels military people should carry themselves more than the average person. They should hold themselves, and their families, to a higher standard. It pains me that kids this age are doing any of these things, but it pains me even more that they are military kids.

In the meantime, I think we will start driving The Girl to school each morning. Goodness knows what (if any) backlash there will be from this, from the standpoint of kids harassing her because she "ratted" them out. I'm not sure how long this process will take for the supervisor to meet with everyone, or even if a decision that I find appropriate will even be reached.

And that doesn't even begin to tackle how I feel the parents should be made aware of their children's behavior (especially the child cutting herself), which I doubt this whole bus situation will even deal with.

At this point, I'd be happy to go back to diapers and screaming temper tantrums, just until this whole scenario is done and over with.

Definitely my biggest WTF moment of this past week.


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9 comments:

  1. WOW...it's so sad to me that this is the state of our youth...and that it's just accepted. Thanks for being a parent trying to counteract it! Your kids always impress me.

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    1. Thanks! Trust me, they surprise me everyday, lol. ;)

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  2. WOW! This post made my heart sink a little bit for you and your daughter. I think that asking her what steps she's comfortable in you taking was amazing. So many parents overlook how the child in that situation feels.

    As another military mom don't let the whole "base kids" thing get you down. Kids are kids and sadly not everyone in the military lives with pride.

    The conversation with the transportation lady should have gone SO much better! If I were a bus monitor I and I caught kids doing that I would be taking phones. They are riding on school property and looking at inappropriate things and conducting inappropriate behavior... Aren't there cameras on buses now too?

    Anyway, this was totally a WTF! Hope the karma fairy swats those little twatwaffles with a good case of acne to make up for all this nonsense!

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    1. There are times I ask my kids how they want me to handle things, and there are times I just handle things, lol. It all depends on what I believe the possible consequences could be. Trial and error, lol. ;)

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  3. I really hope that this is dealt with for your daughter's sake. I know all too well the "hands tied" speech from schools, and sadly it is true, especially with parents (like the one yelling at the bus driver) strong arming their stupidity into school discipline.
    The fact that your daughter is confident enough to stand apart, and trusting enough to tell you, speaks volumes of your relationship with her. Amazing job, mama!

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    1. Thank you! I just hope this relationship we have continues through teenagehood, when most teenage girls hate their mothers, lol. ;)

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  4. I'm so glad my oldest is only 3!

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  5. You're ahead of things, then, reading all this stuff and preparing for it, lol. ;)

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  6. This must be really difficult to deal with! Nowadays, no matter how well you educate your children and what relationship you have with them, there's always the danger of exterior intruders that may influence him/her greatly. Probably the solution is to be very open mide and to constantly communicate with your children.

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