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Bus Monitor Bullying Video is a YouTube video of Greece, New York resident Karen Klein being bullied by a group of middle schoolers while sitting on a school bus in June of 2012. After Internet communities became aware of the video, Klein received a significant amount of sympathy and donations from online strangers.
YouTuber CapitalTrigga uploaded a video titled “Making The Bus Monitor Cry” on June 19th, 2012, which featured Athena Middle School bus monitor Karen Klein being verbally harassed by several students calling her “fat” and “poor.” In the video description, CapitalTrigga revealed that he found the video on Facebook and was not present during the taping of the incident. Within two days, the video accumulated over 1.8 million views and 45,000 comments.
On June 20th, 2012, Redditor jelloleaf submitted the video in a post titled “Kids call bus monitor ‘fat’ until she cries and they still don’t stop”, accumulating over 4,800 up votes and 3,100 comments within 24 hours. The same day, Redditor JDHalfbreed submitted a post titled “Hey guys, can we find a way to brighten Karen’s (the bus monitor) day?” to the /r/AskReddit subreddit, where Redditor pilvy replied with audio recordings of a Rochester, New York radiocast featuring several 4chan guest call-ins. Also on June 20th, a “Kindness for Karen” Facebook page was launched, which received over 4,100 likes within 24 hours.
On June 20th, 2012, Redditor Heavyballsareheavy submited a post to the /r/Assistance subreddit titled “Lets Give Karen (The Bus Monitor) H. Klein A Vacation of a Lifetime!”, which linked to an Indiegogo page where people could donate money to Klein. On June 20th, the video was posted in a thread in the /b/ (random board) on 4chan, where several users replied with links to the Indiegogo donation page and a Pastebin file supposedly containing the bullying students’ personal information. This initially led some people to speculate the fundraiser was a scam, but it soon became evident that the donations were real
At 7:00pm EST, Redditor sanfrustration submitted a post to the /r/bestof subreddit revealing that the Indiegogo donation page had received over $26,000 in donations. At 12:10pm EST on June 21st, Redditor razorsheldon updated his “Call to Arms” post to report that more than $196,000 had been pledged. As of 2:40pm EST on June 21st, 2012, the page has received over $264,000 worth of donations.
News Media Coverage
On June 20th, 2012, the incident was subsequently covered by several news sites including Hyper Vocal, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Gothamist, Gawker and The Daily What. On June 21st, the story was reported by mainstream news media outlets including NPR, CNN and CBS.
Google News timeline of articles covering the story.
The same day, the Rochester, New York news site Democrat and Chronicle published an interview with Klein (shown below, left), in which Klein said she would like to receive a letter of apology from the bullies. Also on June 21st, Klein appeared on The Today Show (shown below, right), where host Matt Lauer called the children “narrow-minded monsters.”
On June 26th, Karen Klein met with the Redditor who started the IndieGoGo fundraiser campaign, whose identity was revealed as 25-year-old nutritionist Max Sidorov from Toronto, Canada. During their meeting at Klein’s home in Greece, New York, Sidorov said he was once a victim of bullying and felt that he had to do something after seeing the video. The following day, Klein and Sidorov’s meeting was broadcast on ABC’s morning news program Good Morning America.
On July 20th, the IndieGoGo fundraiser for Karen Klein’s summer vacation ended with a grand total of $703,873 contributed by 32,271 people. On July 22nd, Klein spoke with the local news stations YNN, revealing that she planned to retire from her bus monitor job, which pays an annual salary of $15,000, and would be investing in the stock market and donating a percentage to charities.
“I want to thank everyone for everything they’ve done for me, and I can’t possibly thank each one individually. So, I guess a general announcement would be, thank you everybody.”
On August 23rd, the Internet culture news blog The Daily Dot published an article revealing that Klein was using $100,000 to launch the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation.
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