It was a long summer for Karen Klein, the now retired school bus monitor who gained international attention after a video of her being bullied by students went viral earlier this year.
In addition to the media attention and countless number of talk shows she appeared on nationwide, Klein received more than $750,000 in online donations made to an account originally set up to allow her to take a deserved vacation. More than 30,000 people from 80 different countries contributed to the fund.
She and her family got that vacation over the summer, shortly after she resigned from the Greece Central School District in Rochester, N.Y., visiting such locations as Boston and Disneyworld in Orlando, Fla. But as we reported in August, Klein is also using some of the cash to start her own anti-bullying foundation. Klein re-appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” Thursday morning and spoke with guest anchor David Gregory as part of anti-bullying month nationwide.
“I never did see the whole (video),” she said. “I don’t want to.”
As many student transporters have told us, or at least secretly thought to themselves, Gregory asked Klein why as a school bus monitor she took the abuse thrown at her in May, the last day of school for Greece CSD.
“I’m glad I didn’t now that this happened,” said Klein, referring to the added awareness her incident caused and the fact that she was able to start her foundation. “Now, maybe we can get this bullying thing known.”
She did admit that she probably should have reported the incident before the video was uploaded to YouTube by one of her bullies, but it was the last day of school and she figured she wouldn’t have to deal with the boys any longer. Plus, she added, she had no idea one of the boys was recording the incident on his cellphone video camera. It was only the next day when school administrators who were investigating the video met with her that she realized what all the commotion was about.
“I can’t believe it happened. No one should put up with that. I can’t explain why I did what I did or why I didn’t do what I should have done,” she told Gregory. “I hope nobody else has to go through something like that.”
The four boys who were involved in the verbal taunts were suspended from school for one year. Klein said they are currently attending an alternative school, must serve 50 hours of community service at a local nursing home and are barred from all extracurricular school activities.
Gregory asked Klein what kind of conversation she would you like to see parents have with their kids regarding bullying and, in particular, her video.