Outrage over bus monitor bullying video
Fri, 22 Jun 2012 1:51p.m.
By Chris Carola and Michael Hill
A video of a 68-year-old school bus monitor being mercilessly taunted by seventh-graders has become a rallying point against bullies. A fund for the New York state grandmother has raised at least US$380,000 and a deluge of people have demanded harsh punishment for the boys.
Police said Karen Klein does not want her young tormenters to face criminal charges, partly because of the storm of criticism levelled at the boys from the Rochester suburb of Greece after the video went viral.
"They've received death threats," Greece Police Captain Steve Chatterton said. "Their families have been threatened. We have custody of one of their cellphones, and he had over 1,000 missed calls and 1,000 text messages threatening him. And he's 13-years-old. That must stop."
The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cellphone video recorded Monday by a student of Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester and later posted to YouTube. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats directed at her.
One student taunted: "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.
Eventually, she appears to break down in tears.
"You want to jump into that bus and you want to grab those kids and say 'Knock it off!' And you want to hold her," said Amy Weber, a 43-year-old independent filmmaker from the Detroit area who pledged $100 through the international crowd-funding site Indiegogo.com.
"I think we hear about bullying every day and we become a little desensitised to it. This puts it in our face," said Weber, who is making a feature film about a bully.
Klein told NBC's Today show Thursday that it took "a lot of willpower" not to respond to the jeers from the four boys riding the bus operated by the Greece Central School District. Klein said she was "amazed" at the support she received.
"I've got these nice letters, emails, Facebook messages," she said. "It's like, wow, there's a whole world out there that I didn't know. It's really awesome."
She said she hopes the parents will talk to their children about being "a little more respectful."
Klein did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
The video logged more than 2 million views by Thursday evening, breaking hearts and raising passions of people who recalled bullying in their own pasts. The fundraiser set up on Indiegogo.com shattered its goal of raising $5,000 to send the grandmother of eight on a "vacation of a lifetime." Thousands of people donated, many in denominations of $20 or less.
"I don't see how anyone can watch that and not be touched by it. It made me realise - and I posted on my Facebook wall - that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will still hurt you no matter how old you are," said Deana Rock, a 42-year-old marketing professional from Williston, Vt., who pledged $30.
Rock said she was moved to tears by the video and donated the money so Klein would not have to get back on the bus.
Police in the suburb of Greece had to step up patrols near the houses of the four boys and said they had received several threatening hoax calls from people. The boys had not yet apologised to Klein as of Thursday afternoon, though police said they regretted their acts and their parents are cooperating.
The district apologised to Klein and will discipline all four students.
The swell of support for Klein follows a recent surge in awareness of bullying that has brought the issue from the classroom to the stage and screen to the White House.
In September, after 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer of suburban Buffalo killed himself after complaining about being bullied about his sexuality, pop singer Lady Gaga decried the loss of another life to bullying, tweeting to millions of followers that she'd take her concerns to President Barack Obama.
This year, the White House held a conference on bullying prevention, estimating that it affects 13 million students, or about a third of those attending school. Obama said he hoped to "dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up".
In April, the documentary film Bully examined the problem by following five kids over the course of a school year.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
12/07/2012 10:00:15 a.m.
don't pay attention those people, they've obviously not been raised up well or takes no self respect at all.
They'll have their karma!!
24/06/2012 10:56:18 a.m.
As appauling as thier behaviour was they are still children and they learnt this from adults! Look at the world today, look at what they grow up with! War, polution, racism, poverty, fascism.. how could anyone be surprised by this? Time for adults to get over themselves and start acting like adults and fix the BS. This is the fault of the adult population!
22/06/2012 6:39:56 p.m.
It says that the kids will be disciplined but we all know nothing will happen but a slap on the wrist but since that cant even happen now they will be told that was wrong, I agree that there is nothing to discipline children and stop things like this happen to poor old ladies.
22/06/2012 6:24:16 p.m.
Annie Faireka wrote:
This is such a very touching and sad event to read about. :( to the old lady that had to put up with that kind of behaviour of students. You have shown me how strong you are not to retaliate in that kind of situation, even though its not good to be in one like that. but its a relief that the matter is being dealt with. Behaviour like that is so appauling, especially to an elderly. talk about respect!!! i hope these four kids learn a very good lesson to respect older people and to think about their actions/ behaviour. shocking :(. but apart from all of this my prayers go to all who are involved. big ups to ANTI-BULLYING !!!!!
Police have arrested a further two people in connection with the fatal daylight ...
The British government's emergency committee met today after two attackers butch...
Unlike several other schools area, Plaza Towers had no "safe room" in which stud...
Two men with butcher knives hacked another to death Wednesday near a London mili...
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is blaming officials in his own ministry ...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.