The Grumpy Giraffe

Critiques on social and education issues

Klein rejects kids’ apologies (aka bus bullies)

In Greece, New York, Karen Klein was shown to be bullied and verbally harassed by some children on a school bus. This video has gone viral in the past week or so, and someone in the same community has set up a site for people to donate towards her retirement, which has now topped over $500 000.

Here’s a picture compilation of the apologies.

Apologies from the children who bullied Karen Klein on the school bus

So CNN interviewed Klein a day later and her reactions to the apologies are shown in the screenie.

First off, I have some issues with how this issue was “resolved”.



Many people are bullied at some point in their lives. What have we been taught on conflict resolution? Definitely not to expect that throwing money at the victim is going to help. We get that she’s a senior citizen, and she’s working a really poor job, and she can’t afford retirement, and she’s making barely minimum wage, if at all. And yet the Internet proposes the solution to just shove her with money and the deal’s done with.

How is this different from Newt Gingrich on hiring “30-some kids for the price of one janitor” to teach poor kids how to get money?

Newt Gingrich’s plan for America

Conflict resolution involves getting to the core values, not just to throw money at something or someone and expect the problem to go away.


She’s a bus monitor, so you’d expect that she has some type of class/group control management system in her head somewhere, but all she does is sit and look outside. I’m not one to teach other people how to do their job, but I know what DOESN’T look like a job is done properly.

As a bus monitor, your job is not only to make sure kids don’t fly out the window. Your job is to make sure kids aren’t not ripping each other’s limbs off before they get to their stop. If she’s a bus monitor and she is unable to defend herself, I’m genuinely concerned for any kids who are bully victims but escape her eye.

Moreover, going into passivity turtle mode is not going to make the problem go away. Problems fester like wounds, and if you don’t tend to it now, it will manifest into something horribly grotesque.

So not only are the children at fault, obviously, but also Klein. Why does she just sit there? What is she doing as a bus monitor?


All the kids were asked to do was to write an apology, which seems pretty light in my opinion. They don’t understand that it isn’t just about some words thrown in the heat of the moment, but bullying speaks to core values.

Here, it honestly looks like they don’t think senior citizens deserve the same human rights as other humans. Telling her that they’ll crap into their mouth or to cum in it is really disgusting, and we are quite sure that teenagers are also clear on the meanings of these words, even if they are unclear about the impact.

IMO, some community service is in order.

Volunteer for 8 hours in one day, weekly (that’s the ideal, or split up the hours over a week) at a senior’s home. Be responsible for 1-2 seniors and take care of them the entire day. This may include feeding them, but not handling any private stuff (like washrooms or showering).

The senior home will have a sign in/sign out sheet to mark their times. They will most likely be shadowing a staff member (for safety reasons), and this staff member (with perhaps a panel of 3 other staff members) will write up a report on this student’s behaviour in the senior home, and their sense of responsibility.

This will occur over the entire school year, and the student may be let off during holidays if the senior home permits them to do so based on their behaviour. Any absent days will need to be made up either during holidays or at the end of the school year. Coming in late to the senior home will result in making up for those late times at the end of the day, or end of the year, or during holidays.

Of course, before all this happens, they will be required to attend several consecutive workshops or classes on respect and how to show it, why to respect others, and what to do for anger management (just in case).

If students feel any of the senior-home stuff is unfair, they may report to the head of the home or their principal.

This, to me, seems like a justifiable punishment that does not only result in “write this 100 times”, but really tackles the emotional side. After you hang out with a person for a long enough time, you grow attached. Not only do you see their weaknesses, like being feeble and mobility being an issue, you can see their strengths too, like how they withstand treatment.

This type of “punishment” isn’t meant to be a punitive activity. It’s meant to show these students that senior citizens are humans too, and one day, they’re going to end up as a senior as well, with all of the feebleness and wisdom that comes with age.

If you’ve read this far, I’m really glad you did. What do you think of this whole issue?


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This entry was posted on June 30, 2012 by in education, society and tagged , , , .


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