"I'm not really a mama bear. I'm more like a mama llama. I'm basically pretty chill unless you mess with my kid. Then I will kick you in the throat and spit on you!"
As human beings, we have all had to deal with "that person." You know that person of whom I speak. The bully, the loudmouth, the insulter, the rude person that no matter what you do, they will make a rude comment, the person who makes crass jokes or worse uses racial slurs and derogatory comments. We've all been around them. Dealing with them is painful, frustrating, and infuriating. Often, there is no way to shut such a person down without becoming a target. As an adult, we can choose not to allow that person into our world. As adults, we can confront such behavior, go to a supervisor, go to HR, or, worst-case scenario, call the police.
However, the person who has to deal with this "that person" is not an adult. This person is a small for her age, 72 lbs. soaking wet, 7th-grade girl who doesn't feel like she has her feet underneath her with the whole school thing. The Bean hates her bus ride. On her bus route is a "big kid" who intimidates everyone. He swears constantly, and it's "the bad swears." Worse, he uses racial slurs and derogatory remarks about sexuality. He slaps other kids across the head when they disturb him. He thinks nothing of insulting 7th-grade girls. He has no manners, no decorum, no conscience for the hatred that spews from his mouth. In short, he is the bus bully.
The Bean has come home with stories about this "big kid" from day one. She is astonished at his behavior. She cannot fathom what makes a person say such horrible things. She asked me what was wrong with him and why his parents would permit him to act in such a manner. I had no real answers for her. Sometimes, people just suck out loud. However, how do I convey this to my daughter? I told her that perhaps his home life isn't good, maybe his parents have these attitudes, perhaps he is angry and hurting, and this is how he deals with it. Being ever so wise for her age, she said that he is a "big kid" and has to know better by now. He must know what he's saying is wrong, and he chooses to act like an idiot: checkmate, my little Bean, checkmate.
I find it even more upsetting that the supervising adult does not address this young man's behavior. As a parent, I want the bus driver to concentrate on the primary expectation of his job, which is getting my child to school safely. I also know that there isn't enough money to be offered to make me want to be a bus driver. However, I have a difficult time believing the bus driver is oblivious to what is going on. A more significant concern is if he is oblivious because that leaves the door wide open for God knows what. Sigh.
I am ready for my Bean to return to our safe little bubble here on the farm. There are good guys on the bus route. There is a young man who stands up for "the little kids." However, this leaves him wide open as a target for the bully. The Bibbed Wonder messaged this young man's mother and told her what an upstanding person she has reared. Kudos to her for instilling morals and strength in her child. There are also "big girls" who protect the younger kids. They hustle them to the front of the bus and call out the bully on his behavior. However, in the proper bully form, he tells the girls to lose weight. Sigh. It is all I can do not to go into mama llama mode and kick this bully in the throat and spit on him. However, that is not setting a good example.
We are now on week three of school. The Bibbed Wonder has restrained my involvement since week one. I was ready to call the principal after the first day. However, Eric, who tends to be more level-headed than I, told me to let it work itself out for a bit. Obviously, it is not working itself out and only getting worse, so now I am in charge. I am going to talk to the bus driver tomorrow morning. Since The Bean is the first stop, I can do so with a bit of privacy and not "humiliate" my child. My next plan of action is to call the office or send an email. I am debating on the necessity of a paper trail. Lastly, if the powers that be aren't enough, I plan to wait in the bushes and throttle this kid. Okay, not really, but I do indulge in protective fantasies when it comes to my child. I also plan to call the guidance office. This child obviously has issues, and perhaps a bit of positive adult interaction and some insight into appropriate coping skills would be beneficial. Sigh.
At this point, I am contemplating driving her back and forth to school. However, I should not have to inconvenience myself because of a tenth-grade bully. To live in society, one has to learn to conform to social norms. These social norms are often just basic principles of being a decent human being. We learn these skills at home and if not at home in primary school. There are basic rules like keeping your hands to yourself, not calling names, being polite, just because you think it doesn't mean you should say it, and of course, the golden rule is to treat others as you wish to be treated. Sadly, I feel like this lesson is not being taught in all homes. Sigh.
The pink protective bubble I have ordered for my Bean is on backorder. If only it were that simple. I know I cannot shield her from the ugliness of this world forever, but it would be nice to be able to do it for a little longer. I take heart in knowing she knows this behavior is wrong and is outraged by it. There is hope for this world yet. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, be an example of the golden rule, and keep washing your hands.