Bus monitor bullying video
|Date||June 18, 2012|
|Location||School Bus 784 – Greece, NY, USA|
|Also known as||Bus Monitor Bullying video|
|Filmed by||Luis Reico|
|Participants||Wesley Helm, Brandon Teng, Joshua Slesak|
"Making the Bus Monitor Cry" is one of three videos filmed in June 2012 which focused on a bus monitor/attendant, who was targeted for bullying by four 7th graders attending Greece Athena Middle School. The video has gone viral and has received numerous video responses and news coverage, and a donation campaign was launched for the victim.
Video of the incident
The video was originally uploaded on Facebook. Later, a YouTube user reposted the video onto YouTube on the day after; June 19, 2012, with the title "Making the bus monitor cry", alongside two other videos with the titles "Bus Monitor Harassment", and "Bus Monitor Harassment 2". Within a few days, it had been watched by millions of viewers.
The Bus Monitor Harassment video series is filmed primarily in the back of Bus #784, lightly focused on Klein. In these videos, one of the children becomes angry and says "Karen's a bitch". The third video, "Making The Bus Monitor Cry" is directly targeting Klein. It was organized by three of the four boys: Helm, Teng, and Slesak. Recio, the fourth student, had later stated that he had been asked to film the bullying by way of peer pressure.
In the video, the 7th grade boys are heard bullying Klein with taunts that include her appearance, age, as well as her purse, and comment about "the water on her face", at first saying it was sweat. Once she explains she is crying, they reply that the reason is that she misses her box of Twinkies. They then proceed with remarks about Twinkies, call her a "fat-ass" constantly, touch her, and demand that she provide her address on camera. They also threaten to egg her house, to urinate on her door, and to stab her.
One boy refers to Klein's family, saying, "They all killed themselves, because they didn't want to be near you." In reality, Klein’s oldest son had committed suicide ten years earlier. It was not known if the boy who made the comment was aware of this. Klein attempted to ignore them, and forced herself not to retaliate. She instead remarked a few times such as "I know all of your addresses! I'm going to send you all thank-you cards, for being so nice."
Klein said she had been bullied by the boys before, and that one time, she had her hearing aid knocked out. When asked by the media if the bullies were just being jerks or if they were actually rotten apples, Klein responded, "Two are jerks, and two are rotten apples."
After the bullies' identities were revealed, they received many death threats. The video prompted an investigation on the part of school officials and local police. Klein stated that she would not press charges against the students, partly because of the flood of death threats and criticism aimed at them. She also stated she would like an apology and a different bus route. When an apology was issued, however, she rejected it as insufficient.
On June 29, 2012, the Greece Central School District announced that the boys would be suspended from the middle school for one full academic year, and each boy would also be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and complete a formal program in bullying prevention.
On his show Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper announced that Southwest Airlines offered to pay for a trip for Klein and nine people of her choice to Disneyland for a three-night visit. Klein responded, "It does make me feel a whole lot better. I appreciated everything. I think it's awesome."
Soon after the video went viral, Max Sidorov, a nutritionist, author and Ukrainian immigrant living in Toronto who says he had been a victim of bullying as a child, started a campaign at fundraising site Indiegogo with a goal of $5,000, to help give Klein a vacation. Within a few days of its creation, the fund had surpassed half a million dollars, and by June 25, over $650,000. An Indiegogo spokesperson stated that the website was in touch with Klein, who would receive the money raised by the scheduled end of the fundraiser on July 20, 2012. When the campaign ended on July 20, Klein's campaign had received a total of $703,833. After the 4% commission for the website and 3% for credit card fees, Karen stood to receive $654,601.89. Klein stated that she planned to use $100,000 of the earnings to establish the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, as part of the GiveBack Foundation.
On July 27, 2012, Klein announced that she planned to retire as a bus monitor, calling it "a tough decision".
- Jim Axelrod (June 22, 2012). "Karen Klein's school bus bullies receive death threats". CBS News. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- Neetzan Zimmerman (June 20, 2012). "New York Schoolkids Mercilessly Taunt Elderly Bus Monitor [UPDATE]". Gawker. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Joe Coscarelli (June 20, 2012). "Horrible, Rotten Kids Abuse Bus Monitor, Internet Buys Her a Vacation [Updated]". Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- Meagan M. McDermott (June 21, 2012). "Fundraising goes viral for victim of school bus taunting". USA Today. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Making The Bus Monitor Cry". YouTube. June 19, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Dodai Stewart (June 21, 2012). "Cruelly Taunted Bus Monitor Tells Matt Lauer She Wants The Boys to Be Punished". Jezebel. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- "Funds for bullied bus monitor skyrocket over $400K". CBS News. June 21, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- Erik Ortiz (June 20, 2012). "Video of school bus monitor being bullied sparks investigation". NY Daily News. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- "Bullied bus monitor Karen Klein won't press charges". ABC. June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Paul Farhi (June 21, 2012). "Karen Klein: Why are people giving money to bullied bus monitor?". Washington Post. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Students who bullied N.Y. bus monitor are suspended for a year". CNN. June 30, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Harish, Alon (June 22, 2012). "Bullied Bus Monitor: Boys Apologize, Public Donates $500,000". ABC News. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- Allison Cross (June 22, 2012). "Fund for bullied bus monitor Karen Klein hits $470K". National Post. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
- "Video of Karen Klein, elderly school bus monitor, being verbally abused goes viral, sparks charity". CBS News. June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Max S. "Lets Give Karen -The bus monitor- H Klein A Vacation!". Indiegogo. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- msnbc.com staff (June 20, 2012). "Vacation of a lifetime pledged for bus monitor bullied in viral video". MSNBC. MSN. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Karen Klein given check in Toronto ceremony". Democrat and Chronicle. September 11,2 012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
- "Bullied NY Bus Aide Retiring, Calls Decision Tough". ABC News. Associated Press. July 27, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.