Whenever you see a bully, look no further than the parents
by Debra DeAngelo
So, Karen Klein, the sweet grandmother from Greece, New York who was verbally tortured by some vicious little middle school bullies, has enjoyed the sympathy and support of the nation, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars raised through a fundraising website to give her a well-deserved vacation to Disneyland and a nice little retirement nest egg. The boys involved were made to watch the video of their deed, and then ordered to write letters of apology to Klein. Their parents apologized too.
And now everything’s hunky-dory, a horrible wrong has been righted, and we’re all kumbaya about it.
Wrong. So, so wrong.
Consider this excerpt from a story posted on the Detroit Free Press website:
“On Friday, Greece police gave (Klein) apology statements written by some of the boys whose taunting was captured on the video…
‘I feel really bad about what I did,’ wrote Wesley. ‘I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at them.’
Josh wrote: ‘I am so sorry for the way I treated you, When I saw the video, I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again.’
The boys’ parents also apologized.
‘It made me cry to see how cruel my son and the other boys were being to you,’ wrote Wesley’s mother. ‘I am deeply sorry for what my son did. I wish there was some way to make it up to you.’
Luis’ father wrote: ‘We apologize, from the bottom of our hearts, on what happened. We wish this will never happen again, to nobody and from nobody.’
Klein said she isn’t sure she believes the apologies. ‘They were so brief and to-the-point,’ she said.”
Ya think, Mrs. Klein?
She truly is a kind lady, because when I read this story, I was even more furious than when I watched the video of these rotten little beasts poking her, teasing her about her son’s suicide, and talking about what it would be like to stab her with a knife. As tears rolled down her face.
Beyond the forced and transparently insincere thank you letters the boys were clearly forced to write, the reaction of the parents floors me.
Wesley’s mom was in tears over her son’s behavior? Lady, you aren’t the one who should be in tears. It should be your kid who’s in tears, after he’s been grounded for a year, and had his cell phone, video games and iPod taken away until he’s in high school, and has been assigned enough household chores to keep him busy every day, all day, until the anniversary of his little “prank.” And if the chores are done at Klein’s house, all the better.
Luis’ father is so very sorry, and wishes it will never happen again to anybody, eh? Hey, Luis’ father — want to make sure it doesn’t happen again to anybody? Start with your own kid, and make the punishment so severe, so disruptive, so miserable, that your little brat will never even think about treating anyone like this again.
It starts at home. And the “it” is not only the bullying, but the discipline as well. Can’t believe these little monsters did this to someone? Believe it. And if you think it’s an anomaly, you’re naive. This is just one incident, on one day, in one city. Bullying like this goes on every day in every town in America, whether the victim is a senior citizen or some gawky 12-year-old getting picked on by the local bullies until he’s finally so desperate, he hangs himself in his bedroom closet.
And then everyone wrings their hands and furrows their brow, and wonders how this could ever happen. I’ll tell you how: Clueless parents, who don’t recognize that their kids are bullying or being bullied, who shrug off obvious signs or changes in behavior and, worse yet, who make excuses for their kids when teachers and school principals report their children’s misbehavior.
“Oh, my Johnny would never do that! He’s a good boy and he was provoked by the other rotten kids, and you, Mr. Principal, should do something about those other kids, because my son is sweet and perfect and would never do any of those things you said. And if you don’t do something about those other kids, I’m going to report you to the school board!”
Let’s get something straight, parents: It’s not the school’s job to raise your disrespectful, malicious little brats. It’s your job. You are the parent, you are the boss, and you have the ability to make your child’s life a living hell if he or she needs to be taught right from wrong. And don’t even approach the idea that I’m suggesting child abuse, because there’s a world of difference between abusing a child and giving a cold, hard lesson on the relationship between actions and consequences. Moreover, if you aren’t up to the task of raising children after they’ve grown out of cute, cuddly toddlerhood, do us all a favor and don’t breed.
You say you love your kids? Love them enough to show them right from wrong, good from bad, and to teach them how to behave in civilized society. If you don’t do that, Mr. and Mrs. helicopter parents, hovering over your child like he’s the most precious, fragile, gifted creation in the universe who could do no wrong — you are abusing your own child. You’re not teaching him or her how to function in the world.