The video is painful to watch: a school bus monitor in her 60's in Greece, New York, becomes a target for vicious taunts and insults hurled by middle school-aged students. It goes on for ten minutes.
"What's your address so I can p**s on your house?" says one laughing student.
"Look at your ugly f*****g earrings," says another.
"Hey fat **s", jokes another.
"Karen, do you have herpes?" asks another.
The students laugh and use expletives to make fun of Karen Klein's weight and hearing aid. They physically torment her, and at one point make her cry.
The incident might be isolated. But a national expert says, don't think for a second this is the first time school kids have bullied an adult.
Anne Foster is National Director of Parents for Public Schools, based in Jackson. She says children come to school with some of their personality and morals already in place, as learned at home.
"We all need to realize that schools, particularly public schools, are dealing with kids every day who come with this inclination, with this behavior," she says. "I don't think we can express enough appreciation for our schools for trying to take those kids, mold them into citizens, and help them get to a better place."
It's Foster's job to encourage parents to be connected with their schools. She says all community groups have a role in helping parents instill proper values in children.
"I believe it's the role of parents to teach children to treat others with respect and dignity. Then, I think all institutions in our country, schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, community groups, it's up to the rest of us to help parents instill those values over a lifetime with kids," Foster tells us. "When that's not happening, I think we all have to look and say, is there anything we can do to create a kinder and better society? I think we can look at our entertainment. We can see some of the meanness and violence that young children of an impressionable age are exposed to. I think we can see they're affected by that. We're going to get whatever we're willing to put up with."
The school district where the incident occurred says disciplinary action will be taken against the students involved.
The video has prompted a groundswell of support for Klein. MSNBC reports that more than $200,000 has been donated to send Klein on a dream vacation.
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