In a cringe-inducing cell phone video, 68-year-old Karen Klein is bullied relentlessly by middle school students. Klein is bombarded with profane language, insults, threats and cruel taunts. The students repeatedly call the mother of four and grandmother of eight ugly, a troll, smelly and worse.
Klein is just trying to do her job; she's the bus monitor for students in Greece, New York. In the video you can see she's surrounded by the kids leaning out of their seats to harass her, and even touch her while calling her fat.
At one point, she tries to ignore them and look the other way when one of the boys jabs the backside of her arm with his finger and then a book, prompting the others to comment on her "jiggle" and "flab."
Early on in the clip when Klein is visibly shaken, she tells the boys she's crying. One of them responds, "She probably misses her box of Twinkies." The intimidation continues when they ask where she lives so they can "piss" on her door, perform sexual acts and steal from her.
The pre-teen bullies want to find out just how poor their bus monitor is so they demand to know how much she paid for her purse and if her home is a trailer. One guesses, "she probably eats deodorant because she can't afford real food." The verbal assault includes a back and forth where the kids one up each other by guessing what would pour out of Klein's stomach if they stab her.
Perhaps the most painful part of the video is what's heard last when one of the students says "you don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son committed suicide 10 years ago, according to CNN affiliate WHAM.
After video of the degrading scene went viral, a fund raiser page was created on a website to give Klein a vacation. The original goal was $5,000 - the total surpassed $200,000 Thursday afternoon and continues to climb.
Tonight Anderson Cooper will talk to Klein about the incident, ask what she wants to see happen to the kids and how she feels about the huge outpouring of support for her. He'll also get her reaction to the following statements from two students who were part of the incident and two parents of students involved:
Josh: "I am so sorry for the way I treated you. When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again."
Wesley: "I feel really bad about what I did. I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them."
Wesley’s mom: “I cannot even tell you how badly I feel. I am deeply sorry for what my son did. I wish there was some way to make it up to you. I would like it if he could do some work for you or help you in some way. I'm sure that you don't want him anywhere near you or your property and I don't blame you. I am embarrassed, angry and sad about the awful way he treated you. I am truly sorry.”
Luis’ father: "We apologize, from the bottom of our hearts on what happened. We wish this will never happen again, to nobody and from nobody. Like Luis said, if your friend says to bully somebody, please don't do it....A couple of people have already died because of this. We apologize to Ms. Klein. We're deeply sorry."
See the interview at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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