Online Community Unites In Support For 68-Year-Old Severely Taunted By Middle School Students
(MintPress) – A video of middle school boys taunting a 68-year-old school bus monitor, calling her “fat” and a “troll” while threatening to stab her, has led to a global fundraising campaign, generating more than $450,000 for victim Karen H. Klein’s vacation.
The issue is being used to highlight a common concern that respect for elders — or anyone — is becoming of less importance in U.S. society.
The video was posted on Youtube June 19 and was reportedly posted on Reddit.com, an online news forum, where it gained widespread attention and outrage. From there, a donation was was created for the bus monitor.
Donations have poured in through the indiegogo website, which has set up a “Let’s Give Karen — the bus monitor — H Klein a Vacation” campaign for donations. As of Friday, more than 22,000 people had donated to the cause, with more than 20,000 contributing supportive comments. The original goal for the fundraising effort was set at $5,000.
While arguably more severe than most cases, the harassment of the school bus monitor is generating dialogue over concerns of ‘kids these days.’ The 10-minute video, taken and originally posted online by four New York middle school students, shows the boys harassing Klein, attacking her weight, economic status and looks.
At one point, the boys even claim that her family members killed themselves because they didn’t want to be around her. Her son had committed suicide roughly a decade prior.
Threats were also part of the video. At one point, a boy asks Klein, “What’s your address … so I can friggen piss all over your door?” The boys go on to say they would like to break into her house, steal everything and stab her.
“I am going to stab you in the stomach and my knife would go through you like butter, because it’s all flab,” the boy says.
The video depicts a peaceful Klein tearing up — she resists all violence against the boys, but does attempt to make it a point that their words were hurtful.
Dateline reports Klein had worked as a bus driver for the Greece School District for nearly two decades before becoming a bus monitor. Her job description includes assuring students behave themselves — a duty for which she received $15,000 a year. She’s been a widow for 18 years and is a grandmother to eight children.
A statement on the Greece School District website regarding the incident claims that four Athena Middle School students were identified as responsible for the incident. The district promises disciplinary action, citing the fact that students clearly violated the district’s code of ethics, but says it must follow New York Education Law, which calls for a hearing in the case of a suspension that exceeds five days.
“The behaviors displayed on this video are not representative of all Greece Central students and this is certainly not what we would like our students to be known for,” the website states. “We have worked very hard to educate students on the damaging impact of bullying and will continue to do so.”
Appearing on the Today Show, Klein expressed the difficulty of dealing with the children, while also pointing out that the support she’s received, through donations and messages, has blown her away.
“I’ve gotten the nicest letters, emails, Facebook messages,” she told Matt Lauer. “It’s like, wow, there’s a whole world out there that I didn’t know. It’s just really awesome.”
CBS reported that the father of one of the boy in the video showed remorse, saying the video depicting his son’s action made him angry and sad.
Klein said she doesn’t plan to press charges against the children — she simply wants them to learn from their actions.
According to the Associated Press, the boys in the video have received death threats, resulting in police setting up patrol units around their families’ homes.
Print This Story