Bus Monitor Karen Klein

Bus Monitor Karen Klein

Jun 23

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FOR BULLIED BUS MONITOR, A WINDFALL TO EASE THE PAIN
By Jennifer Preston
New York Times
June 22, 2012

Original Link

About $600,000 has been raised online this week for a 68-year-old school bus monitor from upstate New York after a cellphone video showing a group of boys on the bus brutally taunting her spread quickly on the Internet.

The monitor, Karen H. Klein, of Rochester, who drove a bus for the nearby Greece Central School District for 20 years before taking her current job three years ago, was sitting in the back of the bus on Monday afternoon when seventh-grade boys began pelting her with vile remarks and one profanity-laced insult after another about her weight, her hearing aid and her sweat glands.

A student captured the encounter on his cellphone and posted it on his Facebook page. On Tuesday, it was posted on YouTube, titled “Making the Bus Monitor Cry,” where it has surpassed 4.7 million views. The video prompted outrage around the Internet, with users on Reddit urging people to send Ms. Klein messages of support, and to call and e-mail complaints to the school.

After viewing the video, Max Sidorov, of Toronto, responded by raising money online for a vacation for Ms. Klein. He originally set a goal of $5,000, but has exceeded that total more than a hundredfold.

“Let’s give Karen a vacation of a lifetime, let’s show her the power of the Internet and how kind and generous people can be,” Mr. Sidorov wrote. “Karen, you have no idea what’s coming!”

Ms. Klein, a widow for 17 years, told reporters in many national interviews this week that she was deeply touched and overwhelmed by the global outpouring of support for her.

School district officials said they were reviewing the episode.

“Certainly the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our district’s code of conduct and will not be tolerated,” said Deborah Hoeft, assistant superintendent for student services. “Disciplinary action to the fullest extent appropriate under New York education law will be taken against all involved.”

Capt. Steven Chatterton of the Greece Police Department said that the boys involved were cooperating with the investigation and that three of them had apologized to Ms. Klein in statements.

Ms. Klein told the police that she did not want criminal charges pursued against the boys, who are 12 and 13, but that she hoped they would not be allowed to ride the bus for at least a year.

In the statements, released by the police, one boy said, “I feel really bad about what I did.” The boy, called Wesley, continued: “I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.”

A statement from another boy, Josh, said: “I am so sorry for the way I treated you. When I saw the video, I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Sidorov, who started the vacation fund, can now look forward to a financial reward for his efforts. An online thank-you campaign is under way for him. It has already raised $4,000.

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UPDATED DISTRICT RESPONSE TO YOUTUBE VIDEO
Greece Central School District / Greece Athena Middle School
June 23, 2012

Original Link

The Greece Cenral School District has been touched by the outpouring of support for Karen and we share the country’s outrage over the behavior displayed on the videos. We are deeply sorry that Karen was subjected to that kind of treatment.

Based on our internal investigation, and the interviews conducted by members of the Greece Police Department, we have identified four Athena Middle School students as participants in the incident. Certainly the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our district’s Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action to the fullest extent appropriate under New York Education Law will be taken against all involved. However, as we stated yesterday, it is not appropriate for the district to discuss the specific disciplinary consequences that will result for any individual student.

I need to stress that we have a specific process that we must follow before imposing discipline on students. Discipline for public school students in New York State is handled under specific procedures set forth in the New York Education law. In the event that a district is seeking a suspension of more than five days, the district must prove the student’s violation of its Code of Conduct in a due process hearing before a hearing officer. If the student is found guilty, the hearing officer makes a recommendation for an appropriate period of suspension to the superintendent of schools. Each case is determined based upon the actions engaged in by the student as well as consideration of a student’s prior disciplinary record.

As is shown by this unfortunate incident, bullying is not a new issue to those who work in schools. The Greece Central School District has a strong bullying prevention model that includes a district response team, training programs for staff and students including the Olweus Bullying Program, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and a Bullying Reporting Process. In March, we also hired a special counselor to train all staff in bullying prevention models. In fact, she is holding a previously scheduled training for administrators as we speak.

The behaviors displayed on this video are not representative of all Greece Central students and this is certainly not what we would like our students to be known for. We have worked very hard to educate students on the damaging impact of bullying and will continue to do so.

We have received thousands of phone calls and emails from people across the country wanting to convey their thoughts. People are outraged by what has happened and they feel the students should be punished. While we agree that discipline is warranted, we cannot condone the kind of vigilante justice some people are calling for. This is just another form of bullying and cannot be tolerated.

We all need to take a step back and look at how we treat each other. It is our job as educators and parents to teach children and lead by example. We encourage parents to use this as a springboard to begin a dialogue with their children about bullying, respect and consequences. As a school community, we will continue to take the lead in bullying education and we encourage all students and employees subjected to bullying and harassment to report it as soon as it occurs and to take a stand if they are witness to bullying in their lives.

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PRINCIPAL STATEMENT REGARDING BUS INCIDENT
Greece Central School District / Greece Athena Middle School
June 23, 2012

Original Link

I am deeply saddened and embarrassed by the actions demonstrated recently by some of my students. I am sorry Karen has been subjected to this kind of student behavior. I am working with Capt. Chatterton and an investigator from the Greece Police Department, as well as, our head of security at the Athena campus and District leadership to investigate this matter and to determine each student’s specific role. Disciplinary actions to the fullest extent will be taken against all those involved.

Having been born and raised in Greece, a graduate of Greece Athena and now the Principal of Athena Middle School, I, alongside my colleagues, are driven to educate and support our students. I am working to ensure that my students are successful, have the appropriate study habits and skills and are respectful, responsible and productive both in the classroom and in the greater community.

At this time, I ask for your support and understanding that we are doing everything we can to understand the events that occurred and that the district is working to address this issue with all staff to make sure an incident like this does not happen again.

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