UPDATE: Klein has taken to television to thank her supporters. She has also declined to press charges against the children who harassed her.
Metro's original story is below.
Supporters of Karen Klein, the upstate New York school bus monitor who endured vicious harassment from a group of young students, have donated thousands of dollars after a heartbreaking video went viral.
The sickening 10-minute clip on YouTube shows Klein, who works for the Greece Central School District, as she fell victim to hateful comments until she wept. The middle school students repeatedly berated Klein, calling her "fat," "ugly," "poor" and "stupid." They verbally abused her for the duration of the clip, mocking and taunting her, even threatening to urinate on the door of her home.
Klein reportedly said the comment that hurt the most was when a student
told her she is so ugly, her kid "should kill themselves." Klein's son
committed suicide ten years ago.
The difficult-to-watch video was uploaded to the Web by a user who wanted to "show the world how f----k up kids are," according to the posted description. It immediately sparked a sweeping show of support for Klein from people both in and out of the upstate New York community.
Max Sidorov of Toronto, Canada saw the video and said he felt compelled to take
action. He launched a project today on the fundraising website Indiegogo in an
effort to collection donations to send Klein on a vacation. In five hours, he had raised $16,000 — more than Klein earns in a year as a bus monitor, according to the project page. The donations continue to pour in and Sidorov is currently trying to get in touch with
Klein or her family so he can send her every penny.
"As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to do something, and this fundraiser
was the best that I could come up with," Sidorov, who said he was the victim of bullies as a child, told Metro. "I never
expected [to raise this much]."
Meanwhile, Greece Central School District officials have fielded countless phone calls about the video and vowed to punish the students involved.
"All students found to have a role in this incident will face disciplinary action," district spokeswoman Laurel Heiden told Democrat and Chronicle.
Local police are also investigating and charges could be brought against the harassing students in family court. The intense backlash of the video, though, has police and school district officials concerned. Many commenters have made threats against the students or wished violence upon them.
"These kids need found and beaten until an inch of their lives," one YouTube user said.
"In real life, it would take me less than a minute to f--k their faces up," another person commented.
"Their whole family should be butchered," a user added.
School officials urged the public to remain patient during the investigation: "Although their behavior was inexcusable, we also have concern for the safety of all involved," they said in a statement. "We urge patience to allow us to investigate and determine the appropriate discipline."
UPDATE: As of Thursday afternoon, Sidorov's campaign had raised more than $204,000 for Klein.