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June 23rd, 2012
01:31 AM ET

Boy who bullied Karen Klein gets death threats

The father of a boy who harassed Karen Klein says his son is receiving death threats. He calls the incident "life-changing" for his family and doesn't believe his son will behave like that again.

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Filed under: Bullying
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Banderson

    I blame parents for allowing their children to be socialized by the public schools. The definition of socialize from thefreedictionarydotcom:
    1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
    2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
    3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.

    When you send your children to be under someone else's care for 8 hours daily and your interaction with them is limited, this is what you can expect.
    I laugh when others complain that homeschool students are not socialized. My children are caring, loving and respect people of all ages, because I am responsible for their socialization, not a group of ill-behaved, ill-supervised youths. If you think your kids won't get sucked into behaving like those around them, you are wrong. Schools are harsh and kids feel pressure to socialize themselves with those around them. In some schools it is necessary for survival. Children are too week not to succumb to the pressure. Place any good child in a peer group such as this and you might be surprised at what your impressionable child is capable of doing.

    June 29, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Christine

      @Banderson....It is wonderful that you have the ability to home school your children. Not all people have that option.

      @everyone else.......I want to say first thing that what happened to this woman is horrible and I definately feel for her. Having said that, I find it very interesting the comments on here that are just bashing the parenting skills of the parents of the kids involved. I know as a parent, I did the best I could with what I knew, but that didn't stop my child from getting caught up in some things that I definately taught him was wrong. It is called peer pressure people. Remember that? Oh and by the way, if you think your children are little angels that do know wrong. Think again. They just weren't caught..

      July 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  2. G-Maherself

    Consequences:
    - no more bus for those involved for the remainder of their time in the school system (high school included) including sporting and special events. The parents will now provide all transport.
    - a hand written essay explaining their behavior are to be read aloud by them, in front of their parents, grandparents, and other senior family/associates present at their church and the local senior center(s).
    - I wouldn't want them anywhere me or my house. Have them do the yard work, etc. at a community park.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  3. bullybeatdown

    dont like it when the shoes on the other foot!

    June 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  4. jamesnyc

    After watching this, I can see the contrition in this man. He did punish his kid. What a child does can have an impact on how the family sees itself. Judging from the fact that the father confronted his kid about it and his taking away his son's privileges and that the kid is under virtual house arrest means the kid isn't getting off scott free and that the father went and saw Mrs. Klein and owned up for his kids mistakes and apologized shows that this Dad is on the right track.
    In this case, beating your kid like an animal isn't going to make this kid any better. I do think he needs counseling.
    It does remind me of something my Dad would say though (chuckle); "If someone else puts their head in an oven does that mean you have to?" (translation don't do things just because others are doing it). Yep, Dad had the right of it.

    June 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  5. Sumo

    I've heard enough. Someone needs to confiscate his "#1 Dad" coffee mug.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  6. Rob G

    Here is a great idea. It's called bully the bully. The principal behind it is to teach bullies what if feels like to be bullied. Feeling the pain they cause others will make them aware of what a victim feels, and make them quit bullying. For a small percentage, sociopaths, etc..., it won't help.

    June 28, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  7. Rick Springfield

    I know this lawyer family. They taught their kids to swear at the earliest age because there really is no bad words. They taught their kids how to throw a fit at a store or restaurant to get their way or a free meal or item. They are leading DUI attorneys in their town which means they represent people who do bad things. Their kids are spoiled rotten and would not have just insulted the lady but they would have pushed, shoved, hit, and dumped coke on her. Unfortunately for one of the kids I am talking about, he committed suicide at age 23 after he graduated college. Nobody would hire him because the lawyer family upbringing he got did not prepare him to work in the real world. They blamed the people who turned him down for a job and are now considering a lawsuit.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  8. vinyl45s4ever

    There is plenty of blame to go around. The bullies have been exposed and will have to accept their well deserved shame. The incident was much worse than anything the elderly woman ever experienced while working as a bus monitor, indicating that it is not the norm, but an extreme. Her demands of harsh punishments for the bullies make her look bitter and angry. Perhaps she should be less vengeful.

    We live in a society focused on punishment and revenge. If everyone was indeed caught at and punished for all transgressions, we would all be in prisons. We all get what we deserve, but somehow we enjoy seeing others suffer, which makes us all less human.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  9. Harriet Boo

    alright so.. from what i can tell, his dad hardly gives a damn about what his son has done, and doesn't really think it's a big deal and is totally siding with his piece of crap trash bully of a son. saying he didn't punish his son because "he... uhh.. don't really know how to deal with this situation.." is a TERRIBLE reason. if that was my kid, i would punish the living hell out of them. there is NO excuse.

    does the dad even realise the severity of the matter? THIS IS THE NEXT DAMN GENERATION. I'm only 16, but it scares me to think that these are the people that will be running the world, I am thankful in my country i would never see anything like this, because i would be very very angry at a lot of people...

    June 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Mark

      Honestly you have to figure that this man was partly responsible. He somehow raised this kid to believe that his bullying was acceptable.

      He failed his son, I think part of him knows it (even though he may not be totally aware of this this) and is trying to hide the guilt from himself.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
      • ab

        Does that mean that your parents are somehow partly responsible for all of your behaviors? I've done some terrible things in my life, even as a child, but I would never dream of blaming my parents for those things. All of us make choices. All of us have to be accountable. Sometimes parents share blame. Sometimes they don't.

        June 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Scott Z

      As any negative behavior in a child is an opportunity for a learning moment – if managed correctly. The father of the boy obviously has not had to deal with a situation like this and I commend him for not acting out immediately with an incorrect action that would lose this opportunity to to teach. it is pressure to act and speak immediately and to satisfy the media and the emotional needs of viewers and the public that create short sighted and incorrect decision making.

      I would recommend that the Wesley and his counterparts of the bullying incident be required to go to Ms Kleins house to garden, mow, do repairs, paint etc. – this will enable them to know her and see how she lives and understand the person they bullied. That she is human – with many of the same fears and insecurities they share and not a fixture on a bus to amuse them for 20 minutes day. With the proper action theses boys can be taught to be more considerate and empathetic towards others. though some may view this an not harsh – it takes of their free time while strives to correcting the mindset of subjects behavior rather than strictly negatively reinforce the behavior.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
      • Brian Krebs

        That was a very thoughtful comment. In fact, the most empathetic and yet pragmatic I saw in a few minutes of scrolling. So many are so quick to judge the father, the boys, even the victim. There is no black and white here. Let's calm down the rhetoric, which is unproductive at best, and realize that the child is just that, a child, and needs to learn from this experience. In the same way, the father should also use this experience to learn. The lack of empathy that comes across in people's comments in a completely anonymous venue like the internet is sometimes pretty disturbing. Parents, has your child never done something that you didn't approve of? Young people, have you never done something you are ashamed of?

        June 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Btru

      Well spoken. Perhaps there is hope for our youth.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Paul

      I totally agree with you. I didn't see any contrition, just kinda going through the motions, especially when he hemmed and hawed about punishment. He also seemed to be suppressing a smirk.

      July 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  10. JonfromLI

    That's ashame that his kid is getting death threats, but I would love to know who this father, who took it upon himself to portray his kid as the victim now on national tv, disciplined his child after learning of what he did.

    Klein herself has suggested that she doesn't believe the kids are really sorry, and I for one believe her.

    June 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  11. deb

    Now this is just silly. The same people who think what he did was wrong are now the same people who are bullying and threatening him. Does that make any sense at all? People need to all get lives and worry about their own self and families and their own concerns and stay off the web, since it seems that many just are lost in lala land over these sort of stories. Get a grip people and move on with your own lives and work and take care of your own business. This is really a sad state of affairs we have going on in this country. I for one am tired of all these stories about bullying and stuff. Get a backbone tell the person or people who are bullying you to stop and stay away from them or avoid them if you have to. Just tired of all the political correctness in this country.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • jamesnyc

      You don't sound like you have ever been bullied. NEWSFLASH. People try to avoid the bullies, they can't. You try to walk away and they won't let you. If you aren't trained to defend yourself, you could be seriously injured if you try to retaliate. If you are trained, you could face charges for assault and battery for beating the absolute snot out of these kids.
      The only flaw in this is that she was a person in authority and she should have stopped the bus and made the kids walk except she probably would have been arrested for endangering a minor.
      Her only chance was to take the kids back to school and have them expelled. It sounds like the parent is clueless.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  12. Kylie A

    You would think in this day and age the kids would have thought twice about what they were doing let alone doing it do an elderly woman/grandmother......not to mention everyone posts stuff on Youtube now......

    The only problem I had with the whole thing is if the lady (Klein) knew it was wrong....she is still the adult and should have absolutely called out the kids in front of everyone and at the very least informed the bus driver and then the school what was going on....

    It never should have continued and people should not wait for someone with a cell phone to call attentiion to something...

    Right is right and Wrong is wrong......stick up for yourself!!!!!

    June 26, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • hmmm

      U.S. "democracy" has gone so far that people are afraid to do anything that might be wrong but best for the situation, for greater good you may even say. So in this situation whatever she may have done to help herself, probably, would be turn against her later when she was being sued by those children parrents because everything is possible and USA is the best country in the world!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • tam

      Agree totally. Why not tell the school immediately upon arriving back at the school bus depot? Was she 'hoping' to get $ out of this? For those who think bullying the teens and death threats are ok, you need a serious time out yourself. When did two wrongs ever make it right?

      June 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Pam

        Seriously, you can't be blaming this woman for anything. It's entirely possible and likely that she was embarrassed by it. Do you tell everything that happens right away? Or are you holding out for financial gain?

        June 29, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • ctbeckyw

        Ms Klein wasn't looking to make a buck. She was going to put up with the kids antics and not say a word. It is the kids who got themselves in trouble by videoing it and putting it on YouTube. It was a stranger who started the fund to gather just a few thousand dollars to send her on a nice vacation to show that not all people out there sukc. The kids are getting threats now? Hmmm. I think it's karma. What goes around, come around.

        June 29, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  13. Molly

    As a parent of a pre-teen boy I think a lot of these comments are WAY, WAY WAY out of line. I know I raised my son right. But I also know there are times when kids are showing off to each other that their brains are not attach to their mouths. You can not always blame the parents when kids behave badly. Anyone who does who has kids knows this and people who don't make dumb remarks. A parent can not be there to control their kids all the time and they will make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes this woman understands that. What those kids did was wrong. They thought they were being funny, they knew they were being hurtful but they didn't understand just how bad it was. That is why they are called kids not adults. So why don't some of you back off, try to be alittle understanding. Cause some of these comments are worst that what anything those kids every said and YOU are surpost to know better.

    June 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  14. WutAnon

    Awesome.

    June 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  15. alex

    Guess idiot dad should have thought about that before he got on tv with his 'what my son did was stupid' statement. He should have video taped is kid going over to that women, NOT AT HER HOME, at work and apologizing like the man he will never be. Then volunteering at a homeless shelter, cleaning cages at the human society or volunteering at a Senior Center, cleaning. Or my fav...attend the autopsy of a bully who got what he had coming. Oh wait and maybe humans should stop breeding until they learn how to be parents.

    June 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Perhaps a better punishment would have been to make the kids involved spend two days a month mowing the lawn, doing chores or helping Ms Klein with stuff. Then, they could get to know the lady as a person and not just some old lady that rides the bus and is a target for bullying. All kids should be exposed to people from all walks of life and be taught that everyone is important to someone-someone's grandma, someone's mom, friend, spouse. Mrs. Klein strikes me as the type of person that would probably start whipping out the cookies and lemonade for her "helpers" and engaging them all in good conversation and could, if they would take the time, be a good mentor for some of those young people who might not have grandparents living or nearby.

      When you are helping someone, you see a diferent side to that person. Kids today are not exposed to the idea that they owe the older generation. All they see is what they are told by television, movies or magazines.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  16. Jane

    Sir. Your child and the other children were very clearly were inspired in this by the popularity of similarly ugly "bullying videos" uploaded by like-minded children on Facebook.

    Any adult who takes an interest in what's going on for young people in 2012 knows about the contribution video phones and the internet (especially social network) make towards bullying. They have awareness of the new and unpleasant level easy recording facilities and sites like Facebook have raised it to. This is where some level of monitoring, of your child's activities, comes into it. Talking to them about these issues, getting an idea of where they stand on them – and making your views (and the "right thing to do") clear.

    Stop being so hazy, unclear and uncertain – start learning how to give clear, unambiguous directions to your child so that he can develop a better moral code than he's developed thus far. Don't settle, either, for "I don't know why I did it." If your kid doesn't know why he did this horrible thing – well, as long as he's confined to the house he has plenty of time to start thinking about it – and writing about it in an assignment you set for him. Topics I would suggest you encourage him to explore

    1. Making direct reference to the abusive comments he made, outlining what he was thinking at the time. What emotions – if any – he had. If he experienced any guilt during the incident – and, if so, why he didn't follow the strong "stop" message that feelings of guilt give people when they're doing the wrong thing.
    2. His personal responsibility in this
    2. What his response in this situation should have been
    3.The impact his actions have had on his victim....and, latterly, on himself and on family members
    4. What he believes he can do to atone for this.

    Looking at this video, I'm not surprised your child isn't clear about boundaries. You don't seem very clear about them yourself. I'm sure you're a very nice person, but sadly it takes a bit more than being a nice guy to raise a decent and respectful human being.

    June 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  17. derp

    Great, teach the kid about bullying by giving him death threats.

    America, getting dumber by the minute.

    June 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  18. Jennifer

    I think the woman that was made fun off ( new buzz word Bullying ) did very good in not saying what she wished she could say to the kids. Now that she is getting so much money for it is amazing. This is not something new. I have suffered this all my life and it still continues. I get so tired of hearing narrow minded crap. I have grown up around so much crap it is not funny. People need to realize that a Free Country, does not mean Free to Say and Do to another Humane Person is Ok. No one has a right to be Rude or Mean to another person at All. I really am sick and tired of it all.The sad part is people are judged by appearance and race or nationality. This is never going to change. History shows that this is not something that was invented or new.Here is the extreme. Woman is taughted by rude little brats... Gets lots of money.... Little brats now gets Death threats.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  19. rosiecoloredglasses

    The father seems to be skirting responsibility when he says, "I don't know any parents that would teach their kids to do something like this or teach their kids to disrespect other people. It's ridiculous to blame the parents" (3:30). Of course no parent actively teaches their kids to harass others, but what parents do ensure is that their kids have the sensitivity to not want to inflict pain on others, and the humility to realize that you are only one of 7 billion people on this planet – what gives you the right to infringe on someone else's well-being? I think the parents have a lot of responsibility in this situation – for turning out kids crass and arrogant enough that such actions could even cross their minds. I'm put off that the dad seems to think his responsibility for his kid only extends to the legal, since the kid is under 18, and that for some reason, his own anger and horror at the actions in the video ameliorates his son's actions.

    June 24, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  20. John

    Awwww... what a shame. The worm turns, no?

    June 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  21. teacher

    Clueless father. "I've never had to go through any of this with my son before."

    June 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  22. art grunden

    Maybe we should punish the parents, who are partly responsible. You can't say that these kids were raised with a good sense of right or wrong. This will get negative comments but those 4 should be bullied, preferrably by older people (I'm sure we can find some senior citizens who who could be intimadating and scary in their own right). Bottome line is these 4 hateful kids need to be punished.

    June 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |