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Update: Bus Monitor’s Tormenters Punished

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The incident has shaken the community of Greece. No community likes to think of itself as a place where a kindly grandmother would be subjected to cruel taunting. They held a rally in her support.

One blogger’s reaction pointed out the constant abuse meted out to people who carry a lot of extra weight. Writing for Daily Kos, gravitas13 points out:

The nation seems shocked at the treatment bus monitor Karen Klein received by a bunch of unruly school kids.  But why are we so shocked at these kids behavior when our society does the same thing, day in and day out.  Is our concern just big fat hypocrisy?

What rock can we crawl under to avoid fat bashing?  Fat people are lampooned in sitcoms, villainized on the big screen, stereotyped on talk shows.  Even if we turn off our t.v. sets, who can go to the supermarket without noticing those in your face tabloids about best and worst beach bodies?

As for Karen Klein, she is looking forward to returning to her quiet life as a grandmother – and perhaps even a bus monitor. She drove buses for 20 years until failing hearing pushed her out of the front seat and into the back. She likes kids and has no interest in pressing charges against her young tormenters. She agrees with their punishment but not their harassment.

Klein’s life will be financially easier. She will be able to do more things for her children and grandchildren. She will probably donate to two causes close to her heart – autism and Down’s Syndrome – because two of her grandchildren are affected.

As a new celebrity, Klein has been showered with attention everywhere she goes. She has met Max Sidorov. She has been sent on a trip to Boston. She has given dozens of interviews and been showered with flowers.

When the attention dies down, questions will remain. In the Toronto Star, Niamh Scallan expressed a sentiment on a lot of people’s minds:

Klein says she’s ready to forgive. But even as the world’s generosity and support continue to shatter expectations, last week’s trauma — an event that redefined cruelty in the minds of many — will be hard to forget.

It’s a conflicting feeling that will undoubtedly linger in this shaken community even after the news trucks pull away from Klein’s street and the limelight moves elsewhere.

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43 comments

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2:03PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Poor lady. Kids suck sometimes. Where are their parents?

1:42AM PDT on Sep 9, 2012

I voted NO because i think the response are way to nice to the perps!

10:47AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

I heard she was going to give much of that money to family members caring for children with Autism and Down Syndrome.

Glad to hear the parents have to have some training too, but I think the boys need to go live for a year with relatives in a school district that is multi-ethnic, very tolerant, and has strict policies about bullying.

5:17PM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

Bullying should not be tolerated - even a little bit. I heard one father of one of these boys suspended say that he thought the public exposure was punishment enough for his son. With parents like this, no wonder the kids did what they did. We need to restrict some people from having kids - and probably animals.

2:56PM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

From what I have read it seems that some people are jealous that others donated to that woman, because nobody ever helped them when something happened to them. Get over it seriously. And as for those kids being kids, that is a crock of sh#$!! If kids are taught not to disrespect their elders that carries through even their teenage years. I admit I was not an innocent teen, but never would have I talked to and older person that way, and I would have knocked the crap out of any other kid I seen doing it!! I was brought up with respect though, and I still feel that way. Anyone who disrespects and elderly person for just sitting there needs their A@# whooped, and the parents do need to be taught something. Why do you think young people are so crappy anymore, because of their parents!!! It starts at home it is just no one wants to take responsibility for their children anymore! If you can't take responsibility for your kids then you shouldn't have had them in the first place!!!!

12:29PM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

Char I guess you didn't read the second page. She is donating some of the money to charity.
As for fighting back, what was she supposed to do. Personally I would have loved to slap them all up side their head but then the parents of these (little darling) would have me in court so fast it would make my head spen. If she had even said anything back to them they would probably have gone running to mummy and daddy saying that the mean old lady had talked back to them and sued her for harassing their sweet little darings.
Char what would you have done????

12:28PM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

Anyone wondering what their parents are like, I can assure you they do not know their kids like the likes of me does. Kids show the angelic side to their folks and their dark side to the like of me. I know, that’s been my life for nearly 30 years, since I started in school. Kids do that. It might not be right, but they do. And anyone thinking these kids are special, need to open their eyes.
And those parents who go on and say that they haven’t raised their kids to be like that, need to get a reality check. Your kids are gonna do whatever the bleep they want the moment you turn your back on them. You don’t know them, you only know PARTS of them.

And quite frankly, an adult woman who cries when she’s called fat and ugly shouldn’t be bus monitor. If that’s all it takes, she isn’t cut out for the job. Let’s face it, she has picked a job where verbal abuse is quite likely, and if that’s all it takes for her to cry, then she has lived an very sheltered life. When they actually try to follow you or pull a knife, that’s when it’s time to get frightened. Words mean very little, especially said the way these youngsters are saying it.

10:25AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

It's a start, but we must monitor the kid's behavior to make sure they, and others, stop the bullying.

9:18PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Char, I can think of far worse uses for this money than brightening the day of an elderly woman who was subject to undeserved torment by those thoughtless brats...oh, and she didn't "choose to be a victim", but was instead victimized by those kids.

Yes, there are plenty of people who endure bullying and aren't financially compensated for it (myself included), but if people chose to donate to Ms. Klein, that's their business. As for her not taking any action to stop the verbal attacks as they occured, consider how lawsuit-happy our modern culture is, and maybe you'll understand why she was limited as to any action(s) she could take during that time.

Oh, and have you ever donated to any of these other people you mention that need the $$$ more than Ms. Klein, by any chance? Just wondering...

8:33PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

I admire this kind woman and am so glad that her life will be easier financially.

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