Today’s Opinion: Trouble on the horizon

POSTED: 05/12/11 1:02 PM

What is wrong with our teenage students? The impression one gets from the court case involving a seventeen-year-old who managed to hit a school bus driver in such a way that the man suffered a broken jaw is that anything goes. Worse, it gives the impression that all students are bad. That, we know for sure, is not the case.

But the young man who was in court yesterday has a lot to learn about stuff like responsible behavior, about anger management and about civility.

Fancy that, the bus driver told the young man to sit down instead of standing up in a driving bus. The student claimed there was nowhere to sit (though whether this was true or not did not become clear). This single remark from the bus driver, who is supposed to be the authority on his school bus, made the young student somehow furious.

So he brooded and brooded until the bus arrived in Cole Bay where he would get off. Then he walked up to the bus driver and hit him. Once, the student claimed. Six times, the court ruled. The result: a broken jaw for the bus driver.

Was the student sorry for what he had done?

Well, let’s say. He said he was sorry. He even made a public apology to the bus driver in court, after his attorney pressed him to do so. But he did not mean a word of what he said.

When the judge asked him during the proceedings whether he was sorry the young man was quick to acknowledge that this was so. But why was he sorry? Not because he broke the bus driver’s jaw. Not because his behavior was totally out of line.

No, the student said he was sorry because he had been locked up. He was sorry because he would get a criminal record. And because of that, he would not be able to find a job.

For the time being that is the least of his worries, because the court took care of his summer vacation by imposing 180 hours of community service. That means cleaning the streets in the hot sun for eight hours a day. And at the end of each of the 22 odd days he will have to work for the community his only pay will be the realization that he has given back something in exchange for something he should not have done in the first place.

We have to give it to his mom, who was also in court. When she left the court room she shook hands with the bus driver and apologized again for her son’s behavior. But the boy walked straight passed him. Mark our words, there is more trouble on the horizon with this kid.

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