(NEW YORK) — A bullied upstate New York bus monitor who got national attention after a video of boys lobbing insults at her went viral said she doesn’t accept the boys’ apologies, according to media reports.
“I think they can do better,” Klein told TMZ.
The 68-year-old grandmother got national attention after a video of middle school boys in Greece, N.Y. was uploaded to Youtube. By Friday afternoon, the campaign had sailed above its $5,000 goal — to over $600,000.
In a twist of events, police said the bullies are now being targeted. One boy received more than 1,000 threatening text messages in one night. Someone even called in saying they took one of the families hostage.
“We had to respond to that as it is almost a barricaded gunman,” a police spokesperson told ABC News. “Then we had to set up perimeters and get the house surrounded. And then we had to try to make contact with the people, and they are inside their house and they were fine.”
Robert Helms, the father of a 13-year-old boy who was caught on video tormenting Klein, said his family has received death threats.
“You’ve got to remember. He’s a thirteen-year-old kid. It was a stupid mistake and he’s paying for it,” Helms said.
In the days since the video incited outrage and sympathy in equal measure, two of the four boys in the video have come forward to apologize. In statements released through the Greece Police Department — in which their full names are redacted for their protection— the boys, named Wesley and Josh, expressed shame at their actions.
“I am so sorry for the way I treated you,” Josh wrote. “When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again.”
In its first 24 hours the fundraising campaign — on Indiegogo.com, a website that helps advocates raise money for various causes —raised $125,000. From there, the total jumped approximately $15,000, Klein’s annual salary as a bus monitor, every three hours. By Friday afternoon, the campaign had sailed above its $5,000 goal — to nearly $550,000.
More than 7,500 signatures have accumulated on a Change.org petition urging President Obama to allow Klein to receive the donations tax-free — even though the money is not taxable.
In the video, the boys relentlessly hurl insults at Klein, especially about her physical appearance. At one point, a boy says that if he stabbed Klein in the stomach, “my knife would go through you like butter because it’s all [expletive] lard.”
After they repeatedly poked Klein and threatened to “break into her house” and unleash a pit bull on her, one of the boys uploaded the video to YouTube.
During most of the video, Klein is seen attempting to tune the taunts out. But at one point, the grandmother of eight is seen wiping tears from her eyes.
“Are you sweating? Karen, Karen! Are you sweating?” one student asked.
“I’m crying,” she replied.
The fundraising campaign will remain open for 27 more days.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stefania Okolie and Gabrielle Harmon, CNN