For Bullied Bus Monitor, Karen Klein, Donations to Take Hurt Away
About $600,000 has been raised online this week for a 68-year-old school bus monitor from upstate New York after a cellphone video showing a group of boys on the bus brutally taunting her spread quickly on the Internet.
The monitor, Karen H. Klein, of Rochester, who drove a bus for the nearby Greece Central School District for 20 years before taking her current job three years ago, was sitting in the back of the bus on Monday afternoon when seventh-grade boys began pelting her with vile remarks and one profanity-laced insult after another about her weight, her hearing aid and her sweat glands.
A student captured the encounter on his cellphone and posted it on his Facebook page. On Tuesday, it was posted on YouTube, titled Making the Bus Monitor Cry, where it has surpassed 4.7 million views. The video prompted outrage around the Internet, with users on Reddit urging people to send Ms. Klein messages of support, and to call and e-mail complaints to the school.
After viewing the video, Max Sidorov, of Toronto, responded by raising money online for a vacation for Ms. Klein. He originally set a goal of $5,000, but has exceeded that total more than a hundredfold.
Photo A frame from the video taken this week of the taunting of a bus monitor, Karen H. Klein. Credit Youtube Lets give Karen a vacation of a lifetime, lets show her the power of the Internet and how kind and generous people can be, Mr. Sidorov wrote. Karen, you have no idea whats coming!
Ms. Klein, a widow for 17 years, told reporters in many national interviews this week that she was deeply touched and overwhelmed by the global outpouring of support for her.
School district officials said they were reviewing the episode.
Certainly the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our districts code of conduct and will not be tolerated, said Deborah Hoeft, assistant superintendent for student services. Disciplinary action to the fullest extent appropriate under New York education law will be taken against all involved.
Capt. Steven Chatterton of the Greece Police Department said that the boys involved were cooperating with the investigation and that three of them had apologized to Ms. Klein in statements.
Ms. Klein told the police that she did not want criminal charges pursued against the boys, who are 12 and 13, but that she hoped they would not be allowed to ride the bus for at least a year.
In the statements, released by the police, one boy said, I feel really bad about what I did. The boy, called Wesley, continued: I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.
A statement from another boy, 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 am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sidorov, who started the vacation fund, can now look forward to a financial reward for his efforts. An online thank-you campaign is under way for him. It has already raised $4,000.