More grandmas need to video record taunting teens in buses
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More grandmas need to video record taunting teens in buses

Sacramento : CA : USA | Jun 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM PDT
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School bus monitors are powerless to stop the taunting.

Grandmas being taunted on sidewalks and light rail trains are nothing new in Sacramento which has its own share of bullies, usually teenagers to young males in their twenties who for no reason call older women names. It's happened 5 or more times in the past 12 years to one or more Sacramento women, for example, to Mrs. A.H. who's tired of being taunted by teenage boys at public bus stops or on the sidewalks.

Last winter a group of teenage girls sitting at a bus bench yelled to Mrs. A.H., a total stranger to them, "Why are you wearing such a f------thick winter ski jacket? It's not cold outside." But the taunts by middle-school age boys are more frequent, and usually directed at older women walking alone in the street in broad daylight, less directed at clothing worn or style of shoes and boots as girl's taunts are more likely to emphasize....and more physically directed at weight, age, hair, sun umbrellas, and hats, hoping to make the woman respond by crying or cringing. Boy's taunts also include loud yells, shouts, and screams as they pass a pedestrian on the sidewalk, usually an older woman.

It happens usually when the older woman walks alone on the sidewalk or usually is the only person at a bus stop. Taunting never happens when two people or more walk together. And it's a major problem of women who don't drive walking with their personal grocery shopping carts along the side walk to supermarkets. Check out the YouTube video, "Bullied bus monitor receives $403 Grand in online donations in less than a week - Karen Klein."

Ironically, many of these older women taunted by teenage boys are volunteers who help prepare meals for home-based older people. Others visit people in nursing homes and tutor teenagers in literacy. Instead of being rewarded for their senior volunteerism, some of these women are taunted when they walk alone on the street or are seen driving cars. Older women and men need video cameras to record the taunting and verbal abuse.

These cameras could be on the person or in purses or briefcases to be clicked on when teenagers or others start abusive language at a stranger for no apparent reason other than to inflict intimidation. See the YouTube news video interview, on what happened when it was the teenagers, boys ages 12 to 14 who had the video recording of their own abusive language taunting the school bus monitor, a 68-year old woman.

The taunting is worse for women walking alone on the street going to their errands and appointments. For those who still drive, the road range taunting aimed at the elderly increases. But for women riding buses and trains or waiting at bus stops and simply walking on the sidewalk invites loud name-calling taunts from passersby in cars or in person and on bikes, skateboards, and scooters. The most abusive verbal taunting comes from cars turning right as the older woman is in the middle of the street walking with the 'walk' sign flashing.

Usually it happens on the sidewalk near the public bus and light rail train stops. The issue is taunting. And until someone records the taunting and lets the nation know what's happening, it's going to remain as conversation that rarely goes beyond the latest complaints of what happened on the way to local senior centers.

Yesterday's event could have been recorded, but was witnessed by several bystanders at a bus stop on Marconi & Watt when an elderly woman walked in a normal way to cross the street with the light. Along came a speeding car around the corner at the same time she reached the middle of the street.

The car, seemingly impatient, had a type of loud speaker that announced in a loud male voice, "you f-------wh---." The woman too frightened, obviously to look at the driver instead held her ears and held onto her sun hat as the wind gusts blew.

The issue why it was interpreted by the driver as a "cool" thing to do to yell shock words at the white-haired woman, conservatively dressed as she crossed the street to reach the bus stop. It happens frequently, most often young men and teenagers in middle school approaching elderly women, always when they walked alone, but never when two or more people walked together and yelling epithets, vicious names, or names related to being old.

If someone had video recorded the event, it may have gone viral, just like the one in the news. See the AP video and news, " At least $380K raised for bullied NY bus monitor - National News. The older woman in the national bus incident earns only $15,500 a year as a bus monitor and had to work as a bus monitor there for 26 years to make that kind of money, according to the news video, "Father Of Bus Monitor Bully Speaks Out "Apologizes To Karen Klein." And someone set up a Facebook page to raise funds to send the woman on a much needed vacation of a lifetime.

Presently the donations have amounted to more than $400,000 as of June 22, 2012. Also see the sites, Bullied bus monitor receives more than US$400,000 in donations and Bus monitor's pain seen by millions on YouTube, whopping donation. In Sacramento merciless taunting usually happens to older women and some older men working as teaching assistants or teaching aids in middle schools or high schools.

Sometimes it's as innocent as asking an older man his age or calling him pops or old-timer or white hair. With women, the taunting gets more hurtful and age as well as weight-related. Women may be referred to as grandma or 'witch' by middle-school children. It lessens in high school as children's brains develop a sense of empathy which often is lacking in middle-school students, unless they come from a family emphasizing the wisdom of age over the energy of youth.

In the news lately, is the Associated Press video of four seventh-grade boys mercilessly taunting a 68-year-old bus monitor in New York state that went viral has turned the victim into an international fundraising juggernaut and opened her tormentors to an onslaught of threats and abuse.

The result is that from a global perspective, small donations for the 68-year old woman taunted has pulled in a staggering $443,057 by early June 22, 2012, according to the AP article and video. But in Sacramento, most older women taunted has not reached the news, no money has been raised, and most women who encounter taunting by teens don't talk about it outside their home.

On the other hand, since the video mentioned in the news went viral, one boy received more than a thousand death threats. Now, there's no reason to punish the families of the boys with death threats when what they really need is to serve the elderly, if any punishment is to be meted out. They need to do community service with acts of kindness towards older women and men.

Threats only escalate the situation from verbal abuse to physical rage. The boys who taunted the elderly bus monitor should have been raising funds to give her a gift instead. But the boys have never been taught any type of service to the wisdom of age. All they saw was that she reminded them of their own mortality by the fact of her age and white hair.

Verbal abuse by two or more boys in a group is common. But no one is asking why it happened, what made the boys so angry as to put down a woman who they interpreted as having no recourse against them in order to lift themselves up? Were they mad at someone else in control over them and used their anger to take it out on someone they thought wouldn't fight back or defend herself by suing them for the taunting?

Too many incidents of middle-school students attacking older women verbally has happened with too few people speaking up. It happens in Sacramento every time a situation makes a reference to the status of older women.

One example is the calling of older women witches as they walk on the sidewalk. Usually it happens in Sacramento during Halloween when the holiday itself features masks of white-haired women portrayed as witch masks or figurines.

The major problem locally is why there's so much anger directed at older women walking alone in the street, but never in the womens' faces when they are walking with other people.

The video that went viral on YouTube and then in the national and global news shows the 68-year old female bus monitor trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats.

The students obviously knew personal information about the women's family, referring to her oldest son who committed suicide a decade ago and taunting the woman because of it, driving in the point that her son may have not wanted to be near her, which of course is speculation, since the student didn't know the son who died a decade ago when the student obviously was a toddler.

The women begins to cry in the video. Since the video went viral, global support has arisen. The point is awareness. Bullying is not going away no matter how many of these videos are uploaded simply because parents of middle-school students, particularly boys are not teaching them to respect older women and men and not refer to their age when they have to talk to them. In Sacramento older men are tired of being called old-timer by bus drivers as well as teenagers. Older women locally are tired of being passed by cars while they cross the street and having drivers yell epithets at them for no reason when they're obeying all the walk signals.

Bullying is an issue nationally and locally. Can society blame it on the fact that young parents in their thirties and forties don't teach by example that older women are not to be bullied just because they're too weak to defend themselves? Instead of teaching protection for older women, the opposite has happened, where the weak are crushed verbally because many of the older people have slowed down with age and don't have the strength to follow up on taunting. Society may feel shame, but the shame is not extending to middle-school students and young men.

Cruelty exists with teenagers because there is no training in empathy, in walking a mile in the older person's shoes. Women face taunting when young based on their appearance and dress. And the taunting grows more violent and abusive when they grow older. Instead of being whistled at or honked at because of their attractiveness when young, the older women are now being yelled out with abusive speech not directed at their attractiveness, but at how old and spent they look, no matter how they dress or how well-groomed they appear to most people

What causes childhood cruelty to continue into the twenties?

Reality TV and debates can't take all the blame. But you have to admit that reality TV does show cruelty, especially verbal abuse as entertainment. Too many TV shows depict people being humiliated and intimidated. Winning through intimidation is used as entertainment and sometimes in sports.

YouTube is full of images of teenagers intimidating others. There are simply too few videos of middle school students or young men in their twenties caring, sharing, and repairing compared to intimidating. There are opportunities to serve older adults or for young people to build houses, provide clean water, and make life easier in third world countries. But instead, the norm for teenagers in the USA is to watch how people treat one another as entertainment. And most of the time abuse is substituted for getting laughs, especially on shows showing people making human errors or intimidating others.

You see shows such as Caught on Camera and An Idiot Abroad where a human being is chosen as a stooge and intimidated by incidents, events, and situations causing the person to be abused verbally or physically, frightened, potentially put in harm's way or in dangerous situations, or otherwise intimidated or made the butt of abusive types of jokes in the name of seeing the world before you die attitudes.

How you treat others is not emphasized as entertainment for teenagers

How you treat other humans and animals is not emphasized enough. Instead, older people get picked on to be bullied because they have only a short time left on Earth and they scare teenagers into thinking about their own mortality just at a time when teens feel invincible and almost immortal.

Sure, there's criticism of the middle-school student's verbal taunting. Were the boys testing the grandmotherly will power not to pay attention to the taunting bully behavior? Or did the fact that they were ignored and not focused on as the center of attention appear to escalate the verbal abuse?

The woman taunted on the national news did appear on NBC's "Today" show on June 21, 2012. The support received from around the world raised money, supposedly so she could take a vacation and relax after such tension from the taunting. It's not good for an older person's health to have to listen to such verbal abuse from teenagers. After all, the woman taunted in the national news works as a bus monitor riding the school bus with the children and is supposed to be there to make sure the kids are protected. Instead, the tables were turned so the woman had no one to turn to for protection from the jeering. The world did show support in the way of messages and money raised. Interestingly the people contributing money most likely weren't people the same age as the taunting teens. And the helpful letters received were not usually from middle-school students or young boys.

Originally, there was a fundraiser looking for a goal of $5,000, according to various news reports to send the woman on a vacation. But after nearly 21 thousand people had donated by June 21, 2012, in small amounts of under $20, from around the world, that figure rose to nearly $400,000 and counting.

The issue is about bullying and how much older people are expected to not respond to it and to not be sensitive when the young bully the old.The boys had not yet apologized to Klein as of Thursday afternoon, though police said they regretted their acts. The district will pursue disciplinary actions against all four students.

You have one issue about shame with the families of the boys that it was their children who taunted an older woman who was sitting in the back of the bus to protect them, a woman who showed no anger and never replied to there abusive language. She showed no anger at the boys. They may have made tears flow down her cheeks, but she didn't say a word to escalate the verbal abuse.

What strikes the viewer of the video is that there was no older adult who stepped forward to put a stop to the taunting of one older woman in the bus surrounded by all teenagers. The driver has to concentrate on safely navigating traffic. But perhaps more volunteers are needed to ride buses with middle-school students, perhaps young and strong male images who make a point to show by example that older women are there to protect them like loving mothers.

They deserve respect and not verbal taunting. Theses older women who work as bus monitors are there to help a child if the child becomes sick, hurt, or needs protection from the outside world as they are transported to and from school or on field trips. What the boys should have done is a little fundraising themselves to give the bus monitor a gift for patience under pressure.

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Students bully grandmother on bus by middle-school boys age 12 to 14.
AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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