June 21st, 2012
11:16 PM ET

Bus monitor Karen Klein opens up about kid bullies

School bus monitor Karen Klein tells Anderson Cooper what she hopes happens to the boys who harassed and threatened her.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Bullying
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Rob

    What a colossal disappointment these kids are for their parents. And when Mr. Helm says it's absurd to put accountability at the foot of the parents–then who in heck is raising them?? Don't believe any apology from that kid he's only apologizing because he got caught. Why is the dad apologizing publicly when it should be the kids who should be having to post apologies on YouTube. Brave enough to post the abhorrent behavior; well then be brave enough to post the apology but of course if you don't mean it then why post it, right?

    June 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  2. Sharon W

    I just sent some suggestions to you and I have no idea if you received them.
    !. Have the parents talk to the police about the boys spending a night in jail over the weekend.
    2. They should do some chores for the lady, cut her grass during the summer and other odd jobs.
    3. Fall they should rake her leaves and clear her sidewalk and if she has a driveway of snow and continue doing odd jobs into the next school year. They will learn responsiblity of growing up of respecting their elders of family or friends or strangers.
    4. This rude behavior is all over not only public schools, private schools, business, public places; you name it and it's all over and much worse in Europe.
    5. This behavior starts at home and needs to crushed Now! It's like a disease that is out of control for decades.

    June 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  3. Sharon W

    I'm from Omaha, Ne., and it's fine people are very concerned about this dear lady in what she went through on the school bus. Harrassment is an on going situation in schools from elementary to college.
    I have a suggestion if the parents of the boys who did this, even though some have apologized. How about the parents talk to the police and have the boys spending a night in jail over the weekend. This is not harsh, nor mean but a wake up call of what could or might happen if they go the wrong direction in life of robbery, stealing and so on.

    This is just a suggestion and I believe it might really scare them of what they did is Very Wrong.
    Also, along with the Parents and the Police are serious and mean business. They should also do some community work of cutting the ladies grass and any other work she needs for the summer. They should also continue helping out when school starts of raking leaves, clear snow off her sidewalk and or driveway.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  4. b.p. Spratlin

    Excuse me! Did anyone else hear the female progressing the bullying of Karen? I am a 57 year old female, and women of my age still do this. Some people never seem to grow up! Have you been in the grocery lately and see how the female customer talks to the lady checker? I just take my turn and say,"I'm so sorry she talked to you that way." Perhaps sometimes we should say, "stop that!"

    June 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  5. Dennis P

    Along with millions of others I was moved by what happened to this lady. The kindness of the person that put up the page on Indiegogo is wonderful and it certainly has surpassed his expectations. In looking at Indiegogo I see some people starting to think it is a SCAM. My suggestion is that with your influence you follow this...perhaps get a financial advisor, an attorney, yourself, or some person or company of stature involved and make certain that the donated funds go to Karen Klein. I want to believe the good citizen will follow through with this but a large sum of money is building and it would be good if there were transparency with Karen's money. I could be a great follow up show to let people know that kindness does exist.

    June 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  6. sehnaz

    I felt disgusted by watching the video of the kids verbally abusing an older person. I want to see the mothers and fathers of these kids, because their kids learned this from them. They need to make their names public information, so the public can deal with them on their own level... including with the cowards who saw all this and did not have the balls to say something like Luis , whom we saw on tv... he videod but had nothing to do with it... right...Enough is enough, PARENTS if you don't teach manners to your kids... you will reap what you saw at old age... stand up and be a parent....

    June 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Michele

    Anderson Cooper deserves much praise for his efforts in supporting someone's Mom, Grandmother, Woman and most of all a member of the Human Race. It is a reflection of someone in power and the media who promotes kindness on the airwaves. Media, Hollywood and Humanitarians take note! It's been too long since kindness was promoted more than angar. I am so thankful for his and others efforts to combat bullying. No one should have to suffer national news in what was humiliating enough on the bus. I still believe in the human spirit of America to rise above social norms and reach into the hands of tomorrow as a role model for peace. As I age it is not easy to accept. In other countries age is respected and regarded as golden. Betty WHite's Off Your Rockers should give them a visit. I think the Karen is beautiful inside and out and deserves a crown for her humility and beauty as she refused to respond to their level even asking for them not to rec. punishment. She is truly a peacemaker and thanks for noticing Anderson.

    June 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  8. Randall

    For all the people who responded yesterday that Ms. Klein was not competent to do her job or that her superiors were incompetent for putting her in that position, I would like to respond. The position of bus monitor is not tantamount to Chief Financial Officer for a publicly-traded corporation nor a candidate for vice president. To project such lofty vetting requirements on this position is ludicrous. Ms Klein handled the situation in a fully appropriate and professional manner. The children were not bullying other children but rather were abusing her - no children were in danger. Ms. Klein could have lashed out in anger - and what would that have proven? Such bullies probably hail from homes that favor the resort some form of violence as a way to control behavior. Ms. Klein responded in a way that was most human: she silently accepted the abuse and tried to sublimate its message. The light of righteousness was ultimately shined on her actions, and as a final testimony to her decency, she only asked that the bullies "never do this to another person." Somewhere there is another bus monitor, or similar worker, who is elderly and trying to get by in a job that does not pay very well in a world that seems to have lost respect for our seniors. Ms. Klein's quiet defiance and graceful handling of a bad situation has undoubtedly helped those who will face a similar circumstance. The world needs more Ms. Kleins.

    June 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Jay-70 yr old grandma, Canada

    Sorry the lady was put through this by horrid kids but.... This is a grown woman so a teasing by a few little brats is unpleasant but hardly traumatic. More important are these questions: 1) If it had been a child enduring 10 min of this, what would she have done – nothing? What does a bus monitor do? 2) What was the driver doing about it? 3) What are the protocols when bullying occurs on the bus? 4) They gave a terrible message to the other kids on the bus – if you are bullied don't expect an adult to intervene!

    June 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  10. Merrill

    I am sad for this woman, the parents who raised these kids and these pathetic kids and their evil behavior.
    But....what is the job of a 'Bus Monitor'. Does the school district just plant someone in the bus seat, like they would a potted plant? Are there any qualifications for this job? Does the individual need to be able to discipline/repremand the students.
    Are there procedures for students who misbehave? Same as those in the school? I blame the school district for putting an individual in this job that had no obvious ability to deal with the out-of-line kids.

    June 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  11. Lisa Marth

    Punishment should be community service. They should have to go to other schools and be the "true" examples of speaking on the subject of bullying.

    June 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  12. Lynne Horn

    Those kids only apologized because they got caught. Its a shame that they did what they did...Shame on them.

    June 22, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  13. sally

    I take it theses boys were raised by a pack of wolves! the acted like they dont have parents. If my child ever acted like that I would be at a loss for words. This is pure bullying with all the storys of bullying these days they didnt get the memo? oh not when you live with the wolves. But some one was smart enough to post this vidio. I think some one needs to go madea on there sorry butts and teach there parents how to be parents, because they havnt done there jobs. Even if they only have one parent there are no excuses for this to happen, where is respect your elders at? these kids are sad and there parents are even sader. They do need some form of punishment from the courts!

    June 22, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  14. John L. Slomko

    I think think their parents should be accounted for. Thats what happens when you spoil your children. ITS CALLED RESPECT AND IF YOU DONT LIKE IT .RESPECT YOUR ELDERS. THEY WERE HERE BEFORE YOU AND IF YOU CANT DEAL WITH THAT. Get counseling.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  15. Cath T.

    Wow. I guess I'm the first to comment on this here.

    While I feel for Ms. Klein, I can attest that this sort of behavior is nothing new. I've experienced it all my life, from the time I started riding the school bus when I was eight to the present time, 47 years later. Whenever I'm in the company of a group adolescent males whom I don't know, I hear comments like these. Fat people, especially fat females, are easy and gratifying targets; It's easy to upset us, to get a reaction, and as Ms. Klein surmised, I believe they try to outdo each other in how vicious and hurtful they can be. They seem to take pride in it. I've experienced this sort of abuse from groups of adolescent females, as well, but not as consistently. I've heard it all enough times that I, like Ms. Klein, no longer give them the satisfaction of a reaction, but it took me some 35 years to accomplish that self-control.

    While this incident is nothing new to me, I am quite surprised at the general reaction people seem to be having to it. Considering the general societal attitudes about fat people, and fat women in particular, fat people are perceived to be fair game in the predominant culture. Indeed, I would wager (and probably win) just about any amount of money that more than half the people who are "astonished" or "appalled" by this completely average and normal behavior have also participated in such incidents when they were adolescents. I wonder if the general reaction to the video of this particular incident isn't, at least in part, the result of self-recognition and embarrassment. It certainly should be.

    Finally, I'm glad one of the young men involved was proud enough of his friends' behavior that he thought to record the incident. No one ever believed me when I recounted such experiences in the past – not even recently. This is a brilliant mirror held up to the face of the predominant culture.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  16. Charles Harris

    I'm disgusted by the behavior of these children and the behavior of their parents, we're in a society where parents aren't getting involved and taking responsibility of their own children's action. They don't need to be charged or suspended from their school, but they do need community service for thirty days, they need their phones and computers taken away, they need to pick up trash from the side of the roads or helping the elderly. Their parents need supervise and make sure they're doing all these things so they can think twice before doing something like this. They need a stern talking too, their parents needs to be involved and they need to learn that what they do have consequences and that these actions aren't acceptable.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  17. really411

    So very, very, very disappointing and sad to see the lack of respect for humanity in this video. I hope AC360 stays on this story, and these children are punished for their behavior, including community service, preferably in a nursing home. Kudos to the dad who did apologize to Ms. Klein and Southwest for giving Ms. Klein and nine guests a vacation to Disney World. Prayers and blessings to this woman.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  18. kara

    I really feel for this woman and she is very strong but what about the kids who endure this every day for years and have no support and are lacking the life experience to deal with this type of abuse.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:01 am |