Education | New York | Video

Rochester Bus Bullies Receive Their Punishment


For ten days, Andy's been reporting on the ongoing drama that's enveloped the life of Karen Klein, the 68-year-old grandmother and bus monitor who was ruthlessly bullied unto tears by a pack of Rochester 7th graders. A video of the abuse went viral, landed both Klein and one of the abuser's fathers on AC360, and led to an online donation campaign meant to provide Ms. Klein with a much-needed vacation. (The campaign has raised north of $640,000 and counting -- Klein says she'll use the money to "pay some bills" and donate to a Down's syndrome charity.) Now, the Rochester school district has meted out its punishment to Klein's abusers: One year suspension and 50 hours of community service.

From CNN:

"Following individual meetings this week with school and district administrators, each family waived their right to a hearing and agreed to one-year suspensions from school and regular bus transportation," the Greece Central School District said in a statement.

The students will be transferred to the district Reengagement Center, it said. Each will also be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and must take part in a formal bullying prevention program.

It might be worth repeating: The offending 7th graders will be forced to perform community service with senior citizens. No doubt, the experience will prove enlightening for the boys -- but will the seniors get any say in this?

(If you've somehow missed it, please refer to the original bus harassment video AFTER THE JUMP ...)


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  1. I think the community-service consequence is perfect! However, the school suspension for a year is a bit harsh. They certainly shouldn't be allowed to ride the bus for a year, but their peers at the regular school should bear witness to their service to the community; it would be instructional for the whole school to experience these kids' experience through personal stories.

    Posted by: ABandy | Jun 30, 2012 1:43:07 PM

  2. Please...a one-year suspension is VERY reasonable, lenient even. This is more punishment than I was anticipating, but I still don't think a juvenile prosecution would've been unwarranted--they threatened the lady with robbery, assault, and sexual assault.

    And if this had been my child, he'd be spending the rest of his summers hauling hay, or doing some other hot, dirty, uncomfortable, low-paying job, all of the proceeds from which would go to Mrs. Klein, or a charity of her choice.

    Posted by: Lick This Bedpan, Boy | Jun 30, 2012 2:00:55 PM


    Posted by: THE QUEEN | Jun 30, 2012 2:22:45 PM

  4. You know what's weird to me? Throughout this whole thing, we've never heard a peep from the parents of these kids? Surely they must have something to say for themselves

    Posted by: Ealan14 | Jun 30, 2012 2:23:32 PM

  5. Since this is the weekend, I'll moderate my tones.
    The little monsters should have been hung by their balls.
    One year is a joke. It should have been the rest of their school requirement at hard labor.

    Posted by: enough already | Jun 30, 2012 2:27:40 PM

  6. I'm glad someone recorded this and put it on the internet. Those kids deserved to be punished. I know we all behaved a little badly when we were kids and it's to be expected but the kids in this case went way, way, way too far ! Does a "bus monitor" have any powers to punish these kids to stop this happening again ? It looked to me like she was helpless to do anything.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jun 30, 2012 2:46:48 PM

  7. as a former school administrator i agree that the 1 year 'suspension' is harsh; it actually is an expulsion (at least it would be categorized that in Chicago schools).

    one thing we don't know, and it would be hidden by law, is prior problems the school had with each kid; this could actually be another offense in a long line.

    they are required to attend and alternative school during that year but the problem with that is an alternative school is like sending someone to prison for having 1 gram of marijuana where there are very hardcore criminals. they could get a completely different education there.

    Posted by: mike/ | Jun 30, 2012 2:47:06 PM

  8. I'm satisfied that the appropriate punishment was meted out to these kids. They deserve every bit of it. I know that my own parents would have skinned me alive if they had ever caught me talking to an adult like that at their age. Let's not forget, however, that these are still middle school kids not adults. They have ample time, and now the means via their just punishment, to learn from their mistakes and turn things around in their lives. I hope they take advantage of this opportunity and that it makes a profound impact on them for good

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Jun 30, 2012 3:08:07 PM

  9. Hmmm...I'm not sure I agree with being suspended for a year and going to an "alternative" school, which according to @Mike, could negatively impact their education for a year. With all the other punishment, wouldn't it be enough? The kids would certainly feel the impact as much if not more by continuing in their current school, as they would likely be ostracized and feel embarrassed for their behavior (one would hope, anyway). I can't imagine they would be very popular after being despised by pretty much everyone in the USA and elsewhere.

    One glaring punishment missing is forcing the kids to apologize to Mrs. Klein in person...genuinely.

    Posted by: MattS | Jun 30, 2012 3:22:50 PM

  10. This is getting absolutely ridiculous. A one year suspension is way too much. They're children. Bullying is an epidemic, for sure, but are old white ladies really the recipients that need to be protected so fervently? Did she really suffer SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS worth? By her appearances since then she sure seems to think so. No interest at all in how the children might be properly disciplined or how this represents a much more pervasive problem let alone how it might be repaired. She just wanted them punished. Also I'm a little turned off by the ambiguity with how she's going to handle the ridiculously large sum of money. My sympathy is waning.

    Posted by: David | Jun 30, 2012 3:57:44 PM

  11. My question is where is the one year suspension when a gay kid kills themselves? Has any bully ever been reprimanded at all when this has happened?

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 30, 2012 3:58:07 PM

  12. This punishment could effect their whole lives. Suspension and expulsion to an alternative school is something they will have on their record for the rest of their academic careers. It will prevent them from getting into colleges. Does such a restrictive punishment fit the crime? And will something so punitive really solve any problem or teach these kids to be better or to be sorry for what they've done? No, it'll make them bitter.

    Posted by: David | Jun 30, 2012 4:01:48 PM

  13. This punishment could effect their whole lives. Suspension and expulsion to an alternative school is something they will have on their record for the rest of their academic careers. It will prevent them from getting into colleges. Does such a restrictive punishment fit the crime? And will something so punitive really solve any problem or teach these kids to be better or to be sorry for what they've done? No, it'll make them bitter.

    Posted by: David | Jun 30, 2012 4:01:49 PM

  14. David,
    I am a yellow-dog, far-left liberal.
    That does not mean I am an advocate of letting bullies off easily.
    Your arguments are based on racism (being a little old white lady should be no different than being a little old black lady or a great big man like me).
    Your argument that these poor little darlings are going to suffer for the rest of their lives and maybe not even get into college for being horrid little (whoops - can't say it, it's the weekend) well, just call them the worst name you can think off, is too weak to be worth merit.
    Actions have consequences.
    The punishment is not even close to heavy enough, but it is a start.

    Posted by: enough already | Jun 30, 2012 4:59:54 PM

  15. hmm, not sure what alternative schools are but it would be bad if those schools are for convicted and juvenile delinquents. 500 hours of community service would be a better punishment.

    Posted by: Malaysian Ho | Jun 30, 2012 5:14:09 PM

  16. I am with @ABANDY - From what is available to know about it, enforced community service with elders and no bus privileges seems reasonable; suspension/expulsion does not.

    Posted by: ptx | Jun 30, 2012 5:14:38 PM

  17. I hope they have replaced the bus monitor. She is uniquely unqualified for her position but is rewarded with 600,000. How well did she protect the younger childre on the bus? Punish the kids yes, but also fire the monitor and the administration that put her on that bus.

    Posted by: terry | Jun 30, 2012 5:24:22 PM

  18. I agree with the punishment, because this sets the example on any other kid who attends that school and/or rides the bus. You think every parent who has a kid in that school is going to be giving their kids a stern talk ? You better believe it. I say start installing cameras on the buses and this will clean up bad behavior and bad mouths. And I applaud Ms. Klein giving the money to a good charity!

    @EALAN14 you think those parents want to show their cowardly faces? And let everyone know what crappy parents they are? They should be forced to be publicly exposed so their employers and coworkers know what their values are: hate.

    Posted by: KuMiCu | Jun 30, 2012 5:28:59 PM

  19. Where is the punishment for anti-gay bullies?

    FACT: Heterosexuals, male and female, make trouble when they have time to spare. These students have begun a criminal lifestyle. They now have a year off. Their parents probably don't have the time or resources to keep them occupied. I'm sure they will get into more trouble.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 30, 2012 7:12:22 PM

  20. @Mike,

    After reading your post, I believe it's 'educators' like you who are part of our problem. Nothing personal, I'm sure you're a nice guy and all.

    The little punks got off easy,IMO. And they know they got off easy.

    And has any local media asked and gotten a response as to why this nice lady was placed in a job she couldn't perform?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 30, 2012 8:05:13 PM

  21. The people who say that one year is too long are the same type who pleaded for clemency for Ravi so that he could go on and terrorize again.

    Posted by: mikeflower | Jul 1, 2012 12:20:40 AM

  22. She's a stupid lady who should never have been a schoolbus monitor in the first place.

    Posted by: Sqqueak | Jul 1, 2012 2:56:29 AM

  23. The only thing missing here is a huge fine or jail time for each of the parents of these monsters. Watching their own kids commit this horridness on national video is not enough.

    They too should have to apologize and pay out a ton of money to this women in a civil suit, and also have some jail time and community service. You see, that will ensure the kids will have the snot beat out of them at home (which they richly deserve) and further most likely be sent to some hellish military school or other.

    Regardless, when people have biological entertainment babies, and refuse to parent them, society needs to treat them as harshly as possible for committing terrorism on the rest of society.

    Posted by: YESIMGAYGETOVERIT | Jul 1, 2012 6:30:43 AM

  24. finally, actual meaningful punishments that reflect the severity of their actions and will act as a deterrant to others. perhaps the criminal justice system for adults should take notice?

    Posted by: DanSwon | Jul 1, 2012 12:08:00 PM

  25. The punishment probably fits the crime. Now it is time for school districts to hire people who are capable of doing the job of supervising teenagers, which she clearly was not. Do you ever wonder why banks hire old retired men as security? The same reason school districts hire old retired people to supervise teens. MONEY. They know that they can't do the job, but they work cheap.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 2, 2012 4:03:44 AM

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