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Dad Threatens Bullies. What Would You Do?

By paulabernstein |

bullies

Dad Threatens Daughter's Bullies

As any parent of a child who has been bullied knows, it’s heart-wrenching learning that your child is being taunted and teased.

And it’s downright scary when they’re being threatened and there’s little you can do to protect them. I imagine it’s even more upsetting when your child has special needs.

After his daughter was bullied, one Florida dad took matters into his own hands and was arrested.

It’s clear he took things too far, but given the situation, I can hardly blame him for losing his temper.

James Jones, the father of an 11-year-old Florida girl who has cerebral palsy, stepped onto a school bus yesterday and confronted the middle school students who had allegedly been bullying her, according to ABC News.

Sure, he lost his cool. But wouldn’t you?

The bullies have reportedly been taunting Jones’ daughter, hitting her and even throwing condoms at her.

Not surprisingly, Jones had a hard time controlling his anger and used foul language.

“I’m gonna (expletive) you up.…this is my daughter, and I will kill the (expletive) who fought her,” Jones said, addressing the students and the bus driver. “If anything happens to my daughter I’m going to (expletive) you up and everybody on this (expletive).”

Jones dared the bus driver to call the police, saying his brother is the deputy sheriff. In fact, school officials did call the police, who arrested Jones for disorderly conduct and disrupting a school activity.

After being released on bail, Jones defended his actions, saying, ”My daughter is not going to be hazed and beat up and touched on like what they’ve done, ok.”

Jones’ attorney, Sadiki Alexander, said that the father was doing his best to protect his daughter, who has been bullied since the first day of school.

“This is a new school for her. It was an overwhelming experience,” said Alexander. ”She’s currently on suicide watch because of this matter. So we would just ask everyone to reserve judgment.”

Police are looking into the allegations against the 7th grade bullies. Let’s hope they get what’s coming to them.

What do you think? Did Jones go too far? Watch the video and decide for yourself.

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video: ABC News

photo: flickr/Chesi – Fotos CC / Pimkie

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About paulabernstein

paulabernstein

paulabernstein

Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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58 thoughts on “Dad Threatens Bullies. What Would You Do?

  1. Gretchen Powers says:

    Good for him. Mama’s afraid for her bully son? She doesn’t talk to him like that or threaten him like that? Well, maybe she should. This guy didn’t lay a hand on any of them…and for that they are lucky. Hopefully he put enough fear in them so he won’t have to seriously do a beat down later.

  2. goddess says:

    There is a special place in hell for those who bully disabled children. While I cannot justify hi sactions, I can understand them, empathize with him- and even applaud him. He did NOT physically accost them, and I do not consider it *bullying*. It was a warning. I had a child with sever cerebral palsy, and if anyone would have laid a FINGER on him, I am pretty sure I would have physically assaulted them and taken the consequences for it.

  3. TC says:

    While I cannot stand by the way he did it, I completely understand the why. And, I wouldn’t prosecute him. He threatened them in pretty much a tamer matter than what they’ve been doing to this poor girl. Seriously, they’re throwing condoms at her and beating her up? I don’t think I’d have refrained myself if it were one of my kids, either. :(

  4. Anonimon says:

    What he did was wrong. I understand being angry, but he is an adult and sinking to the level of the bully only shows kids that the loudest and scariest person wins. It also shows his daughter that the only defense that works, becoming more of a bully than the bully, is how to be safe. It is a course of action that she is incapable of because of her disability. Therefore he is inadvertently teaching her that she can never take of herself because she can not storm the bus like her dad. The school should be held accountable for not protecting this child, the bullies should be taken to task over their behavior, but likewise, the father should be reprimanded for his reaction as well. I can certainly understand his reaction, but that doesn’t make it right.

  5. laura says:

    This made me want to cry. I taught in an inner-city school and it wasn’t unheard of for parents to come to the school to confront kids and/or kids’ parents. It was usually sad because the confrontation was often inspired by petty/childish activity. I was expecting something along those lines.

    I had a student with cerebral palsy and I never once saw anyone bully him. If I did, I can’t even describe how angry and upset I would be. I totally understand the father’s rage, and a part of me is glad his daughter saw someone standing up for her. Was it the best way to deal with it? Of course there were probably less police-involving responses. But the mom of one of the bullies saying she is upset her son is afraid to get on the bus, does she not even see the irony in that statement? Mygod, this whole thing is so depressing.

  6. Manjari says:

    Obviously he didn’t handle it the way he should have, but I completely understand his anger. I hope those little shits have to deal with some serious consequences for their bullying.

  7. Huh? says:

    Why was this happening at all? Why did kids think this was OK, why didn’t an adult notice this and stop it? It never should have gotten to the point where a grown man feels like he needs to threaten kids to protect his child. I don’t blame him, but it never should have gotten there. And I second Manjari’s sentiment. There’s bullying, and then there’s this. There’s no excuse for this. Those kids need suspension and counseling.

  8. bob says:

    This guy isn’t some kind of hero. I can relate to the impulse and I’m not sure I wouldn’t give in to it myself in some way. But that doesn’t mean I condone his behavior. He may have made his daughter a bigger target for future bullying and ridicule of the “where’s your daddy now” variety. In any case, he stooped to the level of the child bullies, invaded the bus filled with (cornered) children and made physical threats. To not prosecute gives the impression — even for the child bullies whom he confronted — that bullying is okay, if you’re the biggest bully.

  9. g8grl says:

    He’s not bullying, he’s protecting and they don’t need to worry about him if they leave his daughter alone. As long as he didn’t lay a finger on anyone, I say he’s good. I’m sure his daughter feels fine that she has a father that loves her enough to stand up for her. Sometimes you have to speak in a language that bullies understand.

  10. goddess says:

    Exactly!

  11. From Virginia says:

    This white boy from Virginia will gladly stand behind this black father and help him any way I can. He has every right to be outraged, the school bus and school district are the ones at fault here. Shame on the deadbeat parents who let their trashy kids taunt and tease a child with cerebral palsy. You go pops!, I stand with you.

  12. Tammy says:

    Thanks to these little asshole bullies, the girl is now suicidal. Way to go school, for not defending those that need the most protection. I have a son with special needs, and I guarantee you that I probably would have done the same thing.

  13. Citizen Mom says:

    Wait, they have video cameras on the bus? I bet they also have them in school. I’d tell the school I’m getting a lawyer and they need to get those tapes together. Then I’d inform them that they are legally responsible for my child’s safety during school hours and that since they seem to be incapable of keeping my child safe, I’ll be suing to have them pay for private schooling. Then I’d tell them that I’m going to the local news and the school board. I used to teach and know from teacher lounge talk that schools really really do not like legal problems and fear bad press like the plague. He can also look into whether those bullies’ parents can be held legally responsible.
    I understand what this father did, but only when we push through legal channels to hold schools and parents accountable will the students responsible be held accountable, and in the process help get real changes made that benefit any student being bullied.
    All too often, people in education just wish the victim would stand up for him/herself and make the problem go away.

  14. Equalitylaw says:

    The father was understandibly angry. The bus driver has responsibility for the children riding the bus and their conduct while aboard. That is why they have monitoring mirrors and a telephone etc. The driver should have informed the students harassing this young girl that they would not be allowed to ride the bus to school anymore if any harassment took place. The School District should back up such actions too! I am quite sure the parents of the bullies would take corrective action immediately if they had to start driving their kids to school everyday!

  15. Bec says:

    He lost his temper and used language harsher than he ought to, but I don’t think he was bullying or abusive. That was discipline, something those kids clearly needed. Like laura, I’m glad that his daughter got to see that SOMEONE cares how she’s treated, since the school and the bus driver were looking the other way.

    I wish news stories like this would go further than “the police say this was the wrong way to respond”. So what was the right way? Bullying stories are in the news practically every day, and too often they end in suicide or assault. Obviously parents need an appropriate response; shouting isn’t it, but at least no one got hurt.

  16. bob says:

    He made both conditional and non-conditional physical threats while standing in a domineering position in the aisle above of the bus full of children, directing his threats at whomever his daughter chose to finger. It’s bullying, it’s vigilantism, it’s disorderly conduct, it’s immature and it’s likely to escalate to larger disruptions.

  17. Rosana says:

    I don’t think that I would have gone in the bus and threatened everybody in general but I would have found the main bully and would have threatened him the same way in a dark alley to scare the living hell out of him so he would leave my kid alone.
    I do not know what the school can really do to protect his daughter, realistically, so I can understand completely his desperate reaction towards the situation.

  18. bob says:

    Do we know whether he took any action at all, or notified anyone, or whether his daughter did, before the dad resorted to this tactic?

  19. Madplanner says:

    Bullies can suck it. Kudos to dad for sticking up for his daughter. We adults lose our tempers sometimes, but these little bully kids need to know there are consequences for their actions. Absolutely and in a perfect world, he shouldn’t have threatened to kill them (and anyone else on the bus) but geesh, it’s terribly heartbreaking and angering to have any child bullied, much less one with disabilities. At least he’s checked in and sticking up for his daughter. Those bullies need to get disciplined and go to counseling.

  20. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    For the bully’s mom who was so concerned that her son was afraid to ride the bus after being threatened by the girl’s father… maybe she should be more concerned that her son is an up and coming little hellion.

  21. man says:

    This situation got out of control, to be sure. But if he already sent his concerns to the appropriate persons, and they did nothing, what then are the options remaining? Vigilantism, do nothing, what? What he did wasn’t exactly genius caliber, but he didn’t lay his hands on anyone. Those kids didn’t even understand how seriously angry he was, they saw that he wasn’t going to hit them, and they laughed. Disgusting. For some of these children, I have no doubt that as grown ups or teen agers, they will have to be stopped by the use of force or incarceration, possibly even death at the hands of some cop or armed homeowner. This entire situation is tragic from nearly every angle.

  22. Whit says:

    I’ve got no problem with this guy or what he did.

  23. TeaPartySon says:

    Please all understand that there are appropriate channels that appear to exist and simply do not work! Be the Father!! His daughter is scared and suicidal and he tried what he thought was the best way. If you did not come from the streets you can in no way understand his frustration at how things just don’t work! this is his daughter! Man and Woman both have a dream for their kids and their protection knows no bounds, we also all have built into us either thru heredity or environment the way to handle a situation. The street we all live on or grew up in is different and we all handle family protection in different ways but the final say of our family must up to us and not to government unless law is broken. He did it wrong that is common sense and even he knows that if you listen to him but everything that makes a change is wrong in one way or another. Let us forgive him after we walk in his shoes and come together as Americans and support him for supporting his family because in the end that is the dream to leave the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our Posterity. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

  24. anniet says:

    Right on Dad! I might have subtracted the foul language and threats but kept the rage and intimidation. As someone mentioned above, there’s a special place in hell for those who bully special needs kids. That poor girl is on suicide watch. It breaks my heart.

  25. Kathy says:

    I can’t say I blame this parent…not sure I would have taken the same action but I do understand. I drive a school bus. You CANNOT expect a driver to know that someone is being bullied. You want the driver to be looking at the road…not the inside of the bus. These buses hold 70+ children. Even if the driver did see something going on and brought it to the attention of school admin, it doesn’t mean the driver can do anything more. I can write a child up, assign seats, and speak to the child…that is it. I cannot refuse to transport a child. I have to wait for the school to discipline. My hands are tied. I have had issues on my bus that I didn’t know about until a parent approached me because the affected child didn’t tell me. I can only do so much…and I don’t have super hearing to hear most things that are said on the bus. When I do find out about bullying or teasing, I do what I can…but without the support of the schools and parents….I can only do so much.

  26. A dad says:

    I’m not saying it was the best thing to do at that moment, but I totally understand it. If I found out that someone had been treating my daughter like that, I’d probably come unglued too. In fact, I think he showed more restraint than he’s getting credit for.

    Comments by Laura, Madplanner, and Man sum up the problem nicely. Good thinking.

  27. samantha says:

    The father should get a medal for what he did. He could of talked to the kids parents and they would have done nothing, same with the police. I wish more parents stood up for there kids and cared about them. Those boys have no respect for anyone and the mothers of those bullies dont care. There too busy being angry with the father who threatened there kids instead of what there son or sons did to that poor girl. I think that is more of a bad parent than what that father did.

  28. Elijah says:

    This man is a hero for stepping up for his child. I completly understand why he said what he said and I do not blame him I would go about it a different way but when little bullies and picking on your daughter who has a disablity and continues to pick and pick tempers wll flare. I look up to this man for finally stepping up unlike many parents do like the bullies mom. if anything she should be disipling her child teaching him a lesson. This story really hurts me. To punish a man for protecting his daughter is pure stupidity and something has to be done about those bullies.

  29. saniity says:

    We need more parents to stand up to bullying in schools. School is a living hell for child victims.

  30. Tom says:

    ALL SUPPORTERS!

    I’m with everybody that supports the father against these idiot bully kids. Posting comments won’t do anything. I was trying to think of what can generate some actual good. One very good way to show a big F.U. to those kids and the school board that did nothing is to:

    Help the father repay the bond he had to post to get out of jail (think it was $2000). Can someone setup a public website, and everyone just needs to put in $1 or $5? Seems enough people are supportive. (Just need to make sure money gets to the guy) I’m in. That’ll send a message about public support.

  31. California Mom says:

    Way to go dad! If my daughter was being subjected to bullying, you bet I’d be storming that bus too. And I’m not sure, given that kind of anger and need to protect your child, that it would occur to me to go to the authorities first. My first instinct would be to get on that bus and scare the living shit out of those punks. THEN, I would get an attorney and sue the shit out of the school for allowing it. Bullying in this country has got to stop. And it’s clear from the numerous suicides that have already happened, the schools are NOT doing much about it. So, way to go dad! You did what any loving parent would do, made your point loud and clear, and for that I respect YOU!

  32. Linda says:

    I want to know who is raising these kids in to the sort of asshats who would bully a kid with cerebral palsy. I think those parents ought to be arrested!

  33. Gean says:

    I know where he is coming from but he needs to take this step by step. Get your daughter off that bus first. Then go to school officials with your complaints. When they ignore them – which they seem to be inclined to do – go to the school superintendent. When the superintendent ignores it go to the local press. This avoids having one of the boys go find his ‘uncle’ who has a pistol. You want your daughter protected, not the father being retaliated against. The daughter’s welfare is paramount.

  34. texas aunt says:

    There goes the double standards again. He did just what I would have done.

    Had he been caucasian it may not have even been published, and if it would have, it would have shown him as just protecting his child.
    I don’t have children but I do have a nephew and a neice I would go to any length for. Kids can be very cruel. Had he been caucasian it wouldn’t be an issue. I have a neice and a nephew and I would go to any length to defend them from buillies. I say “you go dad” and “RIGHT ON!

  35. bob says:

    Everyone hates a bullying until it’s bullying for a good cause. So, we’re not actually against bullying, it turns out. We’re just against bullying good people.
    .
    If you’re going to profess a principle, you have to stick to it. Otherwise it’s not a principle, it’s just a convenient justification for doing whatever it is you want to do.

  36. L says:

    I agree with Bob. The answer to stopping bullying is not using more bullying.

  37. puasamanda says:

    @bob – I have always, always agreed with just about everything I see you post on this site, but this time, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think that one instance of threatening and posturing (even an extreme statement, like “I’ll kill you!”) is actually “bullying.” Aggressive, yes…appropriate, hardly. But bullying? No. Everyone gets angry, gets into fights (verbal or otherwise), has confrontations, etc…calling someone (adult OR child) a bully for reacting violently to aggression against themselves or someone else ONE TIME is not really accurate. Bullying is a systematic, ongoing, repeated act. Like what these horrid children were doing to this guy’s daughter. They are bullies – he is just really, really pissed off. I don’t think he handled it exactly the way he probably should have, but I don’t think he is “bullying,” either. So, he can rest easy in his principles. No, two wrongs don’t make a right, but an isolated incident of violence or aggression doesn’t make him a bully.

  38. Bruce says:

    This father had no choice;the school was not fullfilling it’s responsibility to protect kids riding in THEIR school buses. If I were the father, I would sue the school district and drag the videos the school has of the kids bullying his child into open court and shame these administrators AND the police into doing the RIGHT thing and going after the REAL bullies.
    Those people who think the Father should have tolerated this bullying are out of their trees.

  39. goddess says:

    I think the term “bully” is bandied abnout waaaay too much. They list, as bullying behavior: “Excluding a child from a group or activity.” Um, there had BETTER be some kids my kids exclude- based on the fact they ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ASSOCIATE WITH THEM per MY rules! The defining factors fo bullying is becoming too broad and thus dilutes a very real problem. So when mom and dad drop the ball and a village elder steps in, HE is the bully?

  40. [...] Dad Threatens Bullies. What Would You Do? [...]

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  42. bob says:

    Under the right circumstances, I might kill a man I find in bed with my wife. I think I could such an understand the impulse in the heat of the moment, and I would be inclined to be more lenient in such a case than, say, the calculated murder of a business rival. But that doesn’t mean I condone killing in either case, or that manslaughter should not be punished. Likewise, my objection to this father’s action does not hinge on the definition of bullying. Leaving alone the fact that he went to far by making death threats, it appears likely to me that confronting the kids on the bus was his first response to what he was told by his daughter was happening, not a desperate last resort after running out all his better options. That’s why I called it vigilantism and why I’m not saying “Go Dad”.
    .
    Regarding bullying: Many of the people responding positively here are doing so on the basis that he “spoke in a language bullies understand” or otherwise applauding him for behaving in a physically threatening manner because the kids deserved it. To the extent that they may be cheering him on for using a bully’s tactic, I am objecting.
    .
    What surprises me most about all this is the willingness of many to look past the fact that Mr Jones climbed aboard a school bus, threatening all the children on it, some of whom with death, and all at the word of one child (however sympathetic). I am profoundly uncomfortable with supporting the right of angry adult men to board a school bus with my kid aboard and start making heated threats of violence, regardless of their justification.

  43. Manjari says:

    I agree with you, bob, that this father’s reaction was wrong but understandable. I can relate to and sympathize with him even though I don’t think he handled the situation the right way. Sometimes as parents our protectiveness of our children can be stronger than rational thinking. And although he wasn’t right (for example, there were children on that bus who weren’t involved in the bullying who were probably scared by him and shouldn’t have been exposed to that language), I am less outraged by his reaction than I am by the bullying that took place first.

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  48. carol maier says:

    Comment THIS DAD DOES NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE. I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME OR WORSE. WHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO START STANDING UP FOR WHATS RIGHT. WHY SHOULD HIS CHILD BE TORTURED BY OTHER CHILDREN WHO DONT KNOW HOW TO ACT OR HOW TO BE OUT IN SOCIETY. IF ANY OF THESE PARENTS HAD ANY COMMON DECIENCY, THEY SHOULD BE APOLOGIZING TO HIM AND HIS DAUGHTER, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. IN ADDITION I WOULD FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE SCHOOL FOR FAILURE TO PROTECT HIS CHILD, CHILD ABUSE AND FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE HANDICAPP. I THINK HE WOULD HAVE A VERY GOOD CASE. HE AND HIS DAUGHTER IS THE VICTUM HERE, NOT THE OUT OF CONTROL BULLYS. GOD BLESS!

  49. carol maier says:

    Comments

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  51. Maiko says:

    And they wonder why there are school
    shootings?? I would of paid some local thugs to put a whoop @$$ on those brats! Makes me just as bad but I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep. “Consequences will never be the same!”

  52. [...] Dad Threatens Bullies. What Would You Do? [...]

  53. [...] Dad Threatens Bullies. What Would You Do? [...]

  54. eleanor says:

    Comments Bullying can have lasting effects on a child. It needs to be stopped. The school is the one in the wrong. If the problem was reported and the school failed to act then they are responsible for this situation. As a grandparent and former teacher, I have absolutely zero sympathy for a bully and any student that participates should be punished.

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  58. Joe says:

    The Dad was in the right. No action is too extreme to protect your children. Every parent knows this!

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