Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

What we can learn from the bullied bus monitor


June 26, 2012

I was as appalled as everyone else who saw the video of the seventh grade boys in Rochester, N.Y. who bullied their bus monitor on the school bus two weeks ago.

Karen Klein, the bus monitor, acts professionally as she sits in her seat just listening to the taunts and criticism that kept spewing from the mouths of these boys. Not once did she raise her voice or even look at them threateningly.

Honestly, I cannot even comprehend how she sat there and wiped the tears from her eyes without jumping out of her seat and yelling at the boys to stop.

As I watched her interview on the Today Show with Matt Lauer, she was calm and saddened by the behavior of these boys. Even Lauer expressed more anger towards the boys when he said he wished he could tell everyone their names over the air, but knew that he couldn’t.

Since then she has chosen not to press charges and continually shows forgiveness to them and their parents.

Her behavior and forgiving attitude is a true lesson to anyone who has been verbally abused or bullied by another person, which is everyone, I am sure.

Even as the boys are receiving death threats, Klein’s concern has been for the boys, who wishes them no harm saying, “I didn’t like that,” when she heard about the threats.

It is easy for us to sit back and judge the parents who are raising those boys saying things like, “it must be their parents,” or “I’m sure they hear these kinds of things at home,” but this isn’t usually the truth when it comes to what kids say and do out of sight of their parents.

The more likely scenario is that they are trying to impress their friends or those whom they wish to be their friends. “Showing off” or falling prey to that “crowd mentality” that often happens to kids.

Supporters of Klein have raised over $450,000 to send her on a vacation. The original goal was $5,000. However, because of the generosity of people all over the country, Klein will be able to use the money for retirement and enjoy a DisneyWorld vacation thanks to DisneyWorld and Southwest Airlines.

Again Klein has shown class as she passionately thanks all of those who have donated to the fund.

Her wish for the boys is to complete community service, a punishment that seems to fit the crime. Maybe the boys should wash the school buses they rode on while insulting the grandmother who monitored the bus in an effort to keep them safe. Or better yet, they should have to clean up her yard each and every week for a year.

In the end, Klein has been a great example to each of us who has ever been wronged. Hopefully those boys will always remember the kindness they were shown by the person that they hurt so publicly.


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