Remember James Jones, the Florida father who confronted his daughters’ bullies on a school bus in September?
To some folks, he was just responding to bullying with bullying and to others, he was a hero for standing up for his 12-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy.
Jones, who was arrested for disorderly conduct and disrupting a school activity, has reached a plea agreement that will keep him out of jail, CBS News’ “The Early Show” reports.
Back in September, Jones confronted the middle school students who had allegedly been bullying his daughter. They had reportedly taunted her, spit on her, hit her and even threw condoms at her.
Jones lost his temper and used foul language, saying “I’m gonna (expletive) you up.…this is my daughter, and I will kill the (expletive) who fought her.”
He then told the bus driver, “If anything happens to my daughter I’m going to (expletive) you up and everybody on this (expletive).”
Instead of jail, Jones, who is mandated to attend anger management classes, was sentenced with probation, a $1,300 fine, and community service. If his case had gone to trial and he had been convicted, Jones faced up to four months in jail.
“I don’t ask nobody to go on a bus and use the language that I used in front of children. I’d like to apologize,” Jones said after the incident.
Although he’s sorry about his behavior, Jones told “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith that his actions drew attention to the problem of bullying.
“I wish I could take (it) back, but, at the same time, we woke America up,” Jones said. “Behind the closed doors, we don’t know about the bullying, but, you know, now that it’s out in the forefront, we’re on a mission, at least I’m on a mission. I don’t know what America’s going to do but I’m on a mission.”
He has learned not to use anger to address bullying. “I was a bully at the same time, and I don’t want to promote bullying. … I should have handled it another way but, at the same time, to see my daughter was going to be in the situation, it was not going to be healthy for her.”
Jones’ daughter, who was on suicide watch after the incident, is now being homeschooled.
Jones said he hopes the situation draws attention to the problem of bullying.
“My heart goes out to all the parents that have to deal with bullies and the parents who have a bully in their household. And everybody needs to be aware of this,” he said, adding that he hasn’t heard from the parents of any of the alleged bullies, who harassed his daughter.
Jones hopes that his experience will help inspire others. “I learned that, you know, if one person can spark a fire then we know we can get people to be aware of what’s going on out here.”
Meanwhile, there’s no news on whether Jones’ daughter’s bullies are being prosecuted.
Do you think Jones is a hero? Is his sentence fair?
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