What can happen when unruly riders take charge of the school bus environment?

By James Kraemer
[Article Updated, July 24, 2012]

You Tube Video
2safeschools Library Photo

 A 10-minute video on You Tube and at other video sites presents a recent bullying episode toward a bus monitor on a middle school bus in Greece Central School District, New York, Bus #784

A few stories present that this sort of gross disrespect is something new happening on our nation's school buses.  

One of the articles, Ugly Verbal Attack on School Bus Monitor Captured on Video, by STN’s Ryan Gray makes odd mention at the beginning of the article, -- "It's one of the latest challenges facing student transporters."

Mr. Grey responded that he was actually referring to social networking, not bullying.  His response is at the end of an  STN News video.

The complete paragraph in the article reads, "Kids can say the cruelest things. This, as with bullying, is nothing new. But the age of social networking has brought the ugly, nasty kids are capable of to all of our Internet browsers. It's one of the latest challenges facing student transporters."

Might also mean that bullying is nothing new, including cyberbullying, and that resolving bullying remains one of the latest challenges for some schools and school bus transportation facilities. Regardless, what Gray presents is also valid.

The challenge these videos present are to schools and providers that fail to properly train and support their staff in an onboard effort to help keep kids safe, that fail to act to protect the civil before escalation’s happen, and that fail to keep their employees workplaces on the school buses hostile free.

If not the challenge, would seem what remains is how to train the kids to obey a policy concerning students use of videos on the school buses. That may be more of a challenge than dealing with the uncivil, since civil children can be the worst to challenge. Oftentimes does not work out very well for indifferent school administrations when outraged and informed civil adults then engage an issue.

When reading the rest of an excellent article the writer obviously painstakingly presents the same disgust so many are experiencing after watching a few minutes in to the Karen Klein video event. By the end of writing his article it becomes apparent that he is outraged.

What is new about this bullying event happening on school buses?

Nothing, other than apparently even the media has been kept in the dark about this sort of bullying toward school bus drivers and aides. How did that happen?

Public anger against bullying is high, yet the reality is that bullying continues to flourish.

The malbehavior presented in the video is typical on school buses where the unruly have taken control of the bus environment and the driver and aide have been restrained from taking an effective action. The fact that bus did not stop or return to the school and have those offensive kids immediately removed says plenty.

Plenty of school districts have the ethics and tenacity to immediately deal with these sorts at the beginning of the school year. But not the case at all schools.

A Facebook comment presents: “If I was the driver of this bus, I would have returned the kids to school ASAP! Might get fired later for that but I would not tolerate this behavior at all.”

And this comment: “This was featured in The Talk today [6/21/2012]. She said the worst thing the kids said was that she's too ugly, her kids should kill themselves. Her child DID commit suicide 10 years ago! This is just deplorable! Oh! And the school district HAS seen the video and would only say that they will be disciplined. Yeah. HOW????? Probably a slap on the wrist.”

And another of many reports: "Its very likely that the driver and monitor are in a area like mine where if you do anything more than take the abuse and write them up (though nothing will be done to the students) you can be the one that gets in trouble and possibly fired."

And this: Unfortunately, some of us work for school districts that do not support us or our efforts to control our buses. Time and time again we have seen bus drivers persecuted because regardless of whether or not we have followed every protocol they will find some way to couch all or most of the blame on the driver. ~ Florida bus operator

So little of the best methods it seems are presented in the press concerning the better schools and their school bus environments that it becomes questionable whether or not the actual best schools are leading the way in our country.

Since stopping bullying has become popular in the media in came more than a few money grabbers selling stop bullying programs to schools that do not work very well. Politicians that read or memorize from scripts, the press presenting their choice of socialized popular experts to the viewers, and disruptive special self-interests demands seem all too often leading the wrong way to improving our schools.

Too many bureaucrats just don’t get it, not even when their schools are sued. Civil parents and other civil interests are forced to direct these high paid indifferent or fearful sorts in what they are to do and when they are to do it.

Although providing plenty of fanfare this issue seems most ignored in the larger school districts, but this indifference is not exclusive to the biggest schools. The worst schools seem to get the most press time. Children and parents pay a dreadful price for substandard unsafe school related environments.

This sort of indifference does not apply to every school district out there. While Athena Middle School, Greece Central School District, and the transportation provider investigates, perhaps sniffing the wind for the safest remedy, schools like in my community have grown with a little help from the civil and hiring the right management style.

More of the effective styled school district administrations are training school bus drivers to be educators with the authority to have unruly sorts immediately escorted off the bus. And for far less offense than what was presented in the You Tube video.

In a few of the resulting media stories, the father of one of the teenage boys who was involved in the bullying says his “heart broke” to see that his son was part of the abuse, but that the boys have suffered enough with their faces made public in the video. “My family’s received death threats,” Robert Helms told ABC News. “He’s a 13-year-old kid. It was a stupid mistake and he’s paying for it but I just think it’s a little out of control.” (~ ABC News)

Yes, anger has been awakened, and extremes can be part of that. It may well be out of control, both before the event, and now again out of control after the event. What did the school and transportation provider fail to do at the beginning of the school year and long before this event helped provoke extremes on a school bus where unruly kids had taken control of the bus environment?

A Facebook comment includes that the offenders should be killed.

Where malbehavior is extreme so also can be the malbehavior of those that profess themselves as civil. There may be some events that include death as part of the remedy, such as what eventually happened in our Nation’s Civil War. Death threats over this article's issue are not from the civil, but from the flip side of the same damaged uncivil coin – from a mob mentality.

Regardless, The boys involved chose to repeatedly make bad decisions without any intervention from the civil present. Their so-called fun injured the bus monitor, which also injured the provider’s reputation to maintain safe bus environments, injured their school’s worthiness or revealed a lack of, shamed their parents and the community they live in. The video is expected to be displayed worldwide for some years to come.

Bullying at this level angered civil kids from several nations. ‘Not enough’, remains to be remedied, starting with off the buses for at least one year in my opinion. But not capital punishment.

Karen Klein
Jamie Germano/Meaghan McDermott,
Democrat and Chronicle Media Group
 ‎What is amazing is what the civil children from around the country (and worldwide) did after viewing the video. Kids! Yes, civil kids were so offended by what they viewed in the video they wanted to give Karen - the bus monitor in the video - at least a paid vacation, hopefully even collect enough for her to retire. What the civil kids did goes beyond a vacation gesture, maybe beyond compassion for an injured person, to that of demonstrating how powerful the civil can be when provoked in to action. The civil raised over $700,000.00 [updated].

Another comment mentions, "Does this really warrant a $200,000 response?” (An earlier amount collected). “That's rubbish", said the commenter.

Hardly think that's rubbish myself. Civil injury suits are in to the millions over this issue. I took some parents of hostile kids to court that persisted in harassing me. The parents seemed worse than their children. It took years, an employer persisting in standing behind me (sorta), and an excellent lawyer to help me win the case. We battled all the way to the state supreme court. The jury, the appeal’s process, and the Supreme Court – all 100-percent favoring my position. All I wanted was an apology and for the parties involved stopping their malbehavior. By the time they’d driven me to exhaustion, the eventual financial settlement became an adequate apology in my case.

In the case of Karen Klein, some civil children cared for a bullied woman. Civil children can have a level of empathy, of compassion, and remedy that can far exceed some adults concepts. Remember that kids injured a decent woman, and that other kids took charge of helping to remedy her suffering on that bus.

Not the provider. This was an issue long before this event, and was not remedied out the gate at the beginning of the school year.

Not the school. The school is busy reacting, deciding what to do now, perhaps sniffing the wind, likely looking at public opinion before deciding on a remedy.

And not the court. No lawyers fees and no court costs this time, and no thievery from the state -- no huge fee taken for so-called victims programs funded by the victim’s settlement, and perhaps taxes may be exempted.

Civil kids and civil adults from around the world did it!

I hope a million dollars is collected on behalf of that bus monitor. Adults might learn something from what the civil decided to do, and hopefully learn something well beyond the money issue.

Not Just The Schoolplace

"Now comes word that the targets of workplace torment aren’t the only casualties of the phenomenon: A new study by Canadian researchers, published in the most recent issue of the journal Human Relations, suggests that co-workers who witness bullying are also traumatized by the phenomenon—and are as likely as victims themselves to look for a new job."

Not just the schoolplace. Glad this is finally recognized. So odd the demand from politicians for schools to solve bullying when it can not be solved where the staff is bullying each other. Schools now have anti-bullying policies for the schoolplace but nothing for the workplace. No state at this country, and after a decade and a half effort from Dr. Gary Namie (Workplace Bullying Institute) has a workplace stop bullying bill become law.

To ward off school bullies who began taunting her in the first grade for her ears, Nadia begged her mother at the age of 10 for an otoplasty -- an operation to pin her ears back. The teen, now 14, was recently granted her wish by the Little Baby Face Foundation, a charity that provides free corrective surgery to children born with facial deformities.

More stories
Note: This reference will be updated when needed.

Incredible how ignorant the press can be concerning the school buses, and bullying. This article seems not the exception. Both uncivil and also civil children have accomplished what fearful adults, schools, politics, and the press failed to do. It will take time for adults, including the press, to fully comprehend what Klien accomplished and civil children have accomplished on a worldwide scale.

If there’s one thing school transportation professionals would like to see come out of the Karen Klein incident, it is this: more swift and serious discipline for students who misbehave on school buses. “What I’m hearing is there’s a lack of follow-up and that occurs enough that drivers are saying ‘why bother?’ ” he said.

More Facebook Comments:
I think what bothers me the most is that this sort of thing happens every day on buses and nothing is done. The ONLY reason that this incident is being dealt with is because of the viral video that has caused this district so much embarrassment. Without public outcry, nothing is ever done. Ive experienced this sort of thing myself....the transportation provider shrugged its shoulders and kept on going. ~ Illinois

"Yeah, I'm out for the summer, so it is hard to tell. But went in for my last paycheck and the boss and I were discussing it. She won't be my boss in the fall, and I've heard the new company is more dilligent about making sure discipline is taken care of than our last one. Like if we write someone up, they WILL follow through and make sure the school doesn't ignore it. Which was quite common here. Most of our principals are useless. We shall see. Hopefully it WAS a wake up call." ~ New York school bus driver

"I agree on better pay, better benefits. Isn't that what we all work for?" ~ Ohio

Many love their work, and good pay and benefits make it better, demonstrates the employees are valued. Neverthless, up to one in three in most industries hate their boss, and pay is only part of the issue.  More pay and benefits may or may not attract new apps, and may not retain enough of the best help (and best attitudes) to maintain quality services.

A survey conducted by talent management expert DDI in the U.S. and several other countries presented that, "Much of the dissatisfaction stems from supervisors' unwillingness to listen to their employees. Thirty-five percent of the surveyed workers said their boss never, or only sometimes, listens to their work-related concerns. Additionally, only 54 percent of supervisors involve employees in making decisions that affect their work. The study also showed that too many leaders are not delivering on the basic requirements, courtesy, respect, honesty and tact in their interactions, of a healthy manager/employee relationship."

My Mrs. worked for a company in Michigan where the department employees evaluated new hires to their department. A bad evaluation the first 90-days could mean termination. They also evaluated their department head. Moral and work performance was through the roof. My Mrs. survived the trial period and loved that workplace.

[Update]: To some the kids apologies look more like a coached terse press release. Spoiled and/or calculating children have been conditioned to expect immediate forgiveness without consequence, since they did apologize. These expect to be let loose without consequence as so many kids have learned from school experiences and later bragged about getting away with what they did. The malbehavior presented in the video is typical on school buses where the unruly have taken control of the bus environment and the driver and aide have been restrained from taking an effective action. A clear well-written apology ought to define what they did, elaborate on why it was unacceptable conduct, how they corrected their malconduct, and take at least ten minutes to read. Forgiving does not mean no accountability for what they decided to do for 10-minutes on that bus that day and any bullying acted out previous to that day. Forgiveness from the target (victim) lets the target move forward, releasing the torment those boys decided to act out toward the bus monitor. Accountability, owning it, punishment, discipline (whatever the label) remains to involve adequate consequences to fit the crime. A year off the buses, washing school buses, mowing lawns, cleaning out roof gutters, pulling weeds, all while adult 24/7 supervised (day and night) for a specific period of time, some or all these things may be adequate to help sink in a message that ought to be enforced -- No Bullying! Once completed, perhaps then write the apologies with more believable content this time.

Those making death threats are simply other bullies or hostile sorts acting out a mob mentality while attempting to present themselves as civil and serving Justice.

Promoting an anti-bullying message among students is "undermined when a principal bullies a teacher in front of the kids," Namie said. Dr. Namie’s Facebook Page

Karen Klein Retires - Interesting, and expected.

No such thing as a bad kid?  - It is an illusion, neglectful and sometimes dangerous to chant that all kids are good. It is a myth that the practical among the civil think it so. Many of the civil simply do not know how to present the truth of the matter until cornered and frustrated with a few that may be rotten at the core.  There is no need to panic over the reality that so-called good kids can do bad things. Know your environment and escape strategies when discovering what thought a good child suddenly reveals him or herself. 

Additional Notes and follow-up concerning Karen Klein
This is a rather long note but remains essential to understanding what is evolving concerning Karen Klein. As of late the jealous are beginning to display their true colors concerning an issue that has been happening on our nation's school buses for decades and their part in it.

I did my so-called job, nearly two decades refusing to allow violence on my buses, accomplished under a hostile management style.

What it got me was years of unhealthy grief from hostile parents defending their kids from the civil, school administrators whining that I had no authority to refuse to transport. And, abandonment from some of my fellows. I fully understand why some drivers 'just drive the bus', and why some aides 'just ride-a-long.'

Among the drivers that had more subtle methods to removing unruly children from their bus, their remained many afraid to intervene in the activities of the uncivil, and some too passive to join in helping me keep kids safe. Most of these seemed hired and trained to act that way. A few seemed to eventually be experiencing a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Like some administrators and managers, these realized that actually doing their job could get them terminated.

The stress of just doing ones' job within a hostile workplace environment had dreadful affects on my physical health. However, I was first to receive a bus camera (my best friend at that time), I had a lawyer, doctors, supportive industry experts, civil parents and other civil adults locally and across the country helping cover my back all those years. I was blessed with quality support, my good fortune, both from the civil within my community, and from elsewhere.

Two decades later under a new management style things turned around for our school district’s bus drivers and for me just in time to retire. But there is no retirement age for helping keep kids safe.

Several continuing activities after retirement includes my district assigning me to help support bus drivers tired of unhealthy and hostile work conditions, and the civil kids harmed, and that want to restore their bus environment. I help the drivers and civil kids that are fed up and willing to give up their fearfulness, give up passive excuse making, and want back in charge of their bus environment. I tell no bus driver what to do, no child what to think, but demonstrate taking back the environment from the uncivil kids and the uncivil adults involved. Some of the adults can be worse than the kids concerning this anomaly. I ride-a-long for only as long as it takes to restore the environment to the civil, then on to something else.

When I hear anyone - anyone! - bureaucrats, officials, managers, trainers, fellow drivers, anyone criticizing school bus drivers with lame judgments against these supposedly not doing their job, a terse responses can be the outcome...

Most are doing their job, just as directed by their employer to do it!

Again, more of the effective styled school district administrations are training school bus drivers to be educators with the authority to have unruly sorts immediately escorted off the bus. And for far less offense than what was presented in the You Tube video.

The rest seem more often hiring the passive willing to accept abuse and to let their civil riders be abused, even make excuses to accept that abuse. These make for good use as scapegoats when convenient, not much good as school bus drivers or aides, in my opinion.

Regardless, some kids liked Klein, her good fortune is hers to receive, and regardless of the jealousy some are beginning to display against her. If she is the least among school bus aides, how great a demonstration of compassion from civil children toward a rejected stone now used to build decency back into our nation's school bus environments?

Myself, as mentioned before, I hope a million dollars is collected on behalf of that bus monitor. This industry might learn something from what civil children decided to do, and hopefully learn something well beyond the money issue. ~ James

Additional Notes
It is incredible how some in our industry's management seem pretending to be ignorant, concerning the escalation of violence on our nation's school buses these past decades.

Nothing short of extreme abuse toward school bus drivers of the saying, "Unless you have something good to say, remain silent."

The friendly yellow school bus in Walmart ads and other store ads is all that most schools, the industry, and government wants parents and the public to see and read about.

And why not? Could you imagine a store ad involving a child running off the bus crying after being bullied on that bus? Ridiculed about her old clothing, her older sister's hand-me-down torn, brand x pencils and other supplies taken...

Your child needs 'our-brand' of fad clothing, shoes and school supplies, to help stop the violence toward her at school.

Both children and adult whistleblowers soon discover how weak the laws are to protect them from a hostile schoolplace and workplace environment.

To reveal even a tip of an iceberg concerning the violence happening on our school buses is an aberration, and worthy of terminating those bus drivers not positioned to successfully defend themselves. How much worse for children?

As horrific and unacceptable some in the industry claim concerning what they saw in the video, few are willing to acknowledge that they themselves have played a significant role these past decades in helping to promote an illusion of safety on our friendly yellow school buses. 

What else could these higher up say, and still keep their jobs?

Even the passive styled bus drivers and aides from over a decade ago, (and I say this with love), helped contribute to the recent year’s escalation of violence on our nation’s school buses. By allowing it back when, these set up their substitute drivers, bus aides, and future bus drivers and aides with ever increasing hostile bus environments.

It is hard to imagine that unpaid children revealed this horrific abuse happening on school buses across our great nation in small and large school districts alike.

Kids will say and do most anything these days ... and sometimes some kids get it right.

What TV commercials present does not have to reflect an illusion, but restoring our schools and school bus bus environments is going to take some real effort, some real training this time, some real work, and doing the job for real from now on.

How many in our industry are actually up for that is still to be answered.

Note 2
Now over $650.000.00 - A great blessing for Karen Klein, good compensation for any that are abused over time in their respective workplace. She has earned every penny from the years. Lives are significantly shortened because of the abuse in unnecessary stressful workplaces that the hostile refuses to acknowledge.

Civil Children have accomplished what fearful adults, schools, politics, and the press failed to do. It will take time for adults, including the press, to fully comprehend what these civil children have accomplished on a worldwide scale.

Remember this. Kids injured a decent woman, and that other kids took charge of helping to remedy her suffering.

"Not the provider. This was an issue long before this event, and was not remedied out the gate at the beginning of the school year.

Not the school. The school is busy deciding what to do now, perhaps sniffing the wind, likely looking at public opinion before deciding on a remedy.

And not the court. No lawyers fees and no court costs this time, and no thievery from the state -- no huge fee taken for so-called victims programs funded by the victim’s settlement, and perhaps taxes may be exempted.

Civil kids did it!"

Simple Rule: Where a standard is dysfunctional, the support poor, non existent, hostile, or indifferent -- to get away from that for a while (change of environment for the better), the stress melting away after the body gives up trying to maintain the torment it became accustomed, to then have an escape ... And Wham! Bang! Pow! No sensible person would return to that dysfunctional environment.

The school bus transportation industry does not have a school bus driver shortage, but a shortage of whistleblowers, and a shortage of candidates willing to destroy their health working where too many employers abuse their school bus drivers.

What amazes me is that so many school bus drivers find the maltreatment something they can not do without, that they have to accept it, that it is part of the job. Plenty have to experience withdrawal from an abusive environment before realizing how horrific our schools, our special self-interests, and our typical abusive human behavior have permitted the job to become what it is at too many schoolplaces and workplaces. It's worse for some kids, yet continues on and on with excuses hiding the torment.

And when some of these can no longer change that truth with self-lies, and so-called positive thinking wrongfully applied, This is when some of these move forward to discover the joy of calmness in their new environment. Many children also affected by schoolplace abuse often report the same relief.

And nearly a million bucks certainly helps.  Good for her, God bless, and hopefully many good days remain ahead for that woman and her family.


  1. At the age of 54 and having worked at a juvenile detention center and a maximum security prison and ALSO the mother of 4 and 9 grandchildren...I would have handled this situation in a different matter. Sitting there taking it would NOT have been an option. And as the inmates always said when another one apologized....sorry didn't do it.

  2. A special person should be allotted in every bus from traffic police so that he could keep an eye on anything happening in the bus which is against the law or violating safety standards.


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