Why Florida Father of Bus Bullying Victim Was Wrong

Posted by on September 22, 2010

The frustrated father whose daughter was bullied on a Florida school bus was justifiably upset, but wrong in how he approached the issue.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

James Willie Jones made national news this past week when a school bus video captured him yelling at students and the bus driver, and gesturing in anger in frustration aboard the bus.  He believed his daughter, a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy, had been repeatedly harassed on the bus.

Yesterday, Jones apologized for his behavior – Fla. dad sorry for storming school bus, threats:

“At that time, I was a bully. And I apologize again for that,” said Jones. “If you see the tape, I feel like I was backed up against the wall as a parent. I just didn’t know where else to go. We definitely don’t want to promote that.  We don’t want vigilantes going on buses, threatening kids, because kids have rights too.”

Jones, like many parents, was frustrated that efforts to address safety concerns about his daughter were incomplete or unsuccessful. His concern is legitimate.  His methods for dealing with his frustration were inappropriate, however, and actually ended up with him being criminally charged by authorities.

Steps Parents Can Take to Address School Safety Concerns

This is why back in January, I provided some Steps Parents Can Take to Address School Safety Concerns.   Parents don’t know what to do and/or how to do it.  And in most cases, no one is rushing to tell them.

Parents need to follow these steps or similar efforts.  As frustrating as it will be, they also need to recognize incidents may not stop on the first time school administrators address the issue with students. 

Often it requires ongoing monitoring and, unfortunately, revisiting the issue more than once until the matter resolves.  In some of the more extreme cases this could, and often does, take more time than anyone (students or the adults) prefer.

Persistence Pays (Albeit it a Frustrating Process)

Two wrongs don’t make a right, as the saying goes, and parents need to make sure their students’ frustrations, as well as their own frustrations, do not further complicate an already difficult situation.  Being persistent and following the proper process, while sometimes frustrating itself, can lead to the resolution students and parents desire if they take the proper steps to address their safety concerns.

Ken Trump

Visit School Security Blog at:  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

10 thoughts on “Why Florida Father of Bus Bullying Victim Was Wrong

  1. Josephine Keenan says:

    I just watched an interview with the father who boarded the school bus to protect his daughter from being bullied. On the interview this man was accompanied by his attorney, his wife, and his daughter. He said there was no order on the bus, implying that a rowdy situation existed and that the driver had no control over the behavior of the children. He boarded the bus to protect his child, since the driver was incapable of or not interested in maintaining order on the bus. The interview focused on the “guilt” of the father for taking action, rather than on the “guilt” of the driver for tolerating such a situation. Not once during this interview was the point made that if the schools can not control the students and have order on the buses and in the classrooms, somebody outside the schools has to do something, and that “somebody” is obviously the parents. I question your total lack of attention to this side of the issue because recently another of your news reports concerned a boy whose suicide was related to his having been bullied. Isn’t it time the schools restored discipline and order to the buses and classrooms instead of tolerating totally unacceptable behavior? Matt Lauer said we can’t put our children in a protective bubble. Did he mean to imply that children should be taught to respond with violence to bullying? It is totally unacceptable that bullying is tolerated in a school environment.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks for your comments, Josephine. I think many, if not most, people feel for the father as well as his daughter. The issue isn’t one of whether or not the father is warranted in stepping up for his daughter. It is how he approached the manner. Even he subsequently said how he conducted himself was inappropriate. Calling the father’s initial method for responding inappropriate does not negate the inappropriatesness of the abuse of his daugher, nor does it negate his right to defend her. The issue is how he defends her, not whether he should do so. Ken

  2. neida says:

    I do not blame that father at all. Kids go to school and they are bullied from the time they get on the bus till they get home. It has gotten out of control these kids are taking their lives because of bullying. The schools in my opinion are not handling the problem. My son was being hit, called gay, and just being abused in school. If my sons tells, it only gets worse after going to the school several times, I told my son to start hitting back. When he did the teacher had the nerve to tell me that the student he hit would never bully another student. She had known that student for years and he would not hit anyone. I found it funny that my son did not get in trouble over it. When I asked about it the boy had admitted to bullying my son everyday. These kids are being physical and emotionally abused when does it stop. They can not learn because of stress and fear. Bullying has gone for name calling to harassment and abuse. I find it hard that teachers have no idea its going on. As a mother I am afraid to send my kids to school because you never know whats going to happen to them. I am glad that this father did what he did on the bus. He has brought the problem of bullying to attention because most schools bullying polices are not working at all.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks for commenting, Neida. I encourage you to check out my blog post on this site on steps parents can take to address safety concerns with school officials. Persistence pays and there are multiple steps which can be taken if parents are not successful with initial efforts. As far as the father’s actions, see my response below to Josephine. Thanks. Ken

  3. Sue says:

    Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right? Wrong #1, the kids bullied this handicapped girl
    Wrong #2, the school did nothing about it.

    Need I say more?

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks, Sue.

      As I mentioned in my response to Arlene, you may want to note this section of my article:


      The focus of this article was on the conduct of the parent, and that the parent had other more appropriate options to address his legitimate concerns.


  4. Arlene Brown says:

    I have been following the Florida Father, James Jones incident and just read your article regarding how two wrongs don’t make it right. Your article should have said the “Two wrongs didn’t make it right!!” Meaning the two wrongs were the School District and the School Bus Driver, who didn’t make the right decisions!! I, along with many other good parents would have done the same thing to protect our children after the system failed us again. You can google hundreds of comments regarding this situation and read how most people feel about this incident!! The School Boards’ of this country are what is wrong, along with the teachers & teachers unions. And of course, you continue to protect them.

    MY God, this child has cerebral palsy. If you had given an un-biased opinion or better yet given no opinion would have been the correct thing to do. You should have honestly put yourself in this same situation as a loving, concerned parent instead of defending the school and the school bus driver. He didn’t do anything wrong by yelling at the Bullies!! They deserved much more than that, and I would have liked to read about what punishment they and their parents received and would also have liked to see the Bullies and their Parents name Published! Shame on them and you for not commenting on that!

    Quit Protecting School Boards Officials that are not doing their Jobs!! Only then, maybe we can have a good education system with good teachers who can actually educate and teach values to students, instead of the current ones that are allowing the breeding of bullies.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks, Arlene.

      It appears from your comments you may not have understood the message of my blog post. In particular, you may want to note this section of my post:


      I also did not protect school boards. Had I been trying to do so, I would not have said the father’s concern is legitimate (see above).


  5. Kitty J. says:

    Oh yes two wrng can make a right – it can STOP bullying for good. I am old school generation and back then when two people had an ongoing beef, they would put us in a circle and let us dook it out! When we were finished, we better shake hands or else, the “village” would put a strap to our behinds. What I mean by village? The mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, neighbors or anyone of elder status in the neighborhood. Its no wonder we never had problems with bullying like it is today! It is out of control with this generation, and I blame that on lazy parents, school officials who concentrate more on getting a pat on their backs than addressing bullying, and kids who watch violent movies and play violent video games! During our upbringing, JAIL was unheard of and very rare when it came to crimes in our area. SO, tell me again, how was the father wrong?!!

  6. Kitty J. says:

    Oh btw, for those who say the fathr had or should have taken other options – HE DID JUST THAT!! He got no results after numerous attempts! So tell me, is it that school officials are NOT listening or fail to realize that their school has bullies?!!!

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