Karen Klein Update: Online Donations Crosses $400,000 After Bullying Video Went Viral
Karen Klein, a school bus monitor of Greece School District in Greece, New York, depicted being verbally bullied in a video gone viral, may have the last laugh as overwhelming support continues to pour in.
The online fundraising effort set up for her to send her to a vacation has been increasing minute by minute. In less than 24 hours, it has already reached $187,000. Currently, it has now skyrocketed to $414,000 contributed by more than 19,000 people worldwide.
The fund-raising effort was set up by a reddit.com member, identified as Max Sidorov of Toronto, Canada, through Indiegogo. A spokesperson of the website told MSNBC.com that all the proceeds of the campaign will be received by Karen Klein herself when it is over on July 20, 2012 at 11:59PM PT.
However, it’s unclear whether she’ll have to pay taxes on the amount. A petition to Obama to get Karen all the money tax free was created by John Bickford here. Currently, more than 2,200 signatures have been rendered.
“This is just the evolution of the Internet – they understand the power of being able to create the space they want. The great thing is that people are using tech now to band together to counter bullying,” says Parry Aftab, executive director of Wired Safety.
In an interview with FOX and Friends, Karen Klein was overwhelmed on the outpouring support she currently gets from people worldwide.
“Oh my God! It’s unbelievable! I just don’t.. It’s wonderful. I would like to thank all these people… I just want to make a general statement. Thank you everybody so much for your support. I really appreciate it. And it’s not just money. It’s the people themselves that I appreciate,” she said.
Amanda, Karen’s daughter, joined the campaign saying: “This is Amanda (tammbg below). I am Karen’s daughter and I just joined this campaign. I have spoken with Max and with Indiegogo and we just want to thank you so much for your support. I am at work now so can’t put a picture up yet. We are completely overwhelmed with all the support, so thank you.”
Meanwhile, Karen Klein is determined not to file criminal charges against the students who bullied her on the bus. Capt. Steve Chatterton of the Greece Police Department said Klein informed investigators that she will not seek criminal charges against the four students from Athena Middle School in Rochester.
“Obviously we are upset with what we saw in the video, both as parents and police officers. But at this time, she has decided she does not want to press criminal charges,” Chatterton told reporters during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
In New York, Chatterton said in order to charge a 13-year-old in Family Court, the alleged crime must a misdemeanor or a felony. Harassment is a violation and does not meet that threshold, he said.
“So we’re still working … on whether it rose to the level of a crime,” he said, adding that Klein has expressed she’d prefer if school officials mete out punishment.
The bullying video entitled “Making The Bus Monitor Cry” uploaded on Youtube by CapitalTrigga, has generated more than 2.7 million views.