RENEE ORDWAY

Disturbing video of bullies on bus important to watch

Posted June 22, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.

I assume that what I would like to do to those middle-school boys who assaulted the 68-year-old bus monitor in Greece, N.Y., is illegal in all 50 states.

I assume that some of you at least would also like to get your hands on them.

In case you have missed it, Karen Klein was doing her job as a bus monitor when four seventh-grade boys began verbally attacking her — and, of course, like so many other things today, it was all caught on tape.

It has been all over the network news, but the language is so bad much of it is “bleeped” out.

In order for the full effect, you need to find the video online.

It certainly is enough to cause you to question our future. The future of humanity, that is. It is ugly.

We can only hope that those boys are not in charge.

It has certainly got people talking. Should they be charged criminally? Should they be expelled? Where, by the way, are the parents? Is this depraved behavior normal?

My husband had heard of the incident. He felt what he had heard on the network news was enough. He got it, he said. He didn’t have to actually watch it, he said, to get the idea.

I felt differently.

So, begrudgingly, he watched it — the whole thing — and it became clear that it was painful for him. I was not sympathetic.

“It should be painful,” I said.

It is not necessary for us to watch all things bad and painful and harmful, but it is good for us to watch and see some of them.

This was one of those.

That video has disturbed my days.

I can only hope that it disturbed yours as well.

And if it has, let me provide you with this.

This week, 20 miles down the road in Ellsworth, there are dozens of middle-school kids — demons that they are — having a different experience. They are at the Bangor YMCA’s Leader’s School. They are spending their days learning that their teams are only as strong as the weakest member. They are learning that there is greatness in supporting the runt kid or the chubby kid or the shy kid.

They are learning about empathy, a simple concept, really, but one that somehow seems so elusive.

They are kids who would have stood up on that bus in Greece, N.Y., and said, “Stop!”

They are our bright light when we feel like our world is darkened by the likes of those four boys on that bus.

It is important to remember them, just as it is important to watch that awful video.

It is important to see the badness. To understand it is there. To be ashamed and alarmed. But there are great mentors out there who are teaching our kids great things, and there are great kids carrying that forward.

Many of them are in Ellsworth this week learning values that will change their lives.

I assume that my future and yours will be brighter because of them.

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