School teachers and bus drivers earn every dollar of every single paycheck. Some students model exemplary behavior and become favored “pets”. However, other students wish school ceased to exist and by their attitudes and actions drive their instructors and authority figures to the brink of insanity. One method of discipline incorporated by school districts is the dreaded detention. No apathetic student wants to spend more time at school than absolutely necessary. School handbooks across America detail various behaviors earning pupils extra unwanted school time. Creating classroom chaos, failure to turn in assignments, and multiple tardies might earn students a detention. Recently, a sixth grade student in Parma, Ohio discovered that putrid bodily functions qualify bus riders for a detention slip.
Eleven year old Christian Summers netted a one hour detention penalty for passing gas on the small school bus he rides to and from school each day. The bus driver shared that he blasted his fellow classmates several times, each offense prompting loud shrieks of laughter, gags, and groans of disgust. After Christian received multiple warnings, the bus driver handed Christian a write-up and the consequence of detention. His response? “I couldn’t help it.” According to Christian’s detention slip, this was not his first offense. Believing the punishment to be unwarranted, Christian called the detention “dumb.”
The driver explained on the detention slip that Christian thought passing gas was funny and that his windy efforts incited loud screaming from the other riders. She wrote, “I’ve told him it’s not funny or polite to the others in the van.” The bus driver signed off on the detention slip and the assistant principal concurred, adding his signature.
Since serving his time, Christian now fears multiple days of detention for subsequent infractions. He hopes to mask any future odors by draping articles of clothing over the offending area.
One can’t help wonder if this behavior merits a detention. Quite possibly the young boy struggles with symptoms of undiagnosed irritable bowel and a bean-filled bowl of cafeteria chili sent his stomach into turmoil. After further discussion, the school board might create a special 504 plan for Christian and for fellow classmates hiding their nether regions under letter jackets and American Eagle sweatshirts. And for the complaint that Christian found gas passing humorous, how many know young boys able to stifle guffaws when such releases take place?
Maybe the bus driver struggles with overactive olfactory disorder and if so, certain sympathies should be considered for her condition. However, would cracking the window bring enough relief to extend a bit of grace?
One last thought to contemplate: Would Christian have incurred the same punishment had his bus driver been a man?