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Vacation of a lifetime pledged for bus monitor bullied in viral video

Three separate videos totaling 14 minutes taken during a school bus ride just outside Rochester, N.Y., show middle schoolers taunting a bus monitor until she cries, prompting questions about kids and civility. NBC's Craig Melvin reports, and bus monitor Karen Klein talks with TODAY's Matt Lauer about the cruel harassment.

Updated 10:30 a.m. Thursday ET: Karen Klein, a school bus monitor of Greece, N.Y., depicted being verbally bullied in a video gone viral, may have the last laugh.

By mid-morning Thursday on the fund-raising site indiegogo.com, nearly 8,000 donors had pledged more than $150,000 in a campaign called “Lets Give Karen – The bus monitor – H Klein A Vacation.”

The fund-raising was set up through a reddit.com member, identified as Max Sidorov of Toronto, Canada.


An Indiegogo spokesperson told msnbc.com that the website was in touch with Klein, who will receive all the money raised through its site when the campaign is over, scheduled July 20.

Karen Klein talks to Matt Lauer on TODAY

A video called "Making the Bus Monitor Cry" was posted to YouTube on Monday and had been seen by more than 100,000 viewers by Wednesday evening. The video shows students yelling at Klein and making fun of her weight and other physical conditions.

Graphic content warning: The video on YouTube 

NBC television station WHEC of Rochester, N.Y., on Wednesday confirmed with the Greece School District that Klein was the subject of the middle school students’ heckling.

An outpouring of support for Klein emerged after her identity became known.

While WHEC was interviewing Klein, the station reported, people were stopping over and flowers were being delivered.

Klein said she still can’t believe this happened. The video was taken by a student who is always very kind to her, she said.

“It’s just plain mean, and no one should have to live with that,” she said.

In her 20-plus years as a bus driver and monitor with the Greece Central Schools, Klein said she has never run into this kind of behavior.

See the original story at WHEC.com

“Everything started out as usual. I don’t know what happened,” she said.

Klein said the four kids in the video often misbehave, but what happened Monday was taking things to a whole new level.

Greece police and school district officials are investigating three videos, including the one titled "Making the Bus Monitor Cry." 

NBC affiliate WHEC talks to bus monitor Karen Klein, who was verbally abused by a group of middle school students on a school bus.

Debra Hoeft, Greece School District, said, “We do not tolerate harassment of staff or students. While we can not comment on specific student discipline, we can say that students found to be involved will face strong disciplinary actions.”

In one of the videos, the kids are calling her names, swearing at her and even making physical threats. Klein doesn’t say much to the middle schoolers.

“I was trying to just ignore,” Klein said. “I’m hoping they would go away, but it doesn’t work.”

Klein said she didn’t know about the video until Wednesday morning, and watched it for the first time at the police station when she went to help them with their investigation.

Klein told WHEC she plans to return to work but not on a bus carrying those students.

Msnbc.com's Jim Gold contributed to this article. Follow him on Facebook here.

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