No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Who's to blame?

So this problem keeps coming up here every now and again, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I used to work with developmentally disabled people when I was a nurse so I suppose they hold a special place in my heart. Here's our issue: The Special Ed. buses don't have monitors assigned to watch over the passengers while the driver drives -leaving these kids to fend for themselves against each other. Problem is, some amongst them have predatory behavior. So time and again we hear about one kid or another who's been sexually molested in one way or another while riding home on the bus. The latest case is that of alleged perpetrator Kolby Harris.
This 19 year old kid allegedly coerced another
developmentally disabled 9 year old, Gilbert, into performing oral sex acts while on the school bus. The bus driver was the only supervising authority and was busy driving. Many, including Kolby's mom, are blaming the Metro school system. They say Kolby is a victim here too. This due to the fact that "in January 2005, Kolby had been accused of exposing himself and attempting to compel another young boy named 'Jack' to engage in oral sex on a school bus."
After this tragic event, school officials determined that
Kolby needed to have a bus monitor assigned to him. According to Kolby's mom, that lasted for only 6 weeks.
She feels that the school is to blame.
But who carries the brunt of the responsibility for this child who
apparently can not be held accountable for his own actions?
The legal system holds parents accountable for a child's truancy, sending them to jail or to do community service when they can't or won't make their kid go to school.
What about
Kolby's mom? Shouldn't she be accountable for the monitoring that was deemed necessary? If she could not provide him with a full time monitor in order to protect the other students from her child, shouldn't she keep him at home, safely away from those he may harm? And since she failed to do either, isn't she the one that would more to blame for the matter than the school since no one wants to place the blame directly on the source?

5 cookies cracked:

KLee said...

I find this trend so alarming -- let's blame EVERYONE else! As an educator, I can't tell you how much of our day we spend on things that *should have* been learned at home, whether it be tying shoes, manners, or "if you pee on the floor accidentally, WIPE IT UP!" I do have some sympathy with the bus driver, because he or she cannot physically drive the bus and monitor the students. It sounds like the district fell down by not keeping a monitor with the child who desperately needed one.

We had a situation here in my neck of the woods not long ago where some miscreants who'd just gotten off a bus threw a large rock back into the window, and the rock hit a 12 year old girl so hard that it fractured bones in her face. She spent quite a while in the hospital.

Sadly, behaviors like this are now not as random and few and far between as they used to be.

No More Empty Fortune Cookies said...

KLee- Lack of personal accountability for one's own actions is surely going to be the downfall of our society.
I agree with you 100%, this trend is alarming! I feel for the bus driver too, he or she can not keep eyes on the road and on the passengers. I do not let the authorities within Metro off the hook completely, sure, they knew of the issue and failed to issue the monitor to this student. However, I still feel that the mother, knowing her son better than a "suit" on the Board of Edu. does, had more of a responsibility towards the other students to establish some safe boundaries and keep her son away from them. Maybe she needed to adjust her work schedule to accommodate being his transportation to and from school. This is a multi-layered failure, in my opinion. With a 9 year old, developmentally disabled child suffering the tragic repercussions of a "Don't blame me" society.

Karen said...

That story is so horrible. But I would not blame the mother. If her son was allowed to ride the bus and that was deemed "safe" by the school, I cannot blame her for sending her child to school. Clearly the kid needs help. I don't know the solution, but he shouldn't be around other children.

I just cannot blame a parent for having a child with mental or emotional disability. A behavioral problem, like truancy, is different.

Just my 2 cents.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Boy those are some tough questions but there is no doubt that innocent children should be protected.

No More Empty Fortune Cookies said...

Karen- Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I blame her for having a child with a disability. That is far from what I mean. My point is, she stated that she was aware that he had sexually predatory behavior, and in fact, had been in trouble two years prior for an incident that was almost identical to this one. Since his behavior was repetitious and was known about, I think she houses some responsibility for placing him in the reach of children that he has demonstrated the capacity and willingness and ideation for preying upon.

Absolutely- innocent children need to be protected. Sadly, that has been forgotten about here where it seems that everyone was only concerned with this predatory sex offender getting a public education.