Who were the bullies on the bus???
Today I saw the most heart-wrenching, gut-churning video on the evening news.
I’m sure you’ve probably seen it as it’s been on every talk show and news broadcast I’ve caught a glimpse of since.
It’s the video of Karen Klein (following this article), the 68 year old woman from Greece, New York, who was unmercifully bullied while she rode the school bus in her role as ‘Bus Monitor’.
The video graphically shows this unassuming woman remaining stoic while being reduced to tears by the taunts, insults and slurs being hurled at her by four thirteen year old boys. Among the insults thrown at her were the words “troll”, “fat”, and “ugly”. Of the many horrific statements made is, “You don’t have a family ’cause they all killed themselves ’cause they didn’t want to be near you.” This is most horrendous when you consider that Karen’s own son killed himself about ten years ago.
As I watched this video, my heart sank to my feet and I felt like I wanted to choke and cry at the same time. As one who was bullied in junior high, I couldn’t help but feel so sad for Karen. I have also been a victim of workplace bullying and mobbing, and this video has caused me to relive the emotions of my own traumas at a rapid-fire pace.
Yesterday, I told my husband how horrible I felt considering my own current situation – being on disability leave from work due to PTSD, work-related stress, anxiety, agoraphobia, piled onto my already existing struggles with chronic depression. I believe my words were, “Is it any wonder I hate the world we live in?” “Is it really so hard to understand why I hate to be around people outside my own family?”
His answer was, “but we hear about these things because this is what the media chooses to show us.” At the time he said this, I think he truly believed it, but then I responded with, “Really? Think about it. This type of behavior is rampant, look at what I’ve gone through at work, the sexual abuse and bullying during my childhood, the bullying of our kids, your own treatment by the military and/or members of the military at certain times, and finally the knowledge that when I venture into the public for any reason, I can usually expect some kind of rude comments or looks about my weight. Do you honestly believe what you just said?”
Mark’s face fell and he was silent. I actually felt bad for him.
But then, there is a glimmer of hope. As was reported by the CBC, Karen has since stated, “”I can’t believe the people and how nice they’ve been. I mean strange people stop by and they give me a hug.”
In fact, I’m so proud to say that a fellow Canadian, Max Sidorov of Toronto, created a website on the internet fundraising service Indiegogo.com for Klein. Amazingly, although his original goal was to raise $5,000 for Karen, the tally has reached $457,000 and is still climbing.
Maybe there’s hope for some of us. I certainly hope so.
P.S. To Whoopie Goldberg. I love you and your sensibilities, but I must say I was shocked and dismayed when, instead of condemning the bullies, you said that Karen’s employers should have considered these type of circumstances and hired someone who could “take it”. Why should anyone have to take it? The ones to be condemned here are the teens involved.