Lucky I wasn’t on this bus, that’s all I’ll say. What has become of teenagers that make them bully an elderly woman? Don’t parents teach their children the basics such as respect elderly people? Or even bullying hurts and damages. They have no moral compass. And that’s just sad. Coming from someone who was bullied for most of my childhood any one being bullied makes me shiver. And it hits a nerve. The bus driver in this video should of intervened, called the school or at least the authorities for harassment.
Some students on Bus No. 784 were calling her names on Monday. One said she looked like a troll. Another told her she didn’t have a family because they all committed suicide.
In the 10-minute video that has since gone viral with more than 1.5 million views (so far), upstate New York bus monitor Karen Klein, 68, takes the teasing and taunts sitting down and without raising her voice.
And that took “a lot of will power,” the Greece Central School District employee told the Today show Thursday morning. “I’m not usually that calm.”
The group of unidentified middle school students who brought Klein to tears are under investigation, although disciplinary action will have to wait until September when school is back in session. (The school district didn’t name the students because they are juveniles.)
But some of those who have seen the video – and heard the hurtful words directed at the grandmother of eight and widow whose son committed suicide 10 years ago – have taken action in a different, more positive way.
An online fundraising effort to send Klein off on “a vacation of a lifetime” has long surpassed its $5,000 goal. As of Thursday afternoon, more than $300,000 (and counting) had been raised.
“I’m so amazed,” she said. “I’ve gotten the nicest letters, emails, Facebook messages. It’s like, wow – there’s a whole world out there I didn’t know.”
As for the students who bullied her, Klein, who worked as a bus driver for 20 years and has been a bus monitor for the past three, said she doesn’t want them to be punished. Instead, she hopes that parents see the videos, hear the words and talk to their kids.
As for those students’ parents, she has a message.
“I’m sorry that your sons acted the way they did,” she said. “I’m sure they don’t act that way at home, but you never know what they’re going to do when they’re out of the house.”
Video of bus monitor bullied by students goes viral
Tears streamed down her face as profanities flew from across the school bus. For several minutes, the elderly upstate New York bus monitor tried her best to ignore the pack of middle school bullies on Monday afternoon as they hurled insults and expletives in her direction.
It’s a harrowing 10-minute video— a ring of students heckling 68-year-old Karen Klein on their bus ride home from school. The video has sparked international uproar when uploaded to YouTube earlier this week and drove a Toronto man to lend a helping hand.
“I felt heartbroken seeing her being abused. I wanted to send her somewhere nice to let her forget what happened,” said Max Sidorov, 25, who watched the video and decided to launch a fundraising campaign to raise money to send Klein away on a luxury, all expense-paid vacation.
Sidorov’s campaign, launched Wednesday on crowd funding site Indiegogo.com, raised more than $200,000 in less than 24 hours and reached nearly $300,000 by late Thursday afternoon.
“It just blew up. I really didn’t expect this kind of response,” said Sidorov, a York University graduate who said he had been bullied as a child after he moved from Ukraine to Canada.
The video, which has received nearly two million views on YouTube in just two days, shows Klein enduring 10 minutes of abuse as four young teenage boys taunt her, calling her fat, ugly and poor.
“You’re a troll, Karen,” says one, with others continuing to mock her as tears begin to stream down her face.
“Yeah, you’re probably missing your box of Twinkies,” another student jeers as Klein wipes the tears from her eyes.
Klein, a grandmother of eight whose Facebook page states she’s been a widow for nearly 17 years, remained mum as the students hurled their abuses and did not report the abuse to authorities.
The Greece Central School District soon learned of the YouTube video, however, and notified police.
A school district statement said both the district and the Greece Police Department had launched investigations into the bullying incident and “students found to be involved will face strong disciplinary action.”
The district confirmed Thursday afternoon that four Grade 7 students from Greece Athena Middle School, whose names cannot be released due to young offender laws, are now under police and district investigations.
Steve Chatterpon, a police captain with the Greece Police Department, said at a news conference Thursday that Klein of Rochester, N.Y., did not want to press charges against the students, but that the police investigation will continue in case she changes her mind.
Mike Maynard, a representative with Teamsters Local 118, the union that represents support staff in the Greece schools, said he called on the district Wednesday to hand down “swift and harsh” punishment for the four responsible students.
“I pretty much called for their heads yesterday, but I don’t have the authority to demand that of the district,” said Maynard. “No one should ever have to endure what they put her through.”
District spokeswoman Laurel Heiden said the offences likely wouldn’t meet expulsion criteria as set out in state laws, but that the district is considering long-term suspensions for the offending students.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning, Klein said it took “a lot of willpower” not to respond to Monday’s jeers.
“I’m not usually that calm. Just ask my kids,” Klein said . “I’m sure they don’t act that way at home, but you never know what they’re going to do when they’re out of the house.”
She expressed gratitude over the show of public support for her, and said she hoped the boys’ parents would watch the video and teach them to be “a little more respectful.”
Reached at their family home in Greece Thursday, Klein’s relative Brian said she was exhausted by the week’s turn of events.
“It’s been crazy,” he said.
With files from the Associated Press
WARNING: Video contains objectionable language