Harassed Bus Monitor Starts Anti-Bullying Foundation
By Jonathan Noah
(CNN) — The upstate New York school bus monitor who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations after a video of her being harassed by students went viral has decided to use some of the proceeds to start her own anti-bullying foundation.
Now retired, Karen Klein, 68, has decided to start her own campaign, called the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, on the website giveback.org. “This is for education, for people who have been bullied,” Klein told CNN affiliate WROC.
Klein was working as a middle school bus monitor when four students berated her with a stream of profanity, insults, jeers and physical ridicule.
The verbal abuse continued unabated for about 10 minutes while another student filmed the altercation on a cell phone camera.
The video posted to YouTube on June 19, where it received more than 8 million views, showed giggling students from the upstate New York community of Greece heaping insults onto her and jabbing her with a book. The grandmother of eight sits quietly, weeping at one point.
An outpouring of support for Klein resulted in a crowd-funding campaign on indiegogo.com, with an initial goal of $5,000 to send the weary bus monitor on vacation.
The campaign officially closed in late July, having raised more than $700,000 in donations from more than 32,000 people around the world.
Klein’s daughter and administrator for the new anti-bullying foundation, Amanda, told CNN that her mother took home about $650,000 and will be donating $100,000 to her organization. The Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation will provide funding to various organizations and charities for anti-bullying causes.
“This is always something she’s wanted to do,” Amanda said.
The foundation officially kicks off in October when Klein and others start a weekly anti-bullying tour. According to Amanda, Miss Teen USA Logan West and Miss Universe Leila Lopes of Angola plan to be involved.
“The goal of the anti-bullying campaign is to help teach kids and teens about being kind, friendly and playing nicely with others,” Klein says in a video on the foundation’s website. “Because of my own personal bullying story, I’ve now decided to become an advocate of change.”