Earlier in the week I posted about a 13 year old Virginia middle schooler who was sent to the office for hugging his girlfriend in the school cafeteria. That was an innocent, offbeat story with which I had some fun. It is easy to become aggravated at a school who will not tolerate touching of any kind, not even handshakes or high-fives.
Then I read this story at Yahoo! – “2 Girls Kicked off Oregon bus for Kissing”. The two girls were 14! Just one year older than Mr. Hal Beaulieu, and only two years older than my oldest son.
The girls, both 14, said the driver called them “sickos” after a female passenger complained about their kiss. The driver then stopped the bus along the street and forced them off.
There is plenty wrong with this picture; a picture, I must add, which makes me queasy when I think on it. First, people don’t need to be making out in public. Hal understood this. Why don’t these two young Oregonians understand this? Second, teenagers have no business making out period. Third, two girls kissing each other is just plain wrong; as wrong as it would have been for two boys to have locked lips. (I have to mention here that I am assuming the girls were not simply trading friendly pecks on the cheek. The reactions of the “female passenger” and the bus driver lead to the conclusion that the kiss was something more than a friendly gesture.)
Did the bus driver overreact? In today’s political and social climate the answer is yes. Had he just told the girls to stop making out in public nothing may have come of this, but throw in the “sicko” comment along with the boot from the bus and this guy has problems staring him in the face.
I can remember my school bus driver kicking unruly passengers off the bus with regularity. That was a different time (amazing how fast times or changing) and a different place. Being kicked off the bus in smalltown Aurora, IN is much different from being jettisoned in Portland, OR.
The driver has been disiplined. The company has apologized. But the most disgusting thread of this story is not the kids kissing; it’s the response by one of the girls’ mother.
The mother of one of the girls, Ronnda Zezula, welcomed the apology. “The only thing I had a problem with is they didn’t really address why the driver broke those policies,” Zezula said. “He knew it was wrong. He’s been a driver for 11 years.” She also said she wished the agency had made the extent of the disciplinary action public to show it will not “be just a slap on the wrist.”
Her “only problem” seems skewed. I would think she’d have a big problem with her 14 year old daughter kissing someone else in public. I would think she’d have an even bigger problem when the “someone” is another 14 year old girl.