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Archive for June, 2012

On Monday June 18 something despicable happened. On their bus ride home, a group of middle school kids (mainly two boys) ganged up on and harassed 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein. They said things that would make most parents cringe if they knew their children were saying them. They threatened her. They taunted her. Someone recorded it with a cell phone video camera and posted it to YouTube.

On the following Tuesday and Wednesday, something amazing happened. The video went viral, which in and of itself is not amazing with how connected the world is these days, no- the amazing part was the outpouring of support for Karen and the generosity shown to her by complete strangers the world over.

This story is riveting. Here are ten things you may or may not know about this fascinating chain of events:

People from all over the world have recorded video responses.

Students and adults from Europe, Australia, and many more places have recorded their own video responses to the original bus monitor video. Click here to see some, there are 289 responses and counting.

There is a petition on change.org calling for punishment for the kids responsible.

Right now there are 570 signatures with a goal of 1000. I’m not sure what this would accomplish, but it certainly shows that the public wants to see these kids pay for what they did.

Someone started a fund on indiegogo to raise money to “send Karen on vacation”.

Max Sidorov, originally from Ukraine, says that when he heard of what happened to Karen he decided to create a fundraiser to “show her the power of the internets and how kind and generous people can be”. He set a goal of $5,000, with the intention of giving the bus monitor a vacation. The goal was achieved within hours, and as of now (with 30 days still to go) the fund sits at $150,000, clearly on pace to reach $1 million.

When you set up an indiegogo fundraiser, they typically run for a 30 day window. If the project hits its financial goal, all of the supporters who pledged funds are charged at that time and the money is deposited in an account specified by the administrator. At that time, the money is under Max’s control. No word yet on Karen’s response to this fundraiser.

MSNBC and The L.A. Times have picked up the story.

National outlets have run this story, but not just the part about the bus incident. They are reporting on the fundraiser, which is serving to help garner global support for it. If Karen accepts the funds raised for her, she can retire, which brings me to my next point – which is purely speculation:

Karen won’t accept the funds.

At one point in the video, which I still haven’t gotten through (it’s gut wrenching)- Karen responds to the children by saying she tries to live by the saying on her purse, but it’s hard sometimes. We as viewers can’t see what the saying is, but we’ve got to assume it is some inspirational “live and let live” type of positive message. Just from her general demeanor, her responses to the kids, and her brief appearances on local news since the incident, she seems like the type of person that does not relish all of this attention, and just wants it all to go away. My guess is she rejects the money, and then eventually agrees to accept but donates a large portion to charity.

I wasn’t aware that ‘bus monitors’ were even a thing.

Karen was a bus driver for most of her Greece School District career. Three years ago she became a bus monitor. This is something we did not have when we were kids. Knowing from personal experience that school districts are not in the practice of creating unnecessary jobs, there must have been a need for this position. What could a bus monitor be needed for? To watch for and discipline misbehaving children.

Karen Klein should not have been on that bus.

It was truly a shame what happened to Karen on Monday. It makes me sick. I just don’t think she should have been there in the first place. I’m not trying to take a paid position away from this woman, but sometimes you have to make sure the person is qualified to do the job. If I’m on a commercial airline, the last thing I want is an air marshall on my flight who is afraid of confrontation. These people are not just decorations, they are supposedly there for a reason. Karen never tried to defend herself or tell these kids to shut up. We are hailing this as angelic patience and saintly behavior, but no one who has watched that video would have blamed her if she snapped on those kids. As fun as that may have been to watch, I’m not condoning it, but she really could have just informed them of the consequences of their actions, told the bus driver, or told them to stop it. If she’s being paid to maintain order on the bus, surely she must have a few proverbial bullets in her gun. Why she chose not to use any is beyond me.

Someone gave out the offending kids’ names and contact information.

One of the first comments on the original YouTube page where the video was posted contains the names, phone numbers and addresses of the offenders. Since then, there have been so many additional comments posted that the info has slowly been buried, and may have since been deleted, but it was there for most of Wednesday. So many sites and Facebook comments are calling for the offenders information to be released, and it has been right there the whole time.

Greece Central School District has asked YouTube to take the video down.

With as much traffic as it is generating, that’s like asking Kim Kardashian to lay low for a while. I can see why the district wants to minimize the damage from this PR black eye, but it’s not gonna happen.

The police are investigating the video.

Greece Police are questioning four middle school students and will decide if charges will be filed in juvenile court.

Some of the comments that the kids made hit too close to home.

Karen said the comment that hurt the most was when the kids said “you’re so ugly your kid should kill themselves.” Her son took his own life 10 years ago.

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