Bullied Bus Monitor Brought to Tears Receives Apology, $500,000 in Donations
Bus monitor Karen Klein has become the poster grandmother for anti-bullying. Klein, 68, was teased to tears by four middle school students in Greece, NY earlier this week.
In a Facebook video that quickly went viral on YouTube, Klein is seen crying after being harassed with profane taunts from several boys. Klein endured more than 10 minutes of cruel name-calling for no apparent reason.
According to MSNBC, at least two of the boys and a father of a third have issued apologies to Klein in statements they made to police in Greece, N.Y.
One of the boys, known only as Josh, said:
I am so sorry for the way I treated you. When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I will never treat anyone this way again.
Wesley, another boy who was also involved in the bullying incident, said he feels “really bad” about it.
And for one father, an apology wasn't enough.
"I would like it if he could do some work for you or help you in some way," he said to Klein. "I am embarrassed, angry and sad about the awful way he treated you."
One of the boys' comments was especially heart-sickening since Klein's son committed suicide 10 years ago. The boy told Klein that she doesn't have family because "they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you."
Emotions of those watching the video ranged from shear disbelief to anger. Captain Steve Chatterton of the Greece, NY Police Department said the boys families have been threatened after the video surfaced online. Someone even posted online the boys' names and phone numbers, along with the names and numbers of their family members.
Officials with the Greece school district released their own statement, saying they are treating the incident seriously and strong disciplinary measures will be taken.
There was an outpouring of compassion for Klein over the ordeal to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars donated via fund-raising website Indiegogo. A campaign called "Let’s Give Karen the bus monitor a Vacation!" has received over $500,000 in donations so far. That number continues to climb.
Everyone appears to be jumping on the bandwagon, if not for the free publicity. Southwest Airlines has offered to fly Klein and nine other people to Disneyland for free. She has eight grandchildren.
People all over the country are now posting their own video responses to the bullying incident. News and entertainment websites everywhere are also weighing in on the issue of bullying.
Klein remains relatively forgiving over the incident. She said she doesn't want to see her tormentors expelled from school, but would like to see them banned from riding the school bus for at least a year and not allowed to participate in team sports.
Here's the infamous bullying video. Be warned, it contains graphic and disturbing language.