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Patch's Poll: Does the Video of a Bullied NY Bus Monitor Surprise You?

After unsettling footage of an elderly bus monitor being bullied was posted on YouTube, donations to send the 68-year-old widow on 'a vacation of a lifetime' are nearing $500,000. Does the behavior of the students shock you, or is it the norm these days?

A YouTube video (warning: the language is laced with expletives) showing a group of New York middle schoolers taunting an elderly bus monitor was nearing 7,000,000 views on Monday after it was posted on June 19.

The kids in the video use harsh language, at one point even telling the 68-year-old widow, "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you." 

As the YouTube hits have shot up, so too have donations in support of Karen Klein, who, throughout the whole ordeal, did not show any emotion apart from holding back a few tears.

As of Monday morning, almost 30,000 funders had donated $644,674 to an online account with the description, "Lets give her something she will never forget, a vacation of a lifetime!"

Some of the comments left on the fundraising website:

  • Norm: My contribution is my vote against bullying. A fine example of grace under pressure by Karen.
  • Benjamin: Heart goes out to you. I wish I was on that bus, I’d have put them kids in their place.
  • Lindsay: Kids can be cruel. Your story moved us in Kitchener, ON, Canada

Does this kind of taunting happen every day, or is it an isolated incident? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

Marcie June 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Sadly with all the trash on "reality" TV and You Tube and the lack of parenting intervention these days......nothing surprises me. That poor woman....I can tell you my kids would be up crap creek if they ever participated in this AND if they didn't speak up about it. I conduct bullying role playing in our home so my kids know how to respond to these situations.
Ann C. Jett June 25, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Like Ms. Shoham, I am not all surprised. There seems to be a pervasive lack of accountability and increasing sense of entitlement among many adolescents. There are many arguments that can account for why kids feel it's OK to behave in this manner. Many know that there will be no consequences in the home for inappropriate behavior. They know the school can only admonish them to a certain extent under the law but if that's tantamount to detention or suspencion, they may still feel, what's the big deal. I think the saddest and most disturbing aspect is how desensitized the video shows these adolescents to be. The mob mentality like behavior, total disregard for this woman as a human being and lack of any sense of how wrong what they are doing actually is! Unless kids and adolescents such as these get some help, they are destined to graduate to worse and more illicit behavior.
Bob Hetzel June 25, 2012 at 09:11 PM
First, I want to know what corrective action the parents took against these unruly brats. Then, I want to know what is expected of bus "monitors" and how they are to control this behavior. Third, what procedures are there to alert the driver, stop the bus and call the police. A parent's apology is irrelevant! What has he done to prevent a recurrence? Finally, why is this woman qualified to "monitor" behavior!
Bill June 25, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I knew someone would finally go after the monitor, I just didn't think it would happen so soon. This is what happens when children lead coddled lives where they can do no wrong and never have to deal with the consequences of their actions. When parent are more concerned with a child's self esteem instead of their self respect, you get people who esteem themselves above all others, and have respect for none.
Ann C. Jett June 25, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Most jobs of this nature don't pay very well and are held by people just like this woman. I would venture the guess that the position comes under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education of that district. It's likely a minimum wage position. All that said, it still doesn't excuse what those kids did. In a perfect world, their parents would be dragged down to the local precinct along with their rotten kids.
Marty Salvatore June 25, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Teenage kids sometimes behave like JERKS and BULLIES?! You don't say! This runs TOTALLY CONTRARY to anything I ever witnessed when I was in high school! Kids THESE DAYS! I am shocked! SHOCKED! It MUST be all that MTV!
Bill June 26, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Well Marty, I don't know what generation you are from, but I'm class of 1982, and can say honestly this would not have happened in that era in my town. Of course we didn't have bus monitors because we DIDN'T NEED THEM. What worries me more is that someone like you can post a comment that implies that this kind of behavior is normal, to be expected and just, ho hum oh well just deal with it.
Karen's Dog Training Blog June 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM
News made a big deal out of the father of one of the bullies apologizing to the woman. Those bullies should all have publicly apologized. They also should be mowing this woman's lawn, planting her a flower garden, cleaning her house, taking out her garbage, making repairs if needed to her house.
Ann C. Jett June 26, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Anytime I hear or read statements taking the tact that bullying is tantamount to "kids will be kids" infuriates me. Not all kids behave this way. They are raised to treat others with kindness and respect. I'm class of 83 and there were few and I mean few kids who ever really crossed the line with bullying. Of course, I can say that they went on to more meaningful behavior including addiction and jail. We have more opportunities now more than ever to educate kids that you don't need to victimize anyone else to raise your own self-esteem.
Maria Giannuzzi June 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I'm afraid the bullies lashed out at Ms. Klein because she was the monitor and they knew they could get away with the harrassment. No one should have to work under such conditions and the school district bears the ultimate responsibility for its failure to protect all employees, whether they work for the district or the bus company. I am thrilled that Ms. Klein will be compensated for this incident in an amount exceeding $500,000. I hope the bullies are listening. Apparently, it is Ms. Klein who will have the last laugh.
Marty Salvatore June 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
No... what I am saying is that this is not a product of THIS generation. I am not excusing it or saying "kids will be kids." It IS appalling and disgusting. But these things are nearly always framed in a "what's wrong with this generation" way. Look at the poll. As of now, 60% of respondents say "It's this generation. They have no respect for their elders." This is simply not the case. Bullying is NOT something new. Disrespect for elders is NOT something new. Framing it in a generational way is misguided and delusional.
Paul June 26, 2012 at 06:03 PM
As a former school bus driver for Ryder, First Student I have seen it all. The schools do not care. You write up a report, the child is talked to, and the next day it starts all over again. The parents are no help. The child is brought up thinking they could do anything they want. They are spoiled brats. No respect for adults. In my day God forbid my parents ever got a call from the school about somethig I did. I have had books, food, sneakers thrown at me while I was driving. You stop the bus, Walk to the back yell at the kids and they laugh at you. Middle schools are the worst. I have been retired for 10 years thank God.
Marty Salvatore June 26, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Paul, just out of curiosity, what years did you drive a bus between? I think you just made my point that this behavior did not start with THIS generation. If you've been retired for ten years, then that would mean you've dealt with these issues with previous generations. And God bless you. You are a braver man than I.
Spiff June 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM
When we were kids we had the threat of corporal punishment that helped to keep the kids in line. It was not uncommon for a teacher to grab a kid by the back of his shirt collar and drag him down to the principal's office, literally. My 6th grade teacher kept a big paddle hanging on the wall behind his desk (not that he ever used it, but we all heard the stories about how so-and-so got the paddle, etc.). Kids now-a-days know that they won't get touched because of all the lawsuits, etc. Parents will have their children taken away by the state if they spank them. You're right, Paul, kids now-a-days are spoiled brats and have zero respect for adults. Unfortunately, society as a whole is to blame for much of this. However, to caveat that comment, all parents are responsible for the behavior of their children, and kids that are taught to respect others and not act like monsters on the bus, at school, etc., are less likely to.
Mark June 26, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I don't think it is a generational problem as much as an information overload problem. I am class of 86, We did not have cops at our HS or JHS (Danbury) We did not have bus monitors but we also did not have a bus that stops every 25ft to pick up a single child either...Hell I remember at ages 6 -12 walking the 1/4 mi to school! Imagine that today.. But I digress, I think it is a mix of what is shown on the internet and TV and music (JUST like our parents said and their parents before them..and it's true to anyone that can see) Kids watch adult movies for free on the web constantly, they see R-rated movies and parents don't blink..They listen to "music" that glorifies the narcissistic hedonistic lifestyle and try to emulate it. They have instant communications to millions around the world, a far cry from having to share a one house phone land-line with your sister at 14, They see that adults are fallible far faster than we did at those ages and some capitalize on it,They see things freely on the web that you had heard vague rumors about from your older brother. There is no simple solution but in a world where a kid gets a trophy for coming in 22nd place or a team gets one for just finishing a season even though it was 0-25 where parents hover over their 7 year old at the playground like chester the molester is gonna swoop down out of the trees..we get what we put in. Sheltered, Self-centered brats.
Spiff June 26, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Marty, I understand what you are saying but I only partially agree. Yes, bullying is not something new, but kids now-a-days definitely push the boundaries more so than they did back in the day (I'm referring to 30 - 40 years ago). Refer to 2:59 pm comment below for further details.
Mark June 26, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I will add that kids are not allowed to BE kids today. Drive through almost any neighborhood it's like a ghost town..they are all indoors playing MW3 instead of outside climbing trees (Oh no Johnny might break an arm!) or building a fort (Nope can't do that someone might get a splinter and sue!) Exploring the woods (Ticks) Riding bikes as fast as they could go. (Don't forget your helmet,kneepads,elbowpads, cellphone and sunblock!) Do your kids a favor, Turn it off whatever it is and tell them to GO OUTSIDE.
James Bond June 26, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Kids now-a-days...........What goes around will come around! Can't wait for kids-now-a-days to have kids, so start laughing now,they won't be:)
Maria Giannuzzi June 26, 2012 at 08:32 PM
You know Paul, I don't think there are many school principals or superintendents who have food, books and sneakers thrown at them (although there may be some exceptions). The bullies know that you as a bus driver as well as low-paid workers for the school district can be assaulted or harassed because there will be no consequences. If a school principal was threatened or hit with a book or other object by a student, the police would be called. There have to be consequences, real consequences, appropriate for a child, whether the person being bullied is another child, the school principal, a bus driver or bus monitor.
Marty Salvatore June 26, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I hear you, Spiff, but it just seems like a tired argument. People ALWAYS talk about the Good Ol' Days and how "these things would NEVER happen in my day." Well, Ruby Bridges happened Back Then. Matthew Shepard happened Back Then. It's hard for me to believe that things have gotten much worse. I think the REAL difference is the pervasiveness of the media. See, this would NEVER have gotten media attention if not for the kids' ability to upload it to the internet. In turn, it never would have gotten national media attention if not for the 24 hour news cycle. I call it The Face Eating Zombie Effect, if you catch my drift.
funeralsr4u June 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I hope ms Kline uses some of the money to by each family a paddle. It was different in my generation, if it was found that I was a participant I would have been grounded, and I would have the educated, in a safe humane way with the paddle....
sean June 27, 2012 at 01:23 AM
@Bill- I can tell you that a mere 4 years later, Class of 1986, much worse behavior went on than what that bus monitor put up with. I know my bus was so unruly that one day the bus driver literally quit mid route. He simply pulled over, got on the radio and told dispatch he had enough, walked off the bus, and we never saw him again. I guess one can only drive a bus filled with cigarette and weed smoke, while kids constantly throw the used up batteries from their walkmans at your head while screaming that you are a greasy no good spic, for so long before you snap.
Olive3 July 03, 2012 at 11:43 AM
These children are under 16. Who is responsible for what happens to them, food, clothing, shelter and their welfare? The parents. The school systems should be allowed to mandate the parents at the earliest age of problem conduct to attend classes or ride the buses, sitting next to their child. One day, two days or whatever justifies the "crime". When it effects the parent in time and money, with the backing of the schools, how long will it take for the bully to feel differently with his mother or father sitting by his side. Not so tough then. Children are who we help mold them. You can't start at 14. This is where are society has changed for the worse. Mothers or fathers should have the resources to be able to stay at home for as long as necessary (and high school kids need even more watchful guidence). Unfortunately, many can't afford to. I say bring them into the classroom and pay them a stipend for the day and you will start to see behavior of our children change.

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