Students Apologize to Bullied Bus Monitor

By ABC News

Jun 22, 2012 8:01am

ABC News’ John Schriffen reports:

The seventh grade boys who verbally bashed and taunted a 68-year-old bus monitor in a bullying video that went viral online are speaking out this morning, apologizing for their behavior.

It all started after the 10-minute video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday by one of the students on the bus. Several students can be heard taunting Karen Klein, a bus monitor for the Greece School District in Rochester, N.Y.

“I am so sorry for the way I treated you. When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that,” one of the boys, Josh, said in a statement released by police.

Another, Wesley, said: “If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.”

Luis, the seventh grader who shot the cell phone video and posted it online, said their taunting was all an attempt to attract some attention online.

“I see kids recorded bullying all the time on YouTube, so I thought why would this be a problem?,” he said.

The boys had no idea their video would go as far as it has, viewed more than two million times on YouTube and drawing unwanted infamy and attention to them and their families.

The father of one of the teenage boys says his “heart broke” to see that his son was part of the abuse, but that the boys have suffered enough with their faces made public in the video.

“My family’s received death threats,” Robert Helms told ABC News. “He’s a 13-year-old kid. It was a stupid mistake and he’s paying for it but I just think it’s a little out of control.”

The boys are also facing harsh punishment from both the school district and the local police department, which has devoted a detective to investigate what happened. Klein has told police she does not want to press charges but does want the boys to be punished.

Sources tell ABC News the Greece School Board is considering suspending the boys for the entire school year next year since the incident happened on the last day of school. A decision is expected to come down sometime next week after a meeting with the Superintendent.

In the video, the students touch Klein, comment about her hearing aid and make crude sexual references. One asks for Klein’s address so he can go to her home and urinate all over her door, and another discusses stabbing and cutting Klein. They are also heard asking her if she has herpes and if she lives in a trailer.

At one point, she is seen taking off her sunglasses and wiping at her eyes.

“Are you sweating? Karen, Karen! Are you sweating?” one student is heard asking her. She shakes her head, and the student adds: “Then why is there water on your face?”

“I’m crying,” she replied.

“I was just was trying to ignore them,” Klein said. “Usually I sit right in back, and I should have that day, but I sat one seat ahead so there was one boy in back of me and one boy in front of me. They just kept it up. They thought it was funny.”

That same media attention has also impacted Klein’s life as a website, indiegogo.com, has raised more than $440,000 for her, exceeding the $5,000 goal originally set. The website was created to send Klein on a vacation after the video went viral.

“It does make me feel a whole lot better,” Klein said of the positive reaction. “I appreciated everything. I think it’s awesome.”

Stars like talk show host Ellen DeGeneres have tweeted their support for Klein who has made a round of TV and radio appearances.

While appearing on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ on Thursday, host Cooper  announced Southwest airlines offered to fly Klein and nine other people to Disneyland for free.

Walt Disney Co., the parent company of ABC News, has also offered Klein a vacation to Disney World in Florida.

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