A couple of weeks ago a 68-year old bus monitor was verbally bullied by a bunch of school kids. The incident was recorded and uploaded on Youtube. The video went viral and when the media caught on to the story, a donation campaign was set up in her name to send her on a vacation; her fund is now worth over $600,000.
It is horrific what the kids in the video did to Karen Klein. Watching the video made me feel sad that kids are capable of doing such hateful things!
There is no doubt that parents are held responsible for the upbringing of their kids, but we cannot dismiss society for also having an impact on the children that bullied Karen. North American culture has become an individualistic society, which values attributes such as independence, non-conformity and the questioning of the status quo. It seems that children these days have taken this to mean that it is okay to be low on authoritarianism. The act of rebelling, belittling or dismissing people in authority allows children to feel more empowered and free.
The recent talks about freedom in the media and constant dialogue about questioning authority probably allows them to justify their bullying behavior. What these kids need to be taught is that freedom does not mean you can simply do whatever you want. There is a boundary of respect that they cannot cross.
This is not the first or the last bus monitor to be bullied. Bullying has been long present for years; it's just that kids have shifted it on to adults. Since this is a reoccurring thing, perhaps school distracts need to start putting more efforts and funding into setting up programs that teach kids about respect and bullying.