The Boys On The Bus: 

A new behaviour scenario every issue.

Eight or more Yr 9 boys, in uniform, top deck of bus on the way home from school. Bus stops at a bus stop in small town centre. They see their year leader (Mr Nolan) walking down the other side of the road – there’s a Greggs in the row of shops (he’d already passed the pub).

Joe says “50p says he goes in Greggs and buys a pie”. Four agree, four others take the bet. There’s much excitement and noise and all the boys are packed together, mostly not sitting, looking – and shouting – out of the window all on one side of the bus. There were about a dozen other passengers on the bus.

Mr. Nolan is oblivious – he walks resolutely…. past Greggs, but after about 15 yards, he stops, walks back, looks in the window and up and down the street, before entering the shop. As the bus begins pulling away he re-appears with….. a cornish pasty! The boys find this hilarious.

In fact they go wild to the point where the bus driver shouts a warning – with minimal effect. At this point Mr Nolan looks up and hears the commotion – plus some shouted derogatory remarks about his weight. He managed to point a finger. The high street was quite busy.

He can guess who two or three of the characters are but can’t be absolutely confident. How does Mr Nolan feel? What does he do (the next day)? (Note: The school has a code of conduct about behaviour on the way home from school). What would you do? Well, Mr. Nolan didn’t have the time to deal with this but felt this event was serious enough (he hadn’t been able to enjoy his pasty at all!) to postpone the whole year’s games’ session for 40 minutes – two days later – replaced by a whole year assembly in the gym. He knew this would inconvenience his suspects.

He made the announcement through next day’s early morning tutor periods via the Yr 9 tutors and it didn’t go down too well at all, not least with the games staff (who were assured privately that there would be no disruption to yr9 games on Thursday).

The tutor period message conveyed the gravity of the event and described the rules that had been broken (bus behaviour, insulting a teacher, representing the school) and warned all students that he would be interviewing a number of people during the day.

In the message he invited anybody who knew anything about the incident to find him and tell him what they know. After some peer pressure, Joe himself went to see Mr Nolan to apologise for his part but refused to say who shouted the hurtful comments and who else was involved. Joe was set a lunchtime litterpicking task – interestingly three other boys (also suspects) helped him.

The emergency assembly was cancelled. Mr Nolan took the view that whoever had shouted the abuse from the bus had probably been admonished to some degree by his friends. Mr Nolan had been told by another, uninvolved student, who it was, but decided to monitor his behaviour rather than confront. He then resolved to work on his will power and, despite managing to will his way past the pub, felt he couldn’t really justify rewarding himself with a pie.

Twist 1: Unfortunately a passenger on the bus rang the school that lunchtime to complain about the incident – he and his wife had been with his very young grandchild who had been ‘terrified’ though not directly threatened. Mr Nolan explained what happened but despite his appeal Joe was suspended for 3 days and given a Saturday morning detention which meant he missed playing in the rugby match. The headteacher delivered a stern speech about behaviour on the way to and from school at the next assembly.

Twist 2: 19 boys turned up at the gym on Thursday instead of travelling to outdoor games. Twist 3: One whole class never got the message about the emergency assembly but heard through the grapevine that ‘games had been cancelled’ altogether so didn’t bring their kit.

Explore more scenarios in Behaviour with Bayley.

We would love to hear your little stories and challenging scenarios, so send them in. (We’ll anonymise of course).

Eddie Gardner

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