She could be my aunt or my sister. She could be me. She could be you or someone you love, and she is in pain.
The camera keeps rolling, recording unrelenting abuse heaped on the 68-year-old bus monitor for the Greece School District in Upstate New York. The four middle-school students who bully Karen Huff Klein are not content to humiliate and scorn her. They throw in threats and ugly innuendos. The brutal, ten-minute video is excruciating to watch.
The bus keeps rolling. No one comes to her defense.
The good news is the video has gone viral. People around the globe have weighed in to support her, including this job offer from Wegmans Food Markets:
#KarenKlein demonstrated grace and courage. She hasn’t yet, but she’s welcome to apply for a job @Wegmans.
Max Sidorov of Toronto wrote on Reddit, “As soon as I saw that video I decided to take action!” He started an Indiegogo fundraiser for her. His intent was to raise $5,000. As of this writing, and with 29 days left in the campaign, the fund totals nearly $360,000. What started as the hope of raising enough money to give her a vacation has become a fund that will also allow her to replace her small salary ($15,506 a year) with a comfortable retirement.
Still, no amount of money can heal the attack on her spirit. Karen Huff Klein was just doing her job, trying to make sure students traveled safely to and from school. She wants the students to apologize but does not want the police to press criminal charges. When the Democrat & Chronicle asked her if she planned to return to her job next year, she said: “Yeah…because all kids aren’t bad.”
Well said, Karen Huff Klein. The kind of bullies who attacked her are a minority of the students. They are also a minority among colleagues in the workplace or students in a fraternity house. However, their power is greater than their numbers, and their impact is devastating.
The school district is investigating the incident. So are the police.
Because the video was posted on YouTube, people around the world are waiting to see how the students will be handled. The money will improve her life, but Karen Huff Klein will carry the scars until she dies.
The students need to do more than apologize. They need to understand the consequences of their cruelty and to make restitution.
What do you think, Care2 readers? What could these students do to make amends for their actions?
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Photo from YouTube video
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