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Bullying Triggers Brutal School Bus Attack

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A disturbing school bus brawl shows just how far bullying brutality can go. Is your kid safe?

It's every parent's worst nightmare -- caught on tape. An Illinois boy was beaten on a school bus by two students as the other passengers cheered and laughed. The victim -- according to an eye witness -- has been picked on at the school for some time. What started this outburst of violence? The victim allegedly pushed one of the boys' book bags on the floor.

The two Belleville West High School kids responsible for the senseless violence have been expelled from the school. The others who sat by and giggled at the beating have been suspended.

The big question on everybody's mind is just what the bus driver was doing as a lone student was pummeled in the back of the bus. In response, school superintendent Dr. Greg Moats said "Any adult who sees any activity on or off campus, we would hope that they would put a stop to it." But they didn't.

There had been speculation that the beating was racially motivated -- the police disagree. "It's not necessarily race-related," said Belleville Police Capt. Don Sax. "It's just bullying and that's where it is."

Sadly, bullying comes in all shapes and forms. Momlogic asked Ross Ellis, founder and chief executive officer of Love Our Children USA, the national nonprofit leader on child violence prevention, for tips on protecting our children.

Kindness starts at home:
"The reality is, any kid can become a bully or be victimized themselves, so it's crucial to take preventative measures now," says Ellis. "Bullying is a learned behavior. So when kids see you criticize others -- 'Can you believe what Jill was wearing?' -- they mimic your actions out in the world. What's more, insecurity usually triggers a bully's behavior. So raising confident and empathetic children will have a twofold effect: Not only will your kids have positive self-esteem, but they'll be more likely to stand up for other kids who are being harassed."

Develop a buddy system:
"It's a fact that bullies rarely strike groups -- they just don't have the guts," says Ellis. "If your child is being harassed, make sure he or she walks around school with a friend, or is within earshot of a teacher." If someone does start bullying your kid, have them look the bully in the eye and say, "I don't like your teasing. Stop it right now." Then they should walk away and report the incident. If the bully pushes, teach your kid not to hit back. "Bullies want a reaction, so if the victim reciprocates, the problem will worsen," says Ross.

Take action: "As tempting as it is to sit down with the troublemaker's parents, don't," says Ellis. "Most parents are defensive toward criticism of their child or are in denial there's even a problem." A better idea: Go to the school directly, and record every incident of harassment. Then ask your school to develop an anti-bullying program and form a watchdog group with other parents. Ellis concludes, "The sad truth is most prevention lies with parents, because most schools just don't take bullying seriously enough."

If your child is being bullied, take action. Check out The Bullying Prevention School of Rights.

next: You Want to Be a WHAT?
32 comments so far | Post a comment now
missfitz September 16, 2009, 12:26 PM

This made me cry.

Pamala September 16, 2009, 1:09 PM

Where was the bus driver!?

Anonymous September 16, 2009, 1:21 PM

Why didn’t the bus driver drive straight to the police dept.? I hope these animals get arrested and the parents of that boy sue the hell out of those punks parents

MotherNature September 16, 2009, 1:43 PM

Black kids beating on a white student- HATE CRIME!!!! Racism at it’s BEST!!! The school, driver (transportation department) and the kids parents involved ALL need to be sued!!!

The police are too afraid to call it racial, but if it was reversed and a group of white students were beating a single black student, you better believe racism would be screamed from the roof tops!

Shocked September 16, 2009, 2:04 PM

Where the hell was the bus driver?!?! I agree MotherNature that had the racial situation been reversed, everyone would be screaming hate crime and racism. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Sharpton would be holding a press conference. These kids should be seriously punished and the school should have some special education on bullying.

Jill September 16, 2009, 2:18 PM

I absolutely agree with MotherNature!!! I hope this makes national news- to draw some attention to bullying and bus safety.

Anonymous September 16, 2009, 2:32 PM

I disagree on the racial aspect of it. And let me note I am a black woman. If the situation was reversed, I would not immediately call it racism either. It’s a simple case of bullying like the article says. That’s all. If it was racial, the bully would have tormented all of the other children on the bus who were not of his skin color. I’m sick of the labelling on both sides. We’re all human. There are bullies of every race just like there are nice people of every race. No difference. I do feel sorry for the young man. I really hate bullies.

Camille September 16, 2009, 2:35 PM

disagree on the racial aspect of it. And let me note I am a black woman. If the situation was reversed, I would not immediately call it racism either. It’s a simple case of bullying. That’s all. Just like the article states. If it was racial, the bully would have tormented all of the other children on the bus who were not of his skin color. I’m sick of the labelling on both sides. We’re all human. There are bullies of every race just like there are nice people of every race. No difference. I do feel sorry for the young man. I really hate bullies.

Concerned September 16, 2009, 2:59 PM

This is abhorrent. I seriously hope this video goes viral to expose the problem. Nice kids do not have enough protection and this needs to stop. Expulsion is not enough punishment, those kids need to be charged with assault and be punished accordingly. Let them go to juvenile detention and see how they manage. I’m so upset.

MrUniteUs September 16, 2009, 4:04 PM

What started this outburst of violence? The victim allegedly pushed one of the boys’ book bags on the floor.

How should a student respond if some pushes a bookbag to their floor?

HMM September 16, 2009, 5:02 PM

From what I read the victim tried to sit on a certain seat and the occupant of that seat did not want him sitting there. I believe the occupant placed his bookbag on the seat to block the victim. Rather than moving to a different seat the victim pushed the bag on the floor. The reaction of the attackers was WAAAAY out of line and shows just how little emapathy or self-control they were taught as children, or tolerance. To believe that it was appropriate to pummel another person with fists is a very good indication of what this person was taught (or learned from observation) AT HOME. This is not so much racial as it is ignorance. For Rush Limbaugh to proclaim this evidence of what America is like “under Obama” is so completely narrow-minded that it makes me want to puke.

BTW, I will NEVER let my kids ride the bus because of what I saw/experienced on the bus when I was a child (40 YEARS AGO). So very little has changed. It makes me cry too. I cannot imagine what heartache the mother of that victim is feeling. Bullies are bottom feeders.

IA Mom & Nurse September 16, 2009, 5:32 PM

This frustrates me to no end. I am saddened to witness the lack of humanity to say the very least. I can only imagine the emotional and physical pain this young man(victim) felt. This makes me want to rescue him from the clutches of evil and from those with lesser conscience. I pray for this young man and others alike. And I pray for the perpetrators and on-lookers whom do not have empathy OR emotional strength (or may be afraid)to help others in need. My heart aches and I feel helpless. I am not too closed minded to think his only occurs on school buses but in other places as well. By the way, my children ride the bus daily……….I feel worried & I will be on full alert! This must not be tolerated…..EVER! C’mon people—-take a stand!

Anonymous September 16, 2009, 10:00 PM

To all of you shouting race…you’ll notice that the ones cheering are a group of boys in the back—of varying racial background. The girls in the front look horrified.

Anonymous September 16, 2009, 10:53 PM

This is just hateful. I cannot believe this like a pack of wild animals. Violence in learned parents wake up.

Insane September 17, 2009, 5:57 AM

Not racially motivated? 2 black kids beating a white kid? HELLOOOOOO!! If it were the other way around this would be on national news! Anyone involved in this should be beated out of school and sent directly to juvie or jail - depending on their age. They are all old enough to know better - they are just wild animals.

Anonymous September 17, 2009, 6:55 AM

Not one of those kids anywhere on the bus looks “horrified”
the situation did not look racially motivated at all but I understand how ppl may feel if the situation were reversed many ppl would overreact and call it so.
This has nothing to do with Obama run country because situations like this have occurred for years and years.
what I would like to know is how are bus drivers trained and educated to deal with these situations? I would like to think the driver could have done more to end the situation but maybe it would turn even uglier and put him at risk.. remember these were not small children, they were highschoolers

Anonymous September 17, 2009, 7:37 AM

This did make national news for being “racially motivated” just as it would be if it were white children beating up a black child. Leave it to adults to boil it down to a racial issue. It’s a group of bullies preying on a child they view as weaker than them. No more no less. It’s scarier to see that it’s not something we can believe happens in certain schools to certain kids. Bullying is every where and it’s despicable.

greg September 17, 2009, 9:27 AM

Bullying is awful regardless of race. However, Cyber Bullying is even more common causing childred to lose self esteem and sometimes lead them to suicide. We can catch most of them now before something bad happens. Check out and see how. It even prevents texting while driving which is the number one cause of teenage death.

Pete September 17, 2009, 9:42 AM

some of the bus drivers are the worst.
my son’s driver never do squat to intervene or take responsibility.
One time one girl was like 5 sec late but she was already at the bus door. The driver still shut the door and waved her goodbye then left without her.

Jennifer  September 17, 2009, 11:56 AM

Had the kids harrassed him in the past for him being white or called him white boy names during the fight, fine racism… I didnt hear that though. And see no racial content, AT ALL! When people fight and their seperate races, or when peple are attacked of another race, its not always a race issue. I keep reading the boy moved his backpack to the floor, and the kid that started the fight was being teased like he was “punkeed” How is that racism. This is bullies at their best. People?keep saying if it were white kids then the media would say its racially motivated. Well, its on the news as racially motivated, and its black kids. So lets all take a stand and speak about this being bullies being bullies! If this was the other the way around, Id say the same thing.

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