Dismissal at TJ Middle

Students walk to a bus during dismissal Tuesday at Gov. Thomas Johnson Middle School. The school will be one of several involved in a new program set to begin in late February. Coaches will ride the afternoon bus routes every day for nine weeks to, among other duties, serve as role models for students.

Frederick County Public Schools is using a state grant to train bus drivers on bullying prevention and hire “kindness coaches” who will accompany middle schoolers on their afternoon bus routes.

The coaches, who are set to begin work in late February, will ride the afternoon routes at select middle schools every day for nine weeks as part of a pilot program, said Lynn Davis, the district’s coordinator of mental health services.

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Education reporter

Jillian Atelsek covers education for The Frederick News-Post. She grew up near Woodsboro, attended Walkersville High School and graduated from the University of Maryland in 2020 with degrees in journalism and history.

(24) comments


problem is now people just have kids but then expect everyone else to parent them


True, reader, until it comes to discipline. Then it's "keep your hands off my kid", because, as we all know, little Buffy or Jody can do no wrong. I my neighborhood growing up, any of the neighbor parents would mete out discipline, send you home, to find more punishment when we got there. We had our own "It Takes a Village" back then, and everybody's parents knew everybody's kids.


Same here Gabriel -- it's likely a large part of why you and I turned out to be model citizens. [cool]

Seriously, somewhere along the line, things changed dramatically:

* Instead of being cut loose to play outside until dusk, kids hang out in the house with their smartphone or video games.

* Instead of siding with the teachers when they report a behavioral issue, parents defend Amber and Bradley.

* Instead of acting like *parents*, mom and dad want to be their kids' friend.

* Instead of taking responsibility for their little darlings, they let them run wild and then blame others if/when there is some damage.

I wish the Kindness Coaches good luck -- they are going to need it. In fact, they will be lucky if they are not assaulted once the kids realize the coaches cannot defend themselves.


A “kindness coach” is the PC name for a SRO on Middle School busses. I guess the bus monitors are being outgunned.


“It (behavior) all starts at home”. Until steps are taken to address positive home environments, behavior problems will continue and escalate among society. The problem is, no one seems to want to identify what is acceptable behavior, until people are effected, or hurt physically or mentally.


Who is liable when the "kindness coach" is assaulted by a middle schooler(s)? This is a set up for a total disaster.


Our daughter works in the school system in MD. After watching an episode of “Abbott Elementary” where the tiny actress/ writer of the series separated two larger children by lifting one, she said that until then she thought the actress (Quinta) had been a teacher. She said that move was a definite no-no. Probably actionable. So who are these employees who already work in these schools who have some kind of special no-touch magic? Will they have to sign releases?


What happened to the days when we knew better than to do this stuff. My parents would have had my tail. Now we need "kindness coaches". How about we hold those at fault responsible for their actions?

Riders of the Storm


Guy T. Ashton

“The initiative is funded through a roughly $36,000 grant to Frederick County’s Local Management Board”

No problem is so big that can’t be solved with more money thrown at it. Though I suspect lack of funding may not be the problem. The problem is not untrained bus drivers, it’s your out of control kid.


On the subject regarding the $36,000 Grant. This likely available via more Federal Omnibus deficit spending funneled to state. Extra money looking for a cause or purpose. Somewhat of an irony now discussing school budget. Another example of when government has more money, it will find reason to spend it. Unfortunately, likely deficit spending.


Sure, Guy, perhaps your kid. But since we cannot force parents to raise their kids in whatever way YOU happen to think is best, we have to deal with the reality that we are faced with rather than pretending it doesn't exist. Once again, conservatives seem to live in a fantasy land.

Guy T. Ashton

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking kids should be respectful to adults and to others and should be held accountable fot their actions ( that’s called learning). It’s not a fantasy as it used to be that way, at least to some degree. And if the kids cannot be taught by negligent parents then they need to learn the rules of polite society in some other way. Unless you’re against personal responsibility? I guess there’s always someone else to blame.


Many decades ago, my mother was a bus driver for FCPS. Two middle school students got into a physical altercation on her bus while parked at the school waiting for students to get off the bus in the morning. She got up and pulled the two students apart to stop the fight. Guess who got in trouble? Hint: "Don't touch my kid" mentality.


I'm not surprised cyntiast -- other than the fact that it happened decades ago.

When I was in elementary school in MoCo in the late '60s they were still spanking kids with a paddle that had holes drilled in it -- to maximize the pain.

Parents in Bethesda would routinely discipline their neighbors' kids if they misbehaved -- and they thanked them.

Your story reminds me of the recent hand-wringing over the alleged 'mistreatment' of special ed students in FCPS. The "Don't touch my kid" mentality puts the teachers and their aides in an impossible position. What exactly is an adult -- bus driver, teacher, administrator -- supposed to do if (as in your mother's case) kids are fighting? How about if they physically assault the teacher (hit, bite, throw feces, etc.)?

The fact is, sometimes physical intervention is necessary. Restraint and/or isolation may be called for.

If the violent/disruptive/bullying behavior continues the child should be expelled. It is not fair to the staff and other students to expect them to just allow themselves to be abused. Some children do not belong in public school.

If "kindness coaches" help, great. My guess is that things have not changed that much -- when an adult steps in to stop bullying, that will just postpone it until later, when it will be even worse.

Earl Elliott

How about this. Any kid--yes, yours too!--caught bullying anyone will be expelled from school post-haste! "Kindness coaches!?!?" WTW!?!?! Parents are failing their children and taxpayers and society are paying the price! Parents who raise children who bully deserve bulling themselves! Teach your child to be nice or risk the consequences of reprisals against them and you.


Earl; do you expect the bus driver to notice the bullying?


The second-worst bully I ever knew (girls bully too) had the nicest mom, friend of my mom, and witnesses to her daughter’s targeted mean streak would never speak up for fear of becoming targets. There was no point in telling any adult I knew. 🤷🏻‍♀️


Have you ever been a parent with a bullied kid and complained to the School Administration? Like the teachers in Newport News telling their Administration 3 times that a 6 y.o. kid had a gun and they did nothing!!! And he shot his teacher?

Travis Bickle

Redneck2193 could use one of those new coaches


Oh I'm far from needing a kindness coach my friend. My kindness coaches were my mother, grandparents, church and community. I know kids don't value those things anymore, probably our biggest problem.


So many republicans these days could have used some kindness coaching


Oh you mean parents? The ones who are responsible for ensuring their children dont grow up to be hateful, nasty humans. Sad times. Kindness coaches, what a joke.


Great idea, Middle School kids can be brutal toward their peers.

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