(NEW YORK) — Karen Klein is living proof that it’s not just children who are the victims of bullies.
The 68-year-old school bus monitor from upstate New York now knows she has defenders in every corner of the world after a video posted on YouTube called “Making the Bus Monitor Cry” showed Klein being tormented for 10 minutes by a group of middle-school aged boys, who called her fat and even brought up the suicide of her oldest son.
The outpouring of sympathy for Klein and rage directed at her young taunters is unprecedented, even in this age of many videos going viral.
A Toronto man’s plea for people to send money to a fundraising website so that Klein could go on vacation or possibly retire from her job of 20 years in Greece, N.Y., has raised in excess of $450,000. That’s coming from more than 15,000 people who chipped in $20 or less.
Clearly overwhelmed by what’s happened, Klein says that she does not want charges brought against the four boys who verbally tortured her.
Local police say that while the youngsters’ behavior was despicable, serious threats made against the boys and their families are equally intolerable.
Meanwhile, Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester, N.Y., is considering disciplinary action.
A father of one of the seventh-graders said his son is aware of the ramifications of what he did, explaining, “No one has denied accountability, and they’ve taken responsibility for their actions.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Steve Almasy, Ray Sanchez and Darran Simon, CNN
Brian Stelter, CNN
Ellie Kaufman and Rene Marsh, CNN