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Bullied on the bus.

COLUMN: IN OUR OPINION; EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE

A cellphone video showing a docile, matronly bus monitor being taunted by four students is anything but a sunny start to the summer vacation.

It is, though, an education - brought via the Internet to parents, teachers and others in 10 atrocious minutes.

Karen Klein, 68, was quietly riding a school bus with middle-school students in Greece, N.Y., near Rochester, when a handful of kids began verbally attacking her for her weight. "Verbally attacking" doesn't do justice to the cruelty, shocking not just for the vile things said, but for the casual and relentless way the abuse was delivered.

As the bus monitor at times shed tears, studied the suburban scenery out the window, attempted to stare down her insulters, or talked hesitantly with them, the kids - seemingly led by a nice-looking but particularly foul-mouthed boy - kept the bullying going. They called the bus monitor "fat," "old," "poor," an "elephant," and a "troll." Addressing her by first name, they asked where she lived, spoke of cutting her with a knife, poked her skin, and mocked her earrings, her purse, and her perspiration. All the while, they flung the F-word as if their sole known adjective.

The incident is being widely reported for the apologies she has received from some of the bullies, and for the huge fund for a vacation that Internet users have donated for her - which had exceeded $500,000 by Friday morning.

But the real story is that, were it not for the video, this would probably have been just another bus ride. There would have been no consequences other than the debilitating tiny scars such experiences pile on in participants and witnesses.

Ms. Klein is not pressing charges, but these students are in serious need of some extra lessons in civility and respect.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 23, 2012
Words:303
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