Buses are a nightmare for school administrators. They're unsupervised other than the individual driving whose main focus is (or should be...) the road. Drivers have zero training with kids (a fact that usually evidences itself several times throughout the year), and typically their management bag of tricks is filled with one strategy- yelling (note: if you are a teacher and this is your only management strategy, it might be time to think about a new line of work...).
It's not uncommon for my days to open with parent phone calls or visits complaining about what their child reported upon coming home. Most of these issues are easily taken care of with simple student conferences, but occasionally more serious issues present themselves.
Recently I had a mother of one of our students come in shortly after the day had begun. She was very upset indicating her fifth grade son Allen (who was a great kid) had been attacked on the bus by a student 'wearing lots of rings' and that his face was 'all cut up.' Apparently the boy had texted his mom from the bus prompting the visit. Normally I would have been a little suspect, but Allen was such a great kid I figured there was some truth to the matter. I promised mom I would get to the bottom of things and she left.
My mind was soaring all over the place. As I sat waiting for Allen to get to my office to talk I was imagining scenes from The Outsiders or kids carrying brass knuckles and other terrible visions of violence involving rings.
When Allen got to my office he indeed did have a scratch on a portion of his lower cheek. It wasn't anything that needed to be treated and his head certainly had been split open by a fist full of metal the way his mother had led me to possibly believe when she hurled out words like 'assaulted.'
Allen and I talked. He said he'd 'accidentally' elbowed the other boy who in turn hit him and scratched him with his rings. When I asked him who had done this, he said he didn't know the boys name but that he was in third grade and had a Star Wars backpack. A third grader?
It didn't require much investigating to find out the boys name and have him summoned my office to join us. When the kid walked in, the first thing I did was ask him to show me his hands.
Sure enough his right hand had three rings on them. Two were of Spiderman and the third was of Darth Vader All three were made of cheap plastic and had come from the top of birthday cupcakes someone had passed out to the class at some point.
Bloods and Crips this was not.