June 22nd, 2012
06:00 PM ET

Emotional, widespread reaction to harassment of 68-year-old bus monitor

By Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN) - Karen Klein is probably not the first face that comes to mind when you think of a poster child for bullying.

Yet there she was, sitting in the back of Bus 784 as it rolled through the streets of Greece, New York, on Monday afternoon. Four middle school boys barraged her with verbal abuse, jabbing her about her weight, attacking her family and chuckling as they made violent and graphic threats. Except for a few even-keeled retorts, the 68-year-old bus monitor brushed sweat from her brow and remained quiet, peering up front and out her window, seemingly waiting for her hellish ride to end.

Her suffering may have gone unnoticed had not one of the young teenagers posted a 10-minute video of the harassment on YouTube.

By Wednesday, police were interviewing Klein and her alleged verbal abusers. And by the next day, as the video began going viral, she had become a cause célèbre.

Her torment became a prism through which total strangers the world round characterized her experience as symbolic of everything wrong with modern-day parenting, children and more. Beyond anger, some expressed sadness for the seemingly defenseless older woman who, they felt, bravely suffered the slings and arrows flung at her for no good reason at all.

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Filed under: Age • Bullying • Social justice • Who we are • Women
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Connor

    I 14 years old and I just want to oplogize for my generation. I actually got sick after the first 10 seconds of this video and not because I felt bad in my tummy, I felt bad for this generation. I'm so sorry and I wish I would've been there to stop it. I'm so sorry.

    June 25, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. bleugirl

    What these little monsters did goes far beyond "bullying". Their invectives were malicious & threathening. Further, their actions are indicative of sociopathic behavior. Part of their punishment should include mandatory psychological counseling. I wonder what types of people raise "children" such as this?

    June 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. usmcbrat 0712

    The kids responsible for those disgusting comments should be banned for riding that school bus. Let their parents find a way to get them to school since they are just as responsible for what their children did. In addition to that punishment let them do community service that shows them respect and humbles them. If they would treat an adult like that imagine what they are doing to other children.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      I think 1000 hours of community service, for the children, AND all of there legal guardians, would be an apt punishment. Also if kids want to act like adults, then we should get rid of juvie, and hit them with adult penalties

      June 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |