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BATTLING THE BULLIES – A DAD FIGHTS BACK

Good Enough Mother is picking her lower jaw up off the floor after watching the video of the Florida father who jumped on a school bus and confronted the kids who had been allegedly bullying his daughter. I totally get wanting to protect your kid, that’s instinctive. But this man was WAY out of line.

The problem here is that everyone was traumatized by James Jones’ shortsighted actions. When he got on the bus he ordered everybody to sit down. Can you imagine those kids’ confusion as a stranger gets on and usurps the bus driver’s authority? In their heads, they’re thinking, “wait, that’s not how it’s supposed to be.” Then he yells at his daughter to “show me which ones”, placing her in an untenable situation. She cannot defy her father so she gets up and is forced to point out who she said had been bullying her (worth noting, the father never reported any of this to the school). Jones goes on to threaten them with language that would make a merchant marine blush. But what are they supposed to do? Here’s this grown-up, a really pissed one at that, cussing and carrying on. It was probably so surreal they had a hard time digesting exactly what was happening…

Whoa! WHAT THE HELL???

Good Enough Mother is picking her lower jaw up off the floor after watching the video of the Florida father who jumped on a school bus and confronted the kids who had been allegedly bullying his daughter. I totally get wanting to protect your kid, that’s instinctive. But this man was WAY out of line.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvr38NJG5Bw[/youtube]

The problem here is that everyone was traumatized by James Jones’ shortsighted actions.  When he got on the bus he ordered everybody to sit down. Can you imagine those kids’ confusion as a stranger gets on and usurps the bus driver’s authority? In their heads, they’re thinking, “wait, that’s not how it’s supposed to be.”  Then he yells at his daughter to “show me which ones”, placing her in an untenable situation. She cannot defy her father so she gets up and is forced to point out who she said had been bullying her (worth noting, the father never reported any of this to the school). Jones goes on to threaten them with language that would make a merchant marine blush.  But what are they supposed to do? Here’s this grown-up, a really pissed one at that, cussing and carrying on. It was probably so surreal they had a hard time digesting exactly what was happening…

Then there were the unintended victims; the other kids on the bus who had nothing to do with the alleged bullying but by their proximity are subjected to Jones’ rage. I keep going back to this but we cannot forget these are kids and he is an adult. They have been taught to listen to adults because they are authority figures. Any parent also knows how terribly unsettling it is to kids when adults raise their voices; I can only imagine how terrifying it was for the bystanders. But Jones doesn’t stop there, next directing his anger at the bus driver, whom he also promises to hurt should anything happen to his daughter. Ugh.

There is a part of me that understands this and when I saw Jones interviewed, I felt sorry for him.  He was trying to protect his girl who has cerebral palsy and was going to a new school. As a parent he was sensitive to her transition and when it did not go well, he saw his baby in pain and spring into action. However wrong it was, there’s no denying he did this because he loved and was trying to protect his daughter.

The problem is the mess left in the wake of this outburst. Any parent of a teen or pre-teen knows how important it is for them to fit in. Now his daughter, who reportedly had been on suicide watch because of the bullying, has to go to school with everyone knowing her father went off, half-cocked on some kids. Jones himself has been charged with two misdemeanors and the other kids on the bus have no doubt been affected as well. And ultimately, what kind of example is this for his daughter?

Bullying is a very serious problem and that cannot be stated enough. But shouldn’t Jones have started somewhere else? Perhaps working with the school and if he didn’t get results, contacting the authorities, as the sheriff’s department suggested? Seems to me a whole lot of drama could have been avoided if Jones had thought this out before jumping on that big, yellow bus.

But what do you think? Was Jones justified in his school bus rage? Were you ever bullied or had a kid who’s had to deal with it? What did you do?

15 Comments

  1. Wanda Reese

    September 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    One of my good friends and former colleagues, lost his 14 yr old son–a brilliant, sensitive, kind young man, about to embark on high school to bullies. Matthew took his own life when he couldn’t take the daily abuse any longer. His mom and dad are now on a national campaign to enact legislation in Michigan, “Matt’s Law” to put a stop to this horrendous “rite of passage” in schools and communities across the country. My friend tried to do just that: allow the authorities to handle his son’s bullies—and they did next to nothing about it when he complained/went through the “proper” channels.

  2. Robert Lopez from Fresno CA,

    September 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    My names Robert Lopez I’m a father of four and and a husband in fresno California. I saw your guys News cliping as a father I would have done the same thing but in the manner I wouldn’t want to effect any other children on the bus. I would just want the kids that are bulling my child to be punished. This is where it all starts an example of our laws not working.

  3. M.E. Johnson

    September 18, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Dad could have requested an assembly of all the students (not just 1 class) to talk about bullying in general, and students with disabilities. Great if he could have found a young person a bit older than the students who had been bullied. From experience I can tell you there would have been many many questions. I wish them luck.

  4. skls

    September 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    they should require an additional adult monitor on school buses….it is very difficult to drive a bus and manage kids…my son was being bullied and i had to submit a public info request to even view the tape to see the complete pic of what was going on…after all of that DISD claimed that the recording mechanism was not working…

  5. Rene Syler

    September 19, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    what ultimately happened with the bullying?

  6. Okisweetpea

    September 20, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Wow, I am a little torn on how he handled this. I know I have said it many times, if someone is bullying my child and no one (the adults in the area) is doing anything to stop it then I am going to raise all kinds of……well you know. I would have approached it a little differently though because the kids who were not bullying his daughter was subject to his rage. I understand that when you are protecting your kids, you don’t care who else is there. There are many people that should be held accountable for the bullying of this little girl!

  7. Kevin E.

    September 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    As a parent who has lost a child to “bullycide” I fully understand where Mr. Jone’s heart was. He acted with his heart and not his head. But he acted, many parents ( both the parents of the victim and the bully) do not. Bullying has become a “normalized” part of growing up and it should not be. I don’t condone his actions, but I understand them.

    If they charge the father with anything, and if had compalined to the school, then file charges against the school for negligence in keeping children safe which is a main staple of schools today.

    Sadly if he had been nice, we never would have heard about it and his daughter would still be bullied. Our kids are not the problem. The adults are the problem in how they allow this to continue.

    Be nice it matters and if you See it, or Hear it, Stop It.
    School wide assemblies are a great way to get the message out to everyone at the same time.

  8. Rene Syler

    September 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Oh Kevin, first let me say how truly sorry I am about your loss. Thank you for writing and sharing your perspective. From everything I have read, the father had not made a formal complaint and I guess that’s where I’m concerned. If he had made the complaint and THEN nothing had been done, I might be able to see and understand why he did what he did. I am very worried that not only was his daughter victimized by these silly kids, but the children in the bus, subjected to his screaming, were also now affected. I agree with you, bullying should not be thought of as a normal part of growing up.
    God bless you!

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  10. TeeYoung

    September 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I understand his rage but only wish he had thought with his head and not his heart. I also wish he had reported the situation to the school as well as the bus company. I believe nothing would have come out of his reporting the bulling but at least his rage would have been better understood although still unacceptable. I wish him and his daughter well as they now deal with the upcoming bureaucracy! Now the police will make him out of the bad guy and won’t deal with the bully situation at all. We need a law passed to make bulling a serious crime!

  11. Nita

    September 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    My understanding is that he tried to voice his concerns with the school counselor but had not heard back from them. At that time he only knew his daughter did not want to go to school and was purposely missing the school bus. His wife had been driving her to school. On the day of the confrontation his wife could not drive her to school. His daughter burst into tears when it was time to catch the bus and confided her horrific experiences to her father. His intent was to talk with the bus driver, but his emotions got the best of him.

    I will never understand why some kids get so much enjoyment out of tormenting someone they perceive as weaker or vulnerable. Why wasn’t the video of their bullying pulled and reported to the school administrators or parents? Now the father has a criminal arrest record, the daughter has been hospitalized for stress stemming from the bullying incidents and her tormentors are still laughing and getting pleasure from their cruel actions.

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