KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The shocking YouTube video showing a group of middle school students bullying a school bus monitor has triggered shock and outrage, and a local expert says that it shows the reality of bullying is often more than just kids being kids, and anybody can be the target.
In the YouTube video, labeled "Making the Bus Monitor Cry", a group of seventh graders can be heard making fun of 68-year-old Karen Klein's weight and age. The intimidation continues with one student threatening to stab Klein, while another mocks her because her son committed suicide 10 years ago.
"You don't have a family because they all killed themselves, because they didn't want to be near you," said the unidentified student on the video recording.
Klein, who had been working in the school district for 23 years, felt that she had few options to stop the intimidation, saying that she could have gotten in trouble if she had yanked the phone out of the hand of the student who was recording - but doing nothing to stop - the incident.
"I tried to ignore them," said Klein. "That's why I didn't hear some of the stuff because I'm just trying to shut them out."
The school district and law enforcement is investigating the incident, and someone has started a website that has raised over $200,000 for Klein to either retire on, or at least take a vacation. But questions remain over what can be done about child bullying.
Glenn Berry, a bullying expert and retired former coordinator for the Olweus anti-bullying program, says that the fact that none of the kids on the bus made a move to intervene highlights the need for more awareness about bullying.
"There needs to be personnel education on what should happen in this case," said Berry. He says that the best thing Klein could have done was to go to the bus driver for help, but he says that its disconcerting that any bus monitor would have to do that.
"The realty is bullying is not just students on students, but it's adults on students, or students on adults, or adults on adults," said Berry.