In June 2012, four seventh-graders from Greece Athena Middle School in New York filmed themselves verbally assaulting their bus monitor.
The victim, a widow named 68-year-old Karen Klein who worked for the school district for 23 years, calls the experience “one of the worst acts of human behavior that I have ever had to endure.”
Videos of the incident were uploaded to YouTube and Facebook. In them, the male students can be heard taunting Karen, calling her names like “fat-a**” and saying her family “all killed themselves, because they didn’t want to be near you.” The heartbreaking reality was that Karen’s husband passed away and her son committed suicide 10 years prior to the bullying incident.
The students go on to mock Karen’s appearance, age and clothing, and even touch and threaten her while she breaks down in tears. It’s horrifying to watch.
But the videos sparked outrage around the world, and viewers sought justice for Karen.
One of those viewers was a stranger in Toronto who had been bullied as a child — and what he did for Karen will shock you to the core…
Back in 2012, 68-year-old Karen Klein had been working for the Greece Central School District in Upstate New York for 23 years.
Karen has been a widow since 1995 and has eight grandchildren. She is also partly deaf and uses a hearing aid.
She was a bus driver for 20 years and a bus monitor for three years.
As a bus monitor, Karen oversaw the children’s safety on the school bus and ensured students were well-behaved.
In June 2012, Karen’s life was changed forever. Four male students in seventh-grade verbally assaulted her while she worked her bus monitor shift.
The middle-school boys can be heard on videotape bullying Karen with nasty comments about her age and appearance.
Karen tried to ignore the brutal attack — but when she admitted to the students she was crying, they said it was because she missed her box of Twinkies. They repeatedly called her a “fat-ass,” touched her, and threatened to egg her house, urinate on her door, and even physically harm her.
One boy refers to Karen’s family, taunting, “They all killed themselves, because they didn’t want to be near you.”
The heartbreaking reality is that Karen’s son committed suicide 10 years prior to the devastating bus incident.
Three separate videos of the incident were uploaded onto social media.
The videos went viral with millions of views and sparked worldwide outrage. People everywhere demanded justice for Karen.
School officials and local police launched an investigation before revealing the bullies’ identities to the public.
Karen, however, decided not to press charges — partly because the bullies began receiving threats.
The Greece Central School District announced the boys were going to be suspended from school for one full academic year. Each student was required to complete 50 hours of community service and complete a program in bullying prevention.
Meanwhile, Karen used her sudden fame to advocate for anti-bullying.
Acts of kindness and generosity poured in, and that’s where Karen’s story takes a heartwarming turn. For example, Southwest Airlines offered to pay for a trip for Karen.
But it was a complete stranger living in another country who ultimately restored Karen’s faith in humanity. Max Sidorov, a Ukrainian immigrant living in Toronto, heard about Karen’s story and felt such an impact that he started an online campaign to help give Klein a vacation.
Within weeks, the fund surpassed its $5000 goal and raised over $650,000!
Max said Karen’s story resinated with him so much because he was a victim of bullying as a child.
On July 27, 2012, Karen announced her bittersweet plans to retire as a bus monitor.
She put her earnings to good use and established the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation.
“You have all inspired me by your acts of love,” Karen writes on her website. “But now it is time for me to give back and to turn your single act of kindness into my own personal movement to stop bullying in America. The Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, which I am seeding with $100,000, will be the gathering point for millions of people to support the anti-bullying movement.
Together, we will change the world.”
Thank God Karen got the justice she so deserved. Bullying has become an epidemic, and it must be stopped. Please SHARE Karen’s story with your friends on Facebook.