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. Dazee
    September 1, 2011 8:57 pm

    That just sickens me to no end. The only thing that keeps me sane in these situations is that what goes around does come around and I also believe that sometimes when we make fun of things when we are young, they come back 10 fold when you grow up and start having the same kinds of troubles.

  2. David
    September 1, 2011 9:25 pm

    My blood pressure just went up 50 points.

    I too was born profoundly deaf and was fitted with hearing aids at 6 months (a rarity in 1965). In my 40 years of wearing hearing aids and 6 years wearing cochlear implants, I have NEVER had a single person mess with my hearing aids or implants. I suppose it’s kind of like messing with someone’s prosthetic leg or wheelchair.

    You. Just. Don’t. Go. There.

    I’ve been made fun of, ignored, dissed and disregarded, and of course it all hurt, but not on the scale that an assault (and that is what this is) would hurt.

    Slap the long arm of the law on the parents and the kids. The threat of a lawsuit and legal action is the only thing that will make parents of monsters like that sit up.

  3. Beky
    September 1, 2011 10:51 pm

    The “bullies” STOLE his hearing aids for the sole purpose of destroying them. Can you say FELONY? If those kids ripped a $17,000 diamond ring from a woman’s finger and threw it off a bridge to never be found, they’d be in trouble with the law and the parents would have to pay for the ring. Because the victim is a child and a classmate why is this classified as bullying instead of a criminal act? These kids that did this are not bullies, they are criminals and should be treated accordingly.

  4. Mermanda
    September 1, 2011 10:56 pm

    This breaks my heart. :(

  5. LeeInIrwin
    September 1, 2011 11:00 pm

    I have to ask – where there cameras on the bus that caught the incident? Press charges – assault, theft etc. then sue for the cost and pain and suffering. The school and bus company have a responsibility to get the kids back and forth to school safely. They have failed. Include them in the civil action.

  6. Mark Sweeney
    September 2, 2011 12:26 am

    This story shocked the hell out of me, and brought back memories of being bullied because I’ve worn hearing aids all my life.

    I hope Hunter is getting the help he needs – Hunter needs to know things get better.

    As it happened on a school bus, I hope the school ends up paying for it. Students, and their property are the responsibility of the school while on school property or the bus.

  7. Dan (Not Onorato)
    September 2, 2011 8:08 am

    @ LeeInIrwin

    Agreed, the school and bus company have a responsibility have their responsibilities to get the kids back and forth to school safely.

    However, the parents also have a responsibility to raise their kids to not act like a-holes. That starts at home.

    If it were done to my kid, I would want their balls on a stick. Balls. On. A. Stick.

  8. Randi Quattro
    September 2, 2011 9:51 am

    As a resident of Monessen with a small child who will attend MSD in the future, I find this terrifying. I’m making calls to find out what is being done. What POS parent is allowing their child(ren) to do this?

    It makes me sad and embarrassed to live here.

  9. AiXeLsyD13
    September 2, 2011 10:01 am

    Absolutely ridiculous. What is wrong with children?

    When I was in school, we had a girl who had hearing aids in both ears, & I don’t remember anyone ever making fun of her. In fact, had we seen it happening, some asses would have been beat, no question.

    Kids picking on other kids for being different in any way is crazy. I have a severe shellfish allergy… and reading stories where a kid will threaten a peanut-allergic kid with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich just makes my blood boil. Who is raising these tiny psychopaths?

    I hope the little offender’s parents are footing the bill for the hearing-aids… maybe it’ll be a lesson on teaching your kid the golden rule. If not them, then the school… because, really, how does anything like this escalate this far? If it was an allergy thing, a kid could be dead.

  10. bucdaddy
    September 2, 2011 11:12 am

    I agree with everything everyone says here, and that this should be treated as the felony it is.

    I just want to point out that labeleing a little boy “Bullying victim” on TV might as well be painting a bull’s-eye and him and screaming TARGET HERE!”

    Poor thing. I got picked on some in school, as most dweebs do who don’t learn to recede into the wallpaper, but nothing like this.

    Is the Batman crew still in town? Wouldn’t it be great if they heard about this and Batman showed up with Hunter on the bus one morning and started kicking ass?

  11. MizzPenz
    September 2, 2011 11:23 am

    You have written many blogposts about sick kids and whatnot, but I have never been moved to tears over one of your posts like this. The blood in my veins is boiling and the tears are hot on my cheeks.

    I swear, and my kids will testify, that all of their friends knew that if ANYONE ever messed with my kids, I would go all Serial Mom on them. And I don’t mean that figuratively.

    And on a side note: It’s absolutely BULLSHIT that hearing aids are not covered by insurance.

  12. Tracy Gray
    September 2, 2011 11:40 am

    My heart broke when I saw this story and I was angry at the way these situations are handled. Not only should we kick these little monsters out of school, but they should have to apologize at a school assmebly (with media in attendance.) These kids are all big and tough when they are making life hell for hteir victims, so why not give them a taste of their own medicine? Public humiliation. Why aren’t the bullies families and the school district responsible for replacing the hearing aids?

  13. bucdaddy
    September 2, 2011 12:01 pm

    Tracy Gray,

    You are sweet in assuming everyone is capable of feeling shame and humiliation, especially evil 12-year-olds. The existence of reality TV suggests otherwise: That for some people, attention trumps all (see, for example: Kardashians).

  14. Judi B
    September 2, 2011 12:36 pm

    [clap] [clap] [clap]…this is my standing ovation to you! And to whoever is going to man/woman/human being-up and identify those little shits and make their parents actually take some responsibility as parents (or breeders) and pay for the hearing aids.

  15. Dan (Not Onorato)
    September 2, 2011 2:05 pm

    Agree with @42…TAE should not have been the first call.

    Also, while its nice that people want to help defray the costs of the hearing aids by donating money, it will not fix the problem.

    In my opinion, the a-holes and their parents who stole/broke the hearing aids should be the only one who pays. The school district/bus company should be liable if they were notified and the bullying continued. Heck, where was the bus driver in all of this? The driver could have stopped the bus when it was happening. Im sure he/she heard something. I remember ours did several times because some kids got out of hand.

  16. kbryna
    September 2, 2011 2:59 pm

    @Dan (Not Onorato): while I do think school & bus drivers do have a responsibility here, I ALSO think it’s extremely possible the driver *didn’t* hear or see what was going on. School buses are hideously noisy beasts to begin with, PLUS the driver has to be, you know, driving – paying attention to the road, watching other drivers, watching as kids exit/board the bus and cross in front of it. Asking one bus driver to be a safe and responsible driver AND an alert babysitter for 20 or more kids is asking a LOT. If people weren’t so bloody stingy about paying for anything, it would be amazing to hire aides to “babysit” on buses to help prevent just this kind of thing. But then again, kids are clever little devils, and there’s always a moment when an adult’s attention is focused elsewhere – and that’s your chance to bully. Not everything can be *prevented* but it sure as heck ought to be punished and rectified as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  17. Caroline
    September 2, 2011 3:30 pm

    can you say “fundraiser to help this sweet boy’s parents pay for the new hearing aids”? can we all hop on *that* bandwagon?

  18. VAgirl
    September 2, 2011 8:37 pm

    I saw this on the news an it also pissed me off. It is sad that hearing aids are not covered as well as some of the testing unless you go through the hoops. As a professional in healthcare I come across this everyday with our elderly. I don’t see it changing unless some cages are rattled. I also have a young loved one who lost a portion of his hearing and we had to pay for the aid. I am trying to remember but there was an organization that we made payments to instead of laying out all the monies at one time. I will have to research my files. Maybe something could be arranged with them and donations could be sent to them. All I can remember is that the address had something to do with the Clark building.

  19. tokenintexas
    September 2, 2011 9:02 pm


    is there anyway that the Starkey Hearing Foundation can help out? I’ve seen them help not only with hearing aids but also with awareness about hearing impairments.


  20. Cathy
    September 2, 2011 10:02 pm

    Yes, Yes, YES! to # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. I am a 50-something who grew up with an undiagnosed hearing loss, and finally got aids about 15 years ago. I know the pain, and the work involved in trying to live in a hearing world that I am ‘somehow’ not hearing( I must be not paying attention close enough, or my favorite: I hear only what I want to hear).

  21. Adriane
    September 2, 2011 10:27 pm

    Of course I agree with all the comments about how terrible this incident is. I just want to add that Robert Rodriquez wrote into the script of the current Spy Kids movie (#4) that the boy hero has dual hearing aids. He said that he thought of it because his son’s friend has them and it occurred to him that hearing impaired people are not depicted in movies. I saw the movies with my kids and it opened up a big discussion about hearing aids and hearing impairments. Then a couple days later my 7 y.o. daughter saw a child with hearing aids and commented that she thought they looked cool and wondered if she, too, could have some. It just goes to show how a little positive exposure such as that movie can create positive attitudes with kids.

  22. steelheader
    September 3, 2011 1:46 am

    Amen Sister. Amen.

  23. LeeInIrwin
    September 4, 2011 10:24 pm

    57-Dan (Not Onorato) and 66-kbryna. I agree that the kids are little a-holes and they and their parents are responsible. But since this was a situation where it was known beforehand that a handicapped child was being bullied and his equipment was being damaged, the school and the bus company should have provided some protections/accommodations so this couldn’t happen. Something like a bus monitor or kick the offending kids off the bus or make other transportation arrangements for the bully or the bullied. Since Hunter is hearing impaired, he may already have an IEP (individualized education plan) and some of these accommodations can be added to it thus making them binding. Yes the bus is a loud place and the driver might not have seen/heard what was going on – that is where the cameras are handy. But some proactive work on the part of the school could have prevented it. Unfortunately, they seem to think that bullying programs and posters are enough. They aren’t, they rarely work – once a kid is an a-hole, there is no changing them….sorry for the pessimism, I have a handicapped kid and I am too familiar with bullying….

  24. RJQ
    September 6, 2011 8:44 am

    And now there’s an article in the local paper, The Valley Independent, showing the bullied kid’s mother in a bad light. Of course we blame the victim. Shame on the Monessen School board.


    My message to each school board member, the dean of students, and the security manager has gone unanswered.

  25. red pen mama
    September 6, 2011 2:58 pm

    While I agree with all the sentiments expressed here (awful thing, etc. etc.), I am curious that Ginny says if her SON bullies another, his world will (figuratively speaking) end. I know that we are probably looking at bullying in a physical way in this story — the little boy was assaulted, after all. However, girls bully, too, not necessarily physically — although they certainly can be physical. I just thought it was interesting that Ginny mentioned her boy and not her girl. If any of my children were bullies or mean kids, I would go medival on their asses, make no mistake. (And I’m sure Ginny would take her daughter to task for being a bully, too; I don’t mean that she would have a double standard.)

  26. Megan
    September 6, 2011 6:40 pm

    So heartbreaking! I’m glad you found this story so you could write this article and bring more attention to it. I have about 30% hearing in my left ear, a result of tubes gone bad as a child – my dad and I taught sign language at church to help with my self esteem, but it didn’t stop many sad events from happening as you described.

  27. Arlene Miller
    September 7, 2011 10:40 am

    I can identify with all of you, who had to wear hearing aids and was in mainstreamed school. I worw a body hearing aid in my better ear since grade school too. I have to sit up front so I could lipread the teacher. I remeber one time when I was bullied by a boy when I was walking home from grade school. There were other times that I was made fun of or mocked on how I talk when I was walking or at the playground. I feel so sad that his little boy wasd bullied every day the last school year. That is terrible! Those bullies should be expelled.

  28. Arlene Miller
    September 7, 2011 10:50 am

    I can identify with all of you, who had to wear hearing aids and were in mainstreamed school. I wore a body hearing aid in my better ear since grade school too. I had to sit up front so I could lipread the teacher in the classroom. I remember one time when I was bullied physically by a boy when I was walking home from school. There were other times when I was made fun of or mocked on how I talked when I was walking or at a playground. I feel so sad that this little boy, who was bullied everyday the last school year. That is terrible! Those bullies should be expelled!

  29. Heather
    September 7, 2011 4:56 pm

    Yeah…if that happened to my kid, you can bet I’d board the school bus screaming too. And possibly doing some other things too. Hell hath no fury like the mother of a child scorned.

  30. Daniel
    September 8, 2011 10:53 am

    I watched a documentary called “This Emotional Life” last night that had some interesting things to say about bullying. Apparently one of the most effective things that stops bullying in its tracks is when a peer stands up for the person being bullied. So all of us parents need to try and encourage our kids to speak up when they see this kind of stuff.

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