Those nasty bullies who tormented an innocent 68-year-old school bus monitor with comments about her weight, sexual acts and family members killing themselves, finally got their due. A one-year suspension from school, time in some type of rehab facility and community service with the elderly.
A one-year suspension is huge. It seems just and appropriate for a bullying offense. But why does it still not feel like it's enough to pay for what they said and how they actually did it? Maybe because it's not. Once you say such terrible, mean, and hurtful things as they did, you can never take them back or make good on them, no matter how harsh the punishment.
Those taunts will live on the Internet and in the heart of poor Karen Klein forever, no matter how many vacations she gets to take or how many days those boys miss school.
The four middle-schoolers apparently waived their right to a hearing. After a week of talking about the incident, which went viral around the world, the school district near Rochester, New York, issued a statement last night on how to deal with the deviants.
In addition to the suspension and community service work, the boys have to go through a bullying prevention program. Usually, being suspended (or expelled) from school does not mean they miss a grade, it just means they attend an alternative type school where they are still required to complete classwork requirements to be able to keep on track with their current grade. But in many districts, it's not nearly the equivalent of instruction they get while attending regular school, and they miss out on all the social and extra-curricular activities as well. So yeah, it's a real blow to a kid.
But whether the boys will "learn their lesson" from this punishment is unclear. It still doesn't seem to bridge to the larger crime of human decency and respect. Nothing really does. There just is no appropriate punishment for what those boys did to Mrs. Klein ("official" punishment, that is).
Do you think the boys got the punishment they deserved?