Taunted NY bus driver doesn't want bullies charged
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -
A New York school bus monitor who was
verbally assaulted by four middle schoolers, an attack that generated
international outrage and an outpouring of support for the woman when a
video of the taunts went viral, has told police she does not want the
boys to face criminal charges.
The monitor, 68-year-old
Karen Klein, told police she is happy with the swift and strong
community response against the verbal attack aboard a Greece Central
School District bus, which was captured in a 10-minute video,
authorities said Thursday.
Criminally charging the
boys, all seventh-graders, would require their conduct to rise to the
level of a crime, Greece Police Capt. Steve Chatterton said. So far, it
has not been found to reach that level.
The YouTube video was
viewed more than 1.5 million times by Thursday morning. An online
crowd-funding site raised more than $225,000 by midday to help send
Klein on vacation.
Klein said she hoped the
boys' parents would view the video of the attack and talk to their
children about being "a little more respectful." Parents of all four
boys are cooperating fully and say their children will be punished,
A student recorded the
video. In it, Klein is seen trying her best to ignore a stream of
profanity, insults and outright threats directed at her. At one point,
she breaks down in tears.
Klein told NBC's "Today"
show Thursday that it took "a lot of willpower" not to respond to
Monday's jeers from the boys riding the bus.
"I'm not usually that calm.
Just ask my kids," Klein, a grandmother of eight, said during the
interview. "I'm sure they don't act that way at home, but you never know
what they're going to do when they're out of the house."
Klein said she was "amazed" at the support she received.
"I've got these nice
letters, emails, Facebook messages," she said. "It's like, wow, there's a
whole world out there that I didn't know. It's really awesome."
The publicity over Klein's
case - an adult apparently being bullied by youths - adds a twist to a
recent surge in awareness that has brought the problem of bullying from
the classroom to the stage and screen to the White House.
In September, after
14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, not far from Rochester, killed himself
after complaining about being bullied about his sexuality, pop singer
Lady Gaga decried the loss of another life to bullying. She tweeted to
millions of followers that she would take her concerns to President
This year, the White House
held a conference on bullying prevention, estimating that it affects 13
million students, or about a third of those attending school. Obama said
he hoped to "dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of
passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not."
In April, the documentary film "Bully" examined the problem by following five kids over the course of a school year.
In Klein's case, she didn't
report the bullying, but school officials notified police when they
learned of it. The school may take disciplinary action. A school
district bullying-and-violence-prevention response team is
The district in suburban Rochester is the ninth largest in the state. Other videos of the verbal assault have also been posted.
2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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