A video of New York schoolboys taunting a 68-year-old school bus monitor has gone viral, watched more than 1.65 million times since it was posted online June 19. It’s led many people to decry a new low in an increasingly coarse culture and to ask: What’s wrong with our children?
Social media is driving an effort to try to help the monitor, Karen Klein. More than $278,000 — and counting — has been raised. The money is ostensibly a “vacation” fund for Klein, but it’s turning into a financial indicator of the public’s outrage over the boys’ bullying behavior and a way to collectively apologize to Klein.
Here are just a few of the comments posted on YouTube, where the video can be found, and on the fundraising site created on the monitor’s behalf.
— “Lost all faith in humanity.”
— “We need to be a kinder country than this. Bullying needs to stop!”
— “Parents, this is our wake up call! It’s time we expect more from our kids — starting with common decency.”
The 10-minute video plays like a reality TV version of “Lord of the Flies.” The gray-haired Klein sits mostly silent on the Grace Central School District bus in North Greece, N.Y., as she’s mocked by foul-mouthed 12- and-13-year-olds who repeatedly pelt her with f-bombs, call her fat, poke at her hearing aid and comment about how much she’s sweating.
Click below to watch the video (Warning: contains graphic language):
As the harassment increases, the boys call her a troll, ask for her address so they can urinate and deficate on her doorstep, and say that if they used a knife to cut her open, hamburgers would slide out.
Almost at the very end, one of the boys says — “you don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.” Of all the barbs, that one might have hurt the most: Klein’s son killed himself about 10 years ago.