Four students suspended for bullying bus monitor
Retired bus monitor Karen Klein, of Greece, N.Y., sits at the controls of a duck boat, an amphibious tourism vehicle, while floating in the Charles River, in Boston, Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP / Steven Senne)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, June 30, 2012 11:30AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 30, 2012 11:12PM EDT
NEW YORK -- Four seventh-grade students from upstate New York who were caught on video mercilessly taunting a 68-year-old bus monitor have received their punishment.
The school system in the Rochester suburb of Greece says it will suspend the middle school students from school and from using regular bus transportation for a year for bullying Karen Klein.
The students will be transferred to a special alternative education program because the district is legally required to give them an education. Each student also will be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens.
They will be able to reapply to middle school after they complete the discipline.
In a statement, the school system said each of the students involved admitted wrongdoing, accepted the consequences and agreed to let the district publicly release the terms of their disciplinary action.
The cellphone video posted online by a fellow student drew millions of viewers. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore a stream of profanity, insults and outright threats.
One student taunted: "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.
Eventually, Klein appears to break down in tears.
A fund drive that began with a goal of $5,000 to help Klein take a nice vacation raised more than $667,000 as of Friday.
Klein has received national attention through social and news media with interviews such as an appearance earlier this week on NBC's "Today" show. She was honored Thursday in Boston, where she was greeted by a youth cheerleading squad and escorted on a red carpet to receive an honorary Boston school bus monitor certificate.
Klein could not be reached for comment Friday. However, police have said Klein did not want the boys to face criminal charges.
In an Associated Press interview last week, Klein asked people to leave the boys alone.
"Threatening them? No. That's not the way to go about things," she said. "They're just kids.
"I don't want to judge anybody or put them in jail or anything like that. I just want them to learn a lesson."
WSYR-TV in Syracuse first reported the school district's decision.