Video of students bullying bus monitor goes viral, sparks outrage

Supporters respond to video, donate thousands in honor of bus monitor

ROCHESTER, New York - A profanity-laced video of middle school students in upstate New York verbally abusing a bus monitor is sparking an outpouring of support as strangers worldwide rally to her side.

Students taunted Karen Klein, 68, with a stream of profanity, insults, jeers and physical ridicule. Some boys demand to know her address, saying they want to come to her house to perform sexual acts and steal from her. Another said, "you're so fat."

One comment from a boy aboard the bus was especially painful. He told her that she does not have family because "they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son took his own life 10 years ago, according to CNN affiliate WHAM.

The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage.


The incident occurred in Greece, New York, near Rochester. Klein is a bus monitor for the Greece Central School District and the harassers hail from the Greece Athena Middle School, media reports said.

Klein described her tormenters "regular, normal kids" and "one on one, they're OK."

"Just don't get a bunch of them together. That's when the trouble starts," she said.

As the intimidation unfolded, she said, she tried her best to disregard the harassment and didn't hear everything that was uttered. But she said the hazing hurt deeply. At one point, she said, she told two children, "I am a person too. I shouldn't be treated this way."

Klein told WHAM that she doesn't know if bullies can be charged. But, she said, "they should have some form of punishment."

CNN attempts to reach all parties involved Wednesday were unsuccessful.

The video prompted an outpouring of support and a fundraiser by an international crowd funding site that had gathered more than $100,000 by early Thursday.

"Let's give Karen a vacation of a lifetime. Let's show her the power of the internets and how kind and generous people can be," the fundraiser's organizer said on the website. The organizer did not respond to CNN requests for comment on the website.

The school district said its bullying team and the local police are conducting an investigation.

"We have discovered other similar videos on YouTube and are working to identify all of the students involved," the school district said in a statement.

It did not elaborate on whether the additional videos are related to Klein's case.

"While we cannot comment on specific student discipline, we can say that students found to be involved will face strong disciplinary action," the school district said.

The students are minors, according to the school district. CNN does not name minors involved in alleged crimes unless they are charged as adults.

Officials involved in the investigation will hold a news conference Thursday.

Klein said she hopes the spectacle "might help other people." And, she said, she hopes that these children "get their share of someone bullying them."

"I hope what goes around comes around," she said.

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