Treatment of School Bus Monitor by Middle School Students is a Disturbing Example of What Happens When School Discipline Breaks Down

A viral ten minute video from New York is helping Americans understand just how terribly some students can treat school staff.  Students from Athena Middle School were caught on camera saying truly horrible things to 68 year-old Karen Huff Klein who is a school bus monitor who has served her school district for 20 years.  The students used vulgar language, called her fat and made fun of her because one of her children had committed suicide.  One student made a reference to what would happen if he cut her with a knife.

In a live interview on Fox News this morning, Ms. Klein learned that a blogger has raised more than $120,000 from donors trying to raise enough money so she can retire or take a nice vacation.  Ms. Klein stated that she has received countless e-mails from people all over the world expressing shock at the actions of the students and support for her.  She said that she has been touched by the number of students who have e-mailed her from other regions.  She also stated that none of the parents of the students involved has apologized for the actions of their children thus far.

Though I am generally slow to form a final opinion from any video segment because video clips do not always present a complete picture, the insults by the students in this instance are truly horrible and painful to listen to.  I hope more people will begin to understand why it can be so difficult to attract and retain quality school employees such as school bus drivers and monitors when discipline approaches of schools are ineffective.  

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.