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School Bus Blues
January 17, 2012 - Jennifer Brookens
"I wish I didn't have to go back," my daughter confided in me the night before Christmas break was over.
It was a shock to me, considering how she had cried about not being able to see her classmates the night after the break started. I brought that point up to her.
"It's not them. It's the bus."
The bus. Only two years ago, she was so excited about riding the bus. And now she would do anything to avoid it. Bigger kids who cram their friends on and insult the little kids have made the bus ride the worst part of the day.
Naturally, we want to protect our children. As I asked more questions, I learned it wasn't just my daughter being targeted, but that was the general treatment of all the smaller kids on the bus. And the insults were the generic "dorks" and "nerds." I sympathize because I remember being bullied by a group of boys on my bus route. It was junior high, so the insults went well beyond "dork" and "nerd," and I was the target for spitball practice on a daily basis. Plus things that today would probably qualify for sexual harassment charges. And my prize-winning science fair project was destroyed.
With that in mind, there is part of me that would like to be able to save her from that ugly world, even though it's not close to that. Yet. But reality also sets in: 1) I would have to leave work another half-hour or 45 minutes earlier, meaning there'd be more work for Mom to do in the evening when it's "family time." And as I told her, 2) Jerks are everywhere. They have different names and faces, but they're everywhere. If we stop taking the bus, there could be jerks on the walk route home, in the hallways, on the playground. And there are jerks in the adult world too. There's no way around it. The best we can do is recognize it for what it is, hold our heads high, and don't fall into their traps that drag us down to their level. As much as I didn't like the feeling of saying, "Sorry, you're on your own," I know in the long run it's actually helpful to learn to deal with these fools at an early age. And that she can come to me or turn to her teachers if things take a turn for the worse. Here's hoping the fools stay just foolish and don't become menacing...
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