It Takes A Thief?

Skilled mechanics did not allow this school bus on the roads
until convinced it was a mechanically sound vehicle.  Is this
school bus a safe bus to ride to and from school?
~ Free photos from 2safeschools online library.
Recently, I posted a comment concerning a school district employee that allegedly pilfered and resold some $400,000 worth of vehicle parts from his employer.

I presented a perspective triggered by the story and other events this year coming together in my thoughts that some in the press including our industry’s press seemed could tolerate, and some seemed could not.

In some cases my comment apparently offended, or otherwise rocked some in the industry's boat too much to be tolerated. The comment just sort of evaporated.

No blame assigned here, nor feeling of rejection. Simply real is the reality that what an owner allows on his, her, or their webpage is their decision, not mine or ours. When something touches an  industry nerve in the wrong way from a website owner’s perspective, would seem to me appropriate to remove it. And some did.

Brief comments can leave holes that can easily be perceived to mean something other than what the author intended.

Plenty continue these days to perceive thievery as part of what delinquents, illegal drug users, robbers, gangs and the mob does. A perspective concerning the most common thievery from some of the nicest people may surprise some of the most intelligent people.

I commented recently on my Facebook page -- a page that caters to active school bus drivers promoting safe practices, concerned parents, trainers, and researchers -- is beginning to look like a school bus war zone. Strange the frequency and level of hostile events happening on the school buses and the level of disrespect toward too many school bus drivers this calendar year. And seems now even worse as the new school year begins.

Most school bus drivers expect nothing other than to perform their work in a safe workplace, most are willing to work hard even when repeatedly compromised. And most did not hire on to be involved in near constant conflict with management and to be harassed by other adults.

The world did not end in early 2012, nor could the Mayans or employers predict that this would be the year a school bus monitor bullied on the school bus would be so greatly supported from around the world, including over $700,000 in donations so that she could retire from the violence she experienced trying to help keep kids safe. I believe this single event helped most to trigger a new generation of bus driver thinking in this industry.

The year twenty-twelve seems the year more school bus drivers became fed up with the lack of respect that some schools,  transportation management, and some parents repeatedly demonstrate toward the bus drivers efforts to help keep kids safe.

School bus drivers were once a friendly, hardy, terse no nonsense bunch that ruled on their school buses across the country. School bus drivers seem moving forward to restoring that old heritage when the bus driver was an accepted and respected part of the school system and community.

This most recent generation of school bus drivers seem fed up when restrained from doing their work helping keep kids safe, then made scapegoats when something goes' amiss. Frustrations percolating just under the surface for at least a decade, now is boiling on the surface, hot and clearly noticeable to any paying attention.

More civil parents and school bus drivers are finally stepping up to the responsibility to whistle blow about unsafe conditions on their buses, disrespected, their safety concerns ignored, and their authority to intervene compromised, while too many school and industry officials continue to minimize the frequency of abusive events happening on too many our nation's school buses.

We have experienced more reports in the press this year concerning violence on the school buses and from school bus drivers whistleblowing on their employers unsafe school bus environments, lack of support, no respect, poor pay, school staff and administration indifference and such reported than ever before.

Some are discovering that safety in numbers works better when bus drivers address safety on the school buses.

Whistleblower mentalities are not well appreciated in most industries ours included. Rejection from the status quo, including from some fellow employees is more common than most would think. The whistleblower can be branded a troublemaker, his or her employee evaluations may take a dive, and may be harassed to the point he or she quits (constructive discharge) or is fired. Even violence is not out of the question. And whistleblower laws oftentimes prove too weak to protect the whistleblower from the hostile responses his or her activities can bring.

Most school bus drivers know to not engage, this from observing the consequences whisltleblower bus drivers faced, and from reading about employer reactions to whistleblowers in a variety of other industries.  A few reasons why so many school bus drivers refused to confront maltreatment of the children riding their school buses...

"Hundreds of federal employees risk their careers to blow the whistle, only to find that no one is home to hear it. It's like dialing 911 and being put on hold." ~ Spoken By: Jeff Ruch, president of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Source: Whistle-Blower Complaints Unheard. (Note the date of the article.)

"[Blowing the whistle on your employer] is like being a skunk at a picnic. Win or lose, you've probably ruined your reputation, and perhaps even your health." ~ Spoken By: Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Source: Los Angeles Times

The failure of some employers to properly check employee backgrounds, or that perform lackadaisical checks, to hire in desperation, to poorly train and support their drivers, and to then steal their bus drivers time and dignity can eventually bring about all sorts of consequences. The safety of children compromised, the bus drivers workplace safety compromised, health issues, violence, and more. Very good drivers may leave and many very good candidates may not hire on.

When eventually the civil can no longer tolerate the games that the political mentality can play concerning the safety of children riding the school buses it appears now that more employees may bring it all back to roost on management’s heads.

The lackadaisical employer can get lucky and hire some great bus drivers. Unfortunately, the most cautious employer can on occasion mishire and include an anomaly in the rank and file.

Once an anomaly has been hired, it is easier for that anomaly to work up the rank and file, to then eventually surprise their employer or a future employer with a malbehavior none would expect. Pedophiles and thieves once hired can more easily go from employer to employer until finally caught.

Some may argue that all of this and also the recent comment I made concerning an employee that allegedly pilfered some $400,000 from his current employer is irrelevant to the story first presented, may declare, "Not the same thing!" Others might accept my comment and present that there is no honor among thieves -- that it is wrong, unethical, and/or immoral to steal.

We could easily over analyze this issue and conclude that everyone is a thief, that we stole this land from the native Americans. A Christian ethic might present that when Christ returns, he will come as a thief in the night. A few may inject that a 4-year old that steals ought to be beaten to death and know of no greater punishment for an adult that steals.

For the most part civil mortals still believe that stealing is stealing, even when it appears clean like some say the banks and other financial interests did, or more blunt like when forced by a mugger to give up your wallet, and even when involving strangers nonphysical contact -- such as ID theft. And when forking out the money after filling up at the pump these days.

Stealing is out of control in this country, and many thieves seem provided more rights than the people they’ve harmed.

Some employers pilfer their employees time. Not that surprising that on occasion an employee might act out a similar mentality toward their employer in a form of a self-donation, even in the event the current employer may not pilfer time from their employees.

Eventually we may read a story concerning an employee that was stealing to support his or her illegal drug addiction? I think most might agree that is no excuse to steal, which could be perceived that there might sometimes be an excuse to steal.

We may eventually read about or watch some movie concerning an out-of-luck poorly paid employee that had no medical benefits at his or her workplace. The drug companies wanted abusive amounts of money for his wife’s cancer drugs -- must have drugs that could save his wife’s life and that cost only a few dollars to make. More than a few might be empathetic toward that sort of thief. Some might even defend that thief’s actions.

A close friend of one my daughters experienced cancer, lost her job, lost her medical benefits, and could not obtain treatment in time to extend her life. Had she robbed a bank early on, said she felt guilty and turned herself in or let herself get caught, gave back the money, accepted a few years in prison, she may have gotten all the free health care treatment she needed while in prison.

I want to be clear as possible here. I’m not making excuses for the various forms and the reasons involved for stealing. I am simply mentioning that as bad as most stealing may be, it seems sometimes accepted when involving serious desperation of the right kind, or involves stealing from the rich and the not so rich.

And just to mention, stealing may be tolerated when involving billions, then tolerated again when the same thieves steal more billions from a bailout. Or the stealing is promoted as 'not illegal' or otherwise allowed under the law. Or the thief happens to be a pharmaceutical company making a pay-for-delay deal, or is a dispenser of legal drugs. Or the thief is a well-liked politician, or a bank, or some other corporation that can come up with a scapegoat or two to blame it all on. Some stealing seems tolerated if the offender is powerful enough, popular enough and as long as not caught, and sometimes even when caught.

How is it that stealing seems a rather popular remedy these days for more than just the likes of the bloke in the story I mentioned?

No doubt, the employee in the story will likely experience justice served. The rest I’ve mentioned? Any comments about these sorts?


Broward schools bungled bus ridership figures, audits show - Broward Schools repeatedly submitted error-ridden reports to the state on school bus service in recent years, inflating the number of riders by thousands and resulting in penalties of more than three-quarters of a million dollars, audits obtained by the Sun Sentinel show. Notice the behavior was labeled "error-ridden reports"

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was a chilling thought about your friend who died--could have stolen to get free prison health car. Natter of fact my 50-something brother is chronically homeless, and when he got a terrible toothache last year he shoplifted something at the mall so he would go to jail and they would fix his tooth for him...(sigh)
    I am so glad that monitor grandmom whose video went viral has started a national anti-bullying campaign. I think it just might make a difference!


Please keep your comments smart and civil. Do not attack other blog participants personally, and keep your language decent. Although we remove spam and any posts not relevant to education issues and bus safety, please report abuse if a comment is found that violates these standards.