Bus monitor responds to harassment as web funds grow
Updated: Thursday, July 11 2013, 10:44 PM EDT
Greece. N.Y. - Karen Klein says she heard students on the school bus call her fat, but she tried to ignore it.
She didn't realize how bad the taunting was until she watched the YouTube video that has sparked outrage.
Cell phone video shot on a school bus Monday shows a small group of Greece Athena middle school students bullying Klein about her weight and threatening to come over to her home and steal from her.
Klein, 68, spoke to 13WHAM's Patrice Walsh at home about how much the comments have hurt her.
"I tried to ignore it...I didn't hear some stuff and tried to shut them out," Klein said.
She was horrified and hurt and she wishes she would have done more to stop the students, but felt helpless.
Klein did tell the bus driver and co-workers about the incident but she didn't think much would come of it.
One comment from a boy on the bus was especially hurtful because he said Klein "didn't have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you."
Klein's oldest son took his own life ten years ago.
Her daughter is angry that children can be so disrespectful and mean.
"It's very hurtful," Michelle Hawkins said. "It would be hurtful to anybody."
Klein also remembers one of the students hitting her in her seat.
"I only felt him hit me once and it wasn't hard but on the film it was more than once," Klein said.
She believes the students should be punished.
"I don't know if they can be charged," Klein said.
Greece Police have interviewed four of the students, but none have been charged yet.
The Greece Central School District said its bullying team is investigating and the students will be disciplined.
Klein says she regrets not doing something more when the kids started acting up.
But she hopes everyone will learn from this.
Klein has worked for the school district for more than 20 years, the last two as a bus monitor.