Bullied Bus Monitor Karen Klein Receives $200K from Donations
Karen Klein, the us driver who was taunted and tormented by a group of Greece, NY teens, received generous donations on Wednesday, enough to take a dream vacation and even retire. Klein has agreed to help police in the investigation of the bullying teens.
In a hard-to-watch 10 minute video, students on a bus tease and taunt their bus monitor, Karen Klein. Karen Huff Klein, 68, the lady seen in the video, which has been viewed more than a million times, trying to ignore the endless taunts and cringe-inducing epithets from the students, and wipes away tears after several particularly scathing comments.
Greece Central School District officials In upstate New York phoned police on Wednesday after viewing the video and students thought to have been involved have been questioned at the school and officials are debating whether to bring any formal charges.
In a heart-warming turn of events, donors from across the country raised almost $200,000 for Mrs Klein, who has been serving the school district for more than 23 years, in hopes that she can take the vacation she’s always dreamed of.
Mrs Klein, a widow of 17 years, worked as a bus driver in Greece, New York for 20 years, and has been a bus monitor for the last three years.
'I want the boys punished, but I don't know how,’' Klein told Matt Lauer on TODAY on Thursday.
'It made me feel really terrible, but I will get over it. I've gotten over everything else.'
Her duty is to ride in the bus with students, making sure that they behave themselves on the route to and from school. For that, she gets paid around $15,000 annually.
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 morning, more than $140,000 (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."
In discussing the punishment these children should face, Klein is adamant that she doesn’t think that they should go to jail for the incident. With that said, shockingly, she hasn’t received an apology from any of the students involved or their parents yet.