As a parent, nothing tugs at us more than seeing our son or daughter suffer verbal, or even physical abuse, at the hands of a bully. Harassment in school – whether in the form of verbal insults, physical ill-treatment or online cyberbullying – creates nightmare scenarios for children who are petrified at the notion of continuing to enter an environment in which they are the subject of maltreatment.
Parents struggle to balance the legalities and shared responsibilities of leaving the matter in the lap of school administrators, with the parental instinct to take the matter into our own hands. One such parent, from the Bay Area suburb of Richmond, Calif., took the latter option Friday morning, reports CBS San Francisco.
Burnis Hurd, a father of a 9-year-old autistic boy, grew tired of his child coming home with horror stories regarding the abuse dished out by a particular bully who was two years his senior. The 44-year-old father got on the bus with his son, and after his boy pointed out his assailant, Hurd pummeled him good. CBS News carried Hurd’s mugshot.
“The father grabbed the 11-year old by the hair, pulled hard and raised the child out of his seat, then shoved him on the side of the bus where the window meets the wall,” Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan said. Incredibly, the bus driver sat silently, and chose not to intervene. Perhaps because the driver knew that if he were to lay hands on any of the parties, he could lose his job. Or perhaps the driver knew that this 11-year-old fifth grader had it coming.
Writes the Daily Caller today, via Yahoo! News:
The melee was not captured on videotape and the bus driver didn’t get involved. In fact, the bus driver never even bothered to report the incident. Instead, the 11-year-old kid informed the principal at Wilson Elementary School in Richmond, where both children are enrolled in a special education program. The alleged bully ended up with a cheek abrasion and a gashed earlobe.
The father, as you might imagine, was hauled off to jail and sits there today under a $50,000 release bond. Hurd was charged with abuse of a child and intent to cause bodily harm of a minor. According to investigators, Hurd used vulgarity and threatened to “kill” the bully if he laid hands on his kid again. The aunt and legal guardian of the 11-year-old boy, Shanika Moses, said she wants Hurd “prosecuted to the fullest.”
Describing the events, Moses said: “Then [Hurd] walked to the middle row, grabbed him by his Mohawk first and then choked him up by his coat and his shirt, and that’s when everything happened as far as him getting thrown up against the window, him being hit and everything else.”
Lt. Gagan added additional details: “[Hurd] was drunk and that was probably an explanation for some of the behavior, but he explained that he was tired of his son being bullied and he felt that the right thing to do was to confront the youth that he felt were responsible for that.”
The case raises hotly debated issues. What the father did was wrong, but is he the only one to blame? It appears that the dad’s actions came about after frustrations boiled over at the school not taking action previous to this. Parent’s hands seem to be one-sidedly tied in these types of situations. What recourse is there? What are your thoughts on Hurd’s actions? Sound off below.