Why I oughta …

Of course this post comes from an emotional place because I’ve worn hearing aids since I was in kindergarten.

People, being mostly deaf ain’t easy. Being almost completely deaf is VERY HARD.

This is compounded when you spend your childhood being hard of hearing. It affects your ability to make friends. You have COUNTLESS episodes of embarrassment when you mishear something or when you ask someone to repeat something one too many times and they get all, “UGH! NEVER MIND!” on your ass.  You don’t often hear the question the teacher asked, so it needs to be repeated unless you want to risk it and answer the COMPLETE wrong thing like saying “ball” when the question was “What’s the capital of Iowa?”

The simplest things become stressful. Once in grade school or middle school my class did an experiment to see if we could all sit in a circle, start with the first person whispering a sentence to the second person who would whisper it to the third and so on until it reached the end, to see how much the sentence changed by the time the last person heard it. I think it was meant to be an exercise in gossip, but turns into hilarity when you stick a practically deaf girl in there. What probably started as “My ball is red” ended with “Mary had a little lamb” BECAUSE THAT’S THE SENTENCE THE DEAF CHICK MADE UP IN HER HEAD.

Life as a hard of hearing youngster is hard enough without damn bullies making it a million times harder.

A mother in Monessen told Channel 4 Action News‘ Sheldon Ingram that her son was bullied so badly that other kids took his hearing aids and threw them out a school bus window.”They were taken out of his ears and thrown out the window,” said Carla Brown, of what happened to her son, Hunter.

Brown said the bullying of her son, who is legally deaf, is a continuation of abuse that happened last school year.”Every day last year, he got off the bus crying or upset, and the kids got off the bus telling me what was going on,” said Brown.She showed Ingram the $17,000 bill she received for new hearing aids for her son.

Hunter told Ingram what one classmate did to his hearing aids after they were taken from him.”He threw them on the ground and stepped on. He threw them right in the garbage, and I couldn’t get them out because there were ants on them,” said Hunter.

I can’t even tell you how much I have to calm myself down right now so I don’t do something exceedingly vigilante justice-y to these little brats.

Do you have any idea how expensive hearing aids are? You can buy a freaking car for less than it costs for one good digital hearing aid. And insurance? Practically NEVER covers them, which is the stupidest thing ever.

And here these little assholes are ripping them from the kid’s ears and destroying them. Leaving him in the quiet, which is even more stressful.

So I have a couple of things I’d like to say:

1.Monessen School District, I see you your “anti-bullying campaign” and your “speakers” and your “proactive approach” and your “bullying policy posted in every classroom” and I raise you this giant “YOU FAIL” sticker.  Kick the little brats out of school.

2. If you are the parent of a bully, and you are aware that your kid is a bully, and you do nothing to stop it or make amends, you should be ashamed of the kind of weak person you are and the kind of future people you are raising to scorch their way through others’ lives. Life is short and your kid is doing a good job of making someone else’s short time here on Earth much more unhappy than it needs to be. Man up, woman up, cowboy up, put your big kid pants on and take care of your kids.

3. If you are a bully who chooses to hurt a kid because of a disability (which, honestly, as a hard of hearing kid you NEVER consider yourself having a disability — I never have and I never will. I just don’t hear well.) there is absolutely no lower for you to sink other than ripping the wheelchair out from underneath a paraplegic toddler. No matter how big it makes you feel to do these things, someday, karma will make you feel smaller than the dirt underneath that kid’s wheels. A kid with any disability is a million times stronger than you will ever hope to be.

4. God help my kid if I ever hear he bullies someone at school. God help him because his world will crash down around him in a flurry of DSis and Wiis and Legos and the bats that fly from my shrieking mouth after I unhinge my jaw.

5. It is never ever too early to teach your kids the Golden Rule as interpreted by The Great One, Roberto Clemente: “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this Earth.”

6. If someone ripped my hearing aids out of my ears on my bus as a youngster, those sons of bitches would have spent the rest of their days hiding from my mother.

You little shits, yes, LITTLE SHITS, are the next Annoying Burghers and your crowns are in the mail and by “crowns” I mean cotton balls.

Shove them in your ears and go to school. See how much damn fun it is.


  1. Rachel
    September 1, 2011 11:55 am

    Words cannot express my anger over this! Bullies are horrible little people that will mostly likely grow up to be horrible big people. And they are the people (for the most part) whose parents turn a blind eye and a deaf ear and say “not my child”

  2. JennyMoon
    September 1, 2011 11:56 am

    I saw this on the news and almost cried and then I read this and what it was like for you when you were little and almost cried. I don’t understand what is going on in this world. It makes me very sad.

  3. Shari
    September 1, 2011 11:59 am

    I agress 100%. The school and/or police should be knocking on these kids doors and making the parents pay restitution. That sure would make them sit up and take notice that their kid is a bully.

  4. lipreadergalore
    September 1, 2011 12:10 pm

    You go, Ginny!

    I was born profoundly deaf and grew up wearing hearing aids. At the risk of dating myself, they were so antiquated back then that as a kid, I had to wear my hearing aid on a chest harness. Imagine if you were a boy! One of my male friends jokes that he had to wear a bra. When I was mainstreamed, I had to wear a FM system — only a slight improvement — that required the teacher to wear a phallic-looking microphone around her neck. Oh, the stories (one teacher forgot to turn it off when she went to the bathroom once…).

    Now I wear one digital hearing aid and have a cochlear implant in the other ear. Cochlear implants are covered by insurance, but hearing aids aren’t. They are so friggin’ expensive! There’s a bill in the works that will hopefully change this, but in the meantime…

    We need to teach these kids right from the beginning that EVERYONE has differences!

  5. Gina
    September 1, 2011 12:10 pm

    Most school anti-bully programs are crap. And these kids get away with this kind of shit over and over. And sadly – most bullies come from bullies, so forget getting the parents to do anything. Very sad.

  6. Julianne
    September 1, 2011 12:11 pm

    That is so awful and makes me want to cry as a fellow aid wearer. Why is the school not doing anything? Do not get me started on the rage I have on insurance companies and hearing aids.

  7. burgerlicious
    September 1, 2011 12:12 pm

    I use these sad moments to re-enforce to my kids “Treat people the way you want to be treated”. So far so good (I hope). That young man should take one a Steeler or Pitt Offensive/Defensive Lineman with him on the school bus one day. Lets see those bullies try to rip his hearing aide out when Casey Hampton is breathing down their throats.

  8. gunnlino
    September 1, 2011 12:21 pm

    The shame of it all is;
    The school district will do nothing , no member of the school board has the huevos to bring it up let alone do anything about it ,
    the police cannot do anything unless the parents make a crime report ,
    then if the police find the kid responsible the juvenile system cannot make the parents pay restitution when they have no income to speak of anyway .
    All the politically correct crap about stopping bullying is just that , crap.

  9. Ed Heath
    September 1, 2011 12:21 pm

    Normally I think that whatever punishment authorities devise should be sufficient, but in this case I think the fact that this is on-going abuse and that I can’t imagine Hunter Brown has done anything to bring this on himself… OK, I don’t want to be all “After School Special” about this, but I think the bullies should be compelled to do community service in a location with disabled persons – not necessarily hearing impaired, I think any disability would do. In fact, serving time (so to speak) as an aide in VA hospital might well be ideal. Let these bullies think about how the people they torment are real people, with real lives and relatives and friends who willingly make sacrifices themselves.

    I don’t know what to say about the cost of hearing aids. The bullies should be compelled to take a job and turn over their earnings (all or some large fraction) to the Brown family. Or the school can pay for the hearing aids, and the bullies can pay back the school.

  10. Katrina
    September 1, 2011 12:22 pm

    If my hypothetical kid did that to another kid, I would beat his butt. That right there is a spanking offense.

  11. jdp
    September 1, 2011 12:27 pm

    So my kid gets detention for hugging someone, these kids should pretty much be out of school…forever? I don’t know at what age ‘alternative’ schools start for little delinquents though.

  12. Bryan
    September 1, 2011 12:36 pm


    I’ve worn a hearing aid since pre-school, and hearing problems run in my family. You’re right, I’m not handicapped, just talk a little louder, willya????

    That being said, this is not just simple bullying, this has all sorts of legal issues involved: 1) Should the kids be charged with theft? If so, to what degree? 2) Who is responsible for replacing hearing aids? School, bus company, bully’s parents? 3) Shouldn’t this be treated as a hate crime?

    This bully, more so than most, is just begging for a giant karma bitch-slap. Here’s an appropriate punishment. Make the kid wear sound-proof ear plugs for a couple of days and see how he feels…..I promise you, things might change then.

  13. spoon
    September 1, 2011 12:36 pm

    School dont do shit because parents sue. Parents dont do shit because god forbid you hurt kids feelings.

    You want a solution? Put these kids in catholic school and let some nuns beat their asses for a few days.

  14. Kate's my name
    September 1, 2011 12:37 pm

    Thak you for speaking for all of us hearing aid users! And I appreciate that you’ve brought this to the attention of your readers!

  15. JenB
    September 1, 2011 12:59 pm

    That’s not bullying, that’s assault and grand theft. I hope his mom files a police report. Then maybe the school will take it a little more seriously.

  16. megrcam51
    September 1, 2011 1:01 pm

    In my opinion, these kids need to have their names and pictures and those of their parents strewn all over the news. Why should they be protected in all of this? And as a former bullied child, if I had a dime for every time a principal or teacher told me, “Well, we talked to them and they denied it so there is nothing we can do” I would be a millionaire! Thank God that we, as a country, are FINALLY taking bullying seriously instead of just another rite of passage.

  17. Jeannie
    September 1, 2011 1:02 pm

    All I can say to this blog, and all of the comments: AMEN!

  18. Magnus Patris
    September 1, 2011 1:12 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better.

  19. DG
    September 1, 2011 1:15 pm

    I cannot believe that the school district or bus company are not doing something about this. This is absolutely intolerable behavior that no human being should be forced to endure.

    That said, I would ask that folks refrain from lumping ALL kids who have bullied into one incorrigible and unredeemable pot. That is not the case. They should be punished and that punishment should match the “crime”. But, one bad choice does not a lifetime bullyer make.

  20. Christina
    September 1, 2011 1:17 pm

    I am babysitting my 2-year-old niece this week. She came in the room when I was reading it.
    What I felt? The ability to KILL if somebody would ever dare to do something like this to her.
    And I am not kidding here.

    The parents of these bullies should really pay every single Cent for the new set. That will teach them that is their damn duty to raise their childern properly and teach them how to treat other people and especially those who have to fight any kind of extra trouble.

  21. JenEngland
    September 1, 2011 1:22 pm

    Me and my daughter saw this and were horrified. The kids should be kicked out of school and the parents forced to pay for new hearing aids.
    I told my daughter if she ever witnessed something like this happening I expected her to step in and stop it/defend the kid. Which I didn’t need to tell her because she already let loose on her friends in 3rd grade for being mean to a classmate with a developmental disability. Then she left her friends and went to play with the classmate. That is honestly the most proud I’ve ever been of my kid.

  22. stellabella
    September 1, 2011 1:23 pm

    Look, I homeschool/cyberschool my kids and one reason is because I was bullied like sh!t when I was a kid. One time, I was attacked at the bus stop with a broken broom stick. I was not disabled, I was just trash from the trailer park. That day, my Mom followed the bus to school, ripped those brats off and dragged them into the principals office. It took several teachers to keep my Mom from beating their asses. But my Mom was the one in trouble, not those kids who walked off with a smug look and continued their bullying for the rest of the year.
    This story pisses me off. Keeping a kid in a school under bullies like this can have life long damage (trust me). It’s not fair that a child can’t receive an appropriate education because of those bullies. I wish schools would have the cajones to take a stand and kick their butts out.

    This reminds me of the recent story of the Dad who stood up for his cerebal palsy daughter on the bus and ended up having to serve community service (they were just on the Today Show again this morning). FOR REAL! The girl had to change schools. This family was punished, not the ridiculous brats who bullied the girl because she walked different.

    And don’t give me “sensitivity training”. By the time a kid hits school, it’s too late. Parents need to teach that from birth.

    If my kid every pulled that, there would be consequences. Big ones. Yep Katrina, that right there is a spanking offense.

  23. Jonathan
    September 1, 2011 1:28 pm

    We humans have this wonderful, unique ability to be kind to one another. And this horrible, unique ability to be cruel. When I hear stories like this, especially when it involves cruelty to kids, I hate the rage I feel. JenB is right…this is for the police.

  24. @AngrierFish
    September 1, 2011 1:29 pm


    Any contact info for someone in the Monessen School District that we can contact to express our displeasure over this situation?

  25. MattDC
    September 1, 2011 2:02 pm

    Thank goodness Ginny is a rational, empathetic person who can direct her anger in a constructive manner. I’m ready to join whatever vigilante group is forming to beat the crap out of those little pricks. Of course, as a mature adult with an obligation to impressionable youth, and as an officer of the court, I’d have to serve the complaint first, along with the invoice for damages. Then I’d beat the crap out of those little pricks.

  26. Erin
    September 1, 2011 2:06 pm

    This breaks my heart. That poor little boy. I agree that the bullies’ parents should have to pay for the hearing aids.

  27. Julie
    September 1, 2011 2:07 pm

    Ginny, do you know if there will be any kind of fund to help them defray the costs? I’d be more than willing to pitch in a few bucks if there is no recourse for this family.

    I can’t even fathom what happens in a child’s life that makes them believe that what they did to that boy was okay. Those kids need to be arrested for assault and their parents should be made to pay for those hearing aids.

    If I were Carla Brown, I’d be suing anyone who was breathing within the vicinity of the incident and filing criminal and/or civil charges against the assailants and their parents.

    People need to be held accountable for their actions!!

  28. john
    September 1, 2011 2:10 pm

    Monessen is a hell hole and the school district is in the bottom 1% of the state. I would not expect much action on their part. jokes.

  29. Taylor
    September 1, 2011 2:12 pm


    You have a lawsuit on your hands, you certainly can sue the school district for damages since it happened on their campus.

  30. bluzdude
    September 1, 2011 2:12 pm

    Flame on, Ginny. Flame on. This situation is an atrocity. Oh, hell yeah, names should be named and the bullies’ families owe this kid a new hearing aid.

  31. Mary
    September 1, 2011 2:12 pm

    If there was a fund or even an address to send money to, I’d do it. Keep us posted, Ginny.

  32. kbryna
    September 1, 2011 2:12 pm

    As AngrierFish asks: what can we do about this?

  33. Michelle Smiles
    September 1, 2011 2:14 pm

    Oh how the world would end for my child if I found out she did something like that.

    And I really hope that the parents of these bullies aren’t bullies themselves and they deal with this in an appropriate earth-ending kind of way.

    And the school? Totally needs to rain down some wrath. School should be a safe place.

  34. toni
    September 1, 2011 2:18 pm

    Question here….if you are on a school bus, is that considered being on “school property?”

    There’s a reason I ask this…and I’ll try to make the story short. Cousin of a friend’s kid was walking home from school…kid got into an argument with another kid, fight ensued. A bad one…cousin’s kid wound up with 2 broken ankles. BOTH fighters got suspended by the school district who stated that from the school front door until a kid reaches his/her front door, he is CONSIDERED ON SCHOOL PROPERTY. Kid’s mom was fine with the suspension but she did send the medical bill to the school district since her son was hurt on school property.

    And I bet Monessen School District would certainly take care of the bullying problem if they received a $17K hearing aid bill to pay.

  35. Charissa
    September 1, 2011 2:32 pm

    As the mother of a disabled child who starts preschool tomorrow, this angers and terrifies me.

  36. Jenny
    September 1, 2011 2:37 pm

    If I would have been involved in something like this, even as a WITNESS, my parents would have beat my ass. Period.

    If you do learn of a fund that we can contribute to in order to help the family with the cost of the replacements, please let us know.

  37. unsatisfied
    September 1, 2011 2:53 pm

    I agree with what toni is saying in #34.

    send monessen the $17k bill.

    sue them if they do not pay.


  38. Sooska
    September 1, 2011 3:43 pm

    Why isn’t the theft of those hearing aids and their destruction being treated as the crime that it is? No different than shoplifting or mugging an old lady for her purse. Where are the police?

    The bullies AND the parents of the bullies should be charged and held responsible for the costs AFTER the School District pays the woman for the hearing aids and protects that kid. Let the Monesson SD & its insurance carrier go after the parents of the bullies.

    The Monesson School District is ultimately responsible once these episodes exceed ONE on a school bus.

  39. Sam
    September 1, 2011 3:46 pm

    This is utterly incredible, I simply cannot believe that any parent would feel that it is acceptable to have children behave in this manner!! I am fortunate that my own childhood as the only deaf child in the local school was quite normal – I had nothing more than the usual childhood fall outs and “you’re not my friend today”, but NOTHING like what’s been happening here – I am just horrified – those children need dealing with – not to mention their parents or the school!

  40. Jennifer
    September 1, 2011 3:53 pm

    I concur with the dismay at what happened here. I was born deaf and wore a hearing aid until I couldn’t, now I have had my cochlear implant for 22 years (only one ear is able to use a device, the other is profoundly deaf). I was mainstreamed all of my life… The most that I experienced was due to the lack of understanding…one of the earliest that I remember…”why do you get to have a radio at school?” My 1st grade response…”want to try it?”, the look of surprise when all they got was the hearing aid feedback was worth educating them without much ado. As an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing now that works with children in the mainstream, it’s worth helping kids and adults understand hearing loss and hearing devices. Quite a sad situation, I hope that someone can help these kids understand the cool factor in how much hearing aids and cochlear implants help when they can help…and the cool factor of being able to communicate with one who may not hear as well.

  41. empirechick
    September 1, 2011 4:27 pm

    When my niece started kindergarten last year, she was telling us about her new friends. ‘Samantha has a cochlear implant’ came out exactly the same way as ‘Ava wears pink shoes’ and ‘Ryan plays football’. No big deal to her.

    Little kids don’t look at ‘different’ as being ‘bad’ on their own – they learn the hate part at home. Which makes this episode that much worse.

  42. Emj
    September 1, 2011 5:04 pm

    Ugh. This sort of crap is not something you respond to with an angry visit to the school office or a phone call to Channel 4. This isn’t bullying, the family is looking at $17k in property damage due to blatant, malicious behavior. The solution is quite simple: lawyer up and sue the kid’s parents. A summons makes for quite a wake-up call.

  43. D-Veal
    September 1, 2011 5:06 pm

    It’s the hell hole aka “school bus”.

    The buses are a bully’s paradise. They’re like Thunderdome without Aunty Entity but with plenty of Master Blasters, and you have no dog whistle. Or they’re like a bi-daily WWE smack-down rage in the cage. My son has spun yarns about the terror that is his bus ride. Total mayhem, a lawless land.
    All buses, twice a day. And schools still no nothing.

    It’s the buses, people.

  44. Ms Lee
    September 1, 2011 5:31 pm

    Solution – start paying teachers and staffers a bonus (similar to what is paid to those who coach after-school sports programs) to ride on one of the buses before and/or after school. Or, look for volunteers among the stay-at-home parents (many of whom already volunteer as teacher’s aides). The bullying on buses will drop dramatically.

  45. PittinDC
    September 1, 2011 5:31 pm

    A school can only do so much. But the parent of this little boy should certainly press changes against the children, and file a civil suit against the children and their guardians for damages. As @Emj noted, being on TV will make people sympathetic, but the only way to correct it is through the legal system. It may not be a great system, but it’s the only one we have. This isn’t just bullying – it is straight up assault. A kid can certainly be charged with a crime.

  46. Sam's Dog
    September 1, 2011 5:32 pm

    I wish the parents of these “little shits” would be identified and have their pictures shown. Maybe that would force them to take a closer look at themselves and the fine job they are doing in raising these little monsters.

  47. Beatrice
    September 1, 2011 5:35 pm

    I can’t believe hearing aids are not covered by insurance. How can that be? Terrible.

  48. Taylor
    September 1, 2011 5:40 pm

    Yes it’s terrible that hearing aids are not covered by health insurance. Cochlear implant? Yes. Hearing aids? Nope. The sad thing is that only the families with good health insurance with a good company can afford any amount of health insurance to begin with.


  49. Burgh Bird
    September 1, 2011 6:39 pm

    All the anti-bullying PSA campaigns in the world cannot compete with shows like The Real Housewives, The Bad Girls Club, The Real World, Gordon-Ramsay-MFs-You-In-Public, etc who all show that if you’re a loudmouth bully, you can be on TV and make a boatload of money for it. How can a kid learn that bullying is bad when their daily exposure to TV says the opposite? I feel like *some* parents have been desensitized to what a bully really is, and of course, it’s never their kid….

  50. beanica
    September 1, 2011 6:39 pm

    If you do not have insurance for your hearing aids or CIs, please try this company. I’ve used them for 20+ years, and they are wonderful. It’s well worth the insurance. This covers loss, too.
    http://www.earserv.com/ I am not in any way a representative–just a consumer!

    If I were the parents, I’d definitely send the school the bill. This event happened on “school property,” no?