Yeah, I'm talking about the kids in Rochester, NY, who ganged up on and ridiculed the bus monitor until she cried. And, yeah -- I did, in fact, mean to call those children animals.
I've seen a lot of focus on the fact that these kids are being disrespectful to someone older -- a grandmother, it's pointed out. That fact does make this seem extra-disgusting. But the main problem is not, in my opinion, that Ms. Klein is a grandmother. The main problem is that she's human, and these kids are being abusive. It would be abusive no matter what age the abused. I love it that Matt Lauer is so angry about this. To be honest, I don't think it was necessarily a good thing for someone on YouTube to put the kids' names on blast, but I'm glad someone did. But the collective anger of the viewing public won't fix this, and I have a hard time believing that anyone cruel enough to participate in this has the decency to be properly humiliated by his or her participation being made public. They did, after all, have one of their peers record it, presumably to show off. Lauer wanted to know if they'd apologized. My guess would be that, if they're sorry for anything, they're sorry they got caught and reprimanded.
School officials promise that their parents have promised to "punish" them. But what sort of "punishment" do people presume is appropriate for this? Yes, I'd like to know that they got grounded, because it hurts me to think that these little shits won't face any consequences for being little shits. But grounding them won't make them better people. Wouldn't it be better for school officials to to promise that the parents have actually taken responsibility for re-socializing the animals they've raised into decent human beings?
And, yes -- I know that that they're young and immature, and that kids do all sorts of things when they're away from parental supervision. But does a well-socialized child actually go full-on Lord of the Flies with no more provocation than a ride on the school bus? They are young. They are immature. They are also cruel, and people don't really just grow out of that. They just grow more strategic about displaying it.