The new "poster child" for a bully victim in America is, wait for it, not a helpless small child, robbed of lunch money by the schoolyard ruffian, but an adult entrusted with supervising them.
The Internet watched 68-year-old Karen Klein, who was charged with "monitoring" bused children in the town of Greece, N.Y., dissolve in tears to the taunts of her 13-year-old charges.
Klein's failure to fend off the feral children was captured on YouTube
by her tormentors, students at the Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester.
To the sight of a feeble adult, who occupies two seats on the vehicle she's supposed to supervise; too fat to budge and too powerless to perform the task for which she is being paid—the Internet erupted in cheers. Klein was quickly catapulted to fame for her, yes, courage.
"God bless, you are my hero," effused a woman with the handle "Marykate," in an online post.
Charitably put, Klein has not advanced adulthood in infantile America.
Nevertheless, Klein's coffers filled up fast. She is now $650,000 richer and plans to make a pilgrimage to the Mecca of maturity: Disneyland. The trip appears to be mediated by Anderson Cooper, CNN's Alpha female. Expect Klein to cameo at the 2012 CNN Heroes
extravaganza, where Cooper chooses the nation's role models.
In defense of the wolverines who preyed on Klein, how is an adult such as herself to command their respect? From whom are these fiends, out on a wilding spree, expected to learn a lesson? From Supervisor Klein, who was not adult enough to holler for help? Klein lacked the wherewithal to ask the bus driver to stop the bus and set the kids straight, then and there.
Or, perhaps the bus drive is another fearful fatty, who was unable to dislodge herself from her seat? Perhaps the two live in fear of potential law suits, lodged by the parents who sire these good-for-nothing seventh graders? So far there is only the promise of punishment.
"Punishment will come," promised Roger Boily, of Greece's Board of Education, and a former Town Supervisor. It shows you how much Boily knows about education.
If bad behavior is to be extinguished, the punishment that follows must be swift and proportionate. Natural order
is not predicated on state-enacted laws. The natural order that has worked throughout the ages to tame young terrors is predicated on hierarchy; on the preservation of clear, never-to-be-blurred boundaries between adults and kids. These boundaries were once upheld in-house—in the principal's office, the home and the church.
Natural order is at odds with the bureaucrat's anti-bullying edicts. Sovereign citizens do not relinquish their authority to Managerial-State busy bodies. For these are the forces that usurp families and institutions of faith; who underwrite the pop-science that "explains" misbehavior, and produces the instruments to tame it.
Learned and legislated helplessness: that's what Klein suffers from.
A society that helps this situation develop is one in which kids have been raised as equals; pals to be pleased and placated. Adulated, accorded privileges and powers they're not entitled to, and praise they have not earned—this is the royal jelly on which America's children are brought-up.
It is not too late to shame Klein's assailants at Assembly. But so too must the "monitor" and her kind be relieved of positions of authority. Klein commands no respect. She is better suited to giving sponge baths to the elderly.
Restore old-fashioned discipline to classrooms and school buses. Better still: Drain the septic tank that is our federalized education system, and with it the auxiliary personnel that infest the schools and feed off a dwindling tax base. There is now one non-teaching adult for every eight or nine children.
Let the little rotters take the regular bus, where, for similar misconduct, they will be set upon and taught a lesson by civilians (society's good Samaritans). Or leave it up to parents to deliver their progeny to school, much as they had done before you and I were coopted into paying for the joy ride on the Yellow Jail Bus.
Revive the value of seasoned, stoical masculinity in education. Men in authority are now a threatened minority. Again, and in defense of the pack that piled on Klein, America's progressive schools are overrun by ineffectual females. This feminized, cloistered world is the perfect breeding ground for bullies in the making.
School is out for summer. But adults have been AWOL in America for a lot longer.