By now, you've probably seen the video of four 7th graders bullying a 68 year old grandmother who was working as a bus monitor in Greece, NY, earlier this week. One of the kids posted a video on his Facebook page, and of course it got picked up on the web. As this week concludes, the boys have done an about face and apologized to the woman, Karen Klein. Seeing themselves on video, they realized they made a terrible mistake.
One boy said that if someone did that to his own mom or grandmother, he'd be angry, and so he admitted what he did was wrong. The others have followed suit, expressing remorse and regret for making damaging remarks about Mrs. Klein's age, weight, etc..
A fellow in Toronto started a fund to send Mrs. Klein on vacation, and the donations, as of press time, had far exceeded its goals. Max Sidorov had wanted to raise as much as $5,000, but according to Yahoo!, donations had exceeded $500,000. Thursday night, CNN reporter-talk show host Anderson Cooper, on his CNN program, stunned Mrs. Klein with a trip to Disneyland, courtesy of Southwest Airlines. Disney made a similar offer for Disney World in Orlando.
Meanwhile, the boys, while remorseful, are also living in fear, as if the torment is coming back to haunt them, with interest. School officials in Greece, according to Yahoo!, report that the boys have gotten death threats, all because of the age of the target. Mrs. Klein has gone to bat for the boys, asking police not to press charges, and has called for the counter-attacks to stop. As the school year is over, and the kids move on to other, more positive pursuits, one has to hope that request is granted.
The lesson learned? Sometimes, life teaches us lessons that can't be taught in the classroom.