(WBEN/AP) The bullied New York bus monitor has thanked the Canadian man who helped raise nearly $700,000 online for her.
Karen Klein, a 68-year-old grandmother of eight who appeared on a 10-minute video last week being berated and bullied by four seventh-graders on a bus operated by the Greece Central School District, met Max Sidorov late Tuesday at her home in Rochester.
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Klein’s son, Brian, said Sidorov is just as surprised as anyone else about the $660,776 in donations he helped raise as of early Wednesday.
“He really only thought it would raise $5,000,” Brian Klein told Rochester Democrat and Chronicle about Sidorov. “He was pretty overwhelmed by all of the phone calls and stuff like that, too.”
Klein says she will put some of the money into savings, will share it with her kids and grandkids, and "would love to help all the people who have called and written, but if I did that, I'd be in debt," she says.
Klein was catapulted to fame after the bullying she endured on on duty as a Greece School District bus aide went global al and triggered a fundraising campaign that Sidorov launched, after video of her taunting was posted on YouTube.
In the video, students poked her with a textbook, called her a barrage of obscenities and threatened to urinate on her front door, among other callous insults. One student taunted: "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son killed himself 10 years ago. Eventually, she appears to break down in tears.
In the days since, she has had a whirlwind media tour, met with police and declined to press charges against the children, while the school moves ahead with disciplinary action against them.
Meanwhile she is receiving donations from across the globe. School safety experts and administrators say they hope the incident will encourage parents to sit down and speak with their children about the damaging effects of all bullying, and that school officials will reinforce bullying prevention, not just among students, but also aimed at teachers and adults