Bus bullies

Emily Peters
07/02/2012

Bus bullies

I was mad and I wanted someone to "pay" for what they did.

I wanted to make sure that those boys who tormented the 68-year-old woman on their school bus in Greece, N.Y., knew how wrong they were.

I wanted them to plead for forgiveness.

This reaction surprised me because I am usually an easy-going kind of a person, live and let live -- not this time. I sat in horror while watching the 10-minute video, "Making the Bus Monitor Cry," that was uploaded to YouTube June 19. With over 7 million views, the video went viral.

Karen Klein, the bus monitor, reminded me of my grandma. In fact, she could have been my grandma, they are both the same age and resemble each other.

That would be my Grandma Anderson. My Grandma Peters would never have allowed anyone to talk to her like that. I have no idea what she would have done, but I am confident she would have handled herself in such a way that she would have taken charge of the situation. Grandma Peters does not make a good victim.

I don’t think there are many people like my Grandma Peters.

My Grandma Anderson would have reacted the same way that Karen Klein acted. She would have sat on the bus while four 13-year-old boys hurled insults at her, called her mean names, taunted her about her weight and clothing, threatened to stab her and urinate on her house. Those taunts were vicious and full of filthy language and Grandma would have "taken" them because in her mind they wouldn’t be half as bad as the insults hurled at Jesus by a vicious crowd and the Roman soldiers.

Grandma Anderson is a good Lutheran woman and as such she would have suffered in silence. Perhaps, like Karen Klein, she would have cried but not overtly.

I could see Grandma taking the money that was donated on her behalf -- over $615,000 has been raised to "send Karen on a vacation" -- and tithing 10 percent to her congregation.

I know that she would also donate additional funds to ELCA Disaster Response and the ELCA Malaria Campaign, two causes that are dear to her heart. She has always taught me and my mom to remember the church in good times and in bad.

Even while a single parent, my mother always set aside a portion of her income for the church because of the example her parents set.

Grandma Anderson takes to heart what Jesus says about "doing to the least of these" in every encounter that she has. She makes it a practice to follow Jesus’ command to "love one another" and lives by it.

I suppose those boys on the bus could have learned much-needed lessons about love and respect from both of my grandmas. They would learn how to respect their elders and people in authority from my Grandma Peters, and how to love from my Grandma Anderson.

I hope someone is taking care of those boys. I know that they have received death threats and harassing phone calls. I take it that there were a lot of people who felt like I did about this situation.

I hope that they see what they did was wrong and not just because they were caught.

In hindsight I do not want them to plead for forgiveness. I want them to know the love of Jesus and to respect all people.

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Emily Peters will be entering her second year of college in the fall. She is a lifelong Lutheran who enjoys working with children.

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