Internet raises big bucks for bullied bus monitor

After taking verbal abuse from middle school students, Karen Klein, 68, is now the beneficiary of a vacation fund worth more than $300,000 -- and growing.

Update 2:20 p.m. PT: Since this story was initially published, the fund for Karen Klein has skyrocketed. It is now well past $300,000 and continues to grow. The fundraiser is set to continue for a month.

(CBS News) Karen Klein wasn't having the best of days when she was recently bullied by a bus full of students from Greece, N.Y.

The middle school students teased, taunted and threatened the 68-year-old school bus monitor. The incident was caught on video, posted on YouTube, and instantly went viral -- outraging many viewers.

The students, between ages 12 and 13, can be heard heckling Klein - calling her "a troll" and asking aloud why there's water running down her face.

"I'm crying," Klein said on the video. "Unless you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Video of Karen Klein, elderly school bus monitor, being verbally abused goes viral, sparks charity

Klein, who drove a bus for 20 years, kept her cool. But she told CBS affiliate WROC one comment really hurt.

In the video, a student is heard saying, "But you don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you."

"Something about me being so fat and ugly your kids probably should commit suicide," Klein told WROC. "I don't think they knew my son had....I wanted to punch them is what I wanted to do. So that's why I laid back, tried to ignore it. Because I really wanted to hurt them, you know? You can't do that!"

An Internet benefactor from Toronto, Max Sidorov, started a fund to send Klein on vacation, with a modest goal of $5,000. But as word spread online, the fund exploded. So far, it's raised more than $140,000 and is still growing.

Klein said she doesn't want the students to be criminally charged. But she wouldn't mind seeing them grounded all summer. And if nothing else, she just wants a simple apology.

This item first appeared at CBSNews.com under the headline "Bullied school bus monitor finds online support."

Corrected June 26, 10:11 a.m. PT: This story previously stated that the vacation fund for Klein was started by a family friend. According to the family, online fundraiser Max Sidorov has no connection to Karen Klein.

 

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