When Karen Klein, her two daughters and six grandchildren return from their all-expense-paid trip to Disneyland (thanks to Southwest Airlines), she may have a fresh perspective on the horrible bullying she endured. What likely will not change is her belief most students are good people.
The Greece, New York, bus monitor was leading a quiet life until the incident thrust her into the limelight. With four middle-school students cruelly mocking her and one of them recording the abuse for YouTube, she fought back with her only weapons: integrity and tears.
Max Sidorov from Toronto saw the video. He had experienced bullying himself when he was younger. He launched an Indiegogo fundraising effort to send Klein on a vacation. So many people contributed to the fund the total had topped $677,000 at the time of this writing. Contributors have been leaving sympathetic notes along with their donations.
While Klein was receiving this outpouring of generosity, the boys and their families were enduring death threats, hate mail and ugly phone calls. Some comments on Care2 expressed some of the same “eye for an eye” sentiment.
The Greece Central School District issued a press statement saying the students had been suspended from school and from regular bus transportation for a year. During that time they will attend an alternative program where they will receive formal instruction “related to conduct and behavior.” Parents will be involved in the program.
The students will complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and a formal anti-bullying program. If they do well during their first 30 weeks at the Reengagement Center, they can apply for readmission to middle school.
Next: The Aftermath
Photo credits: Thinkstock
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