A horrifying video showing New York middle school students bullying 68-year-old school bus monitor Karen Klein (watch it below) went viral a week ago, and the public continues to overwhelmingly support Klein, raising more than $648,000 (and counting) to fund a much-needed vacation for the abused grandmother. (Donors had originally aimed for just $5,000.) "I keep thinking, 'What have I done?'" Klein said on the Today show Monday morning. "I almost don't feel like I deserve it." Deserving or not, Klein plans to divide some of the money among her grandkids, invest some of it, and donate the rest to charity. But is the total so over the top that she shouldn't accept the money at all?
Of course she should accept it: It's "totally awesome" that Klein plans to give some of the cash to charity, says Lindsay Mannering at The Stir. We should admire her for that, and for the fact that she'll use some money to help loved ones. Many people who scored such a windfall would "blow it all on ridiculous toys… blow it all in Vegas… blow it all on blow." Klein may claim to be underserving of all this attention and money, "but to me, there's no better person to receive such a sum."
"Bullied bus monitor plans to do something totally awesome with her money"
She should refuse the money: It's absurd to believe that "showering Klein with cash is teaching bullies everywhere a lesson," says Adrian Chen at Gawker. All bullies have learned is to make sure no one videotapes their bullying. And by accepting this money, which she didn't actually do anything to earn, Klein would be teaching America that money makes up for humiliation: "It gets better, for a price." What a despicable message.
"Don't take that money, bullied bus lady"
She needs an apology, not money: Sure, $640,000 is a whopping sum, says Diane Clehane at Forbes. But it doesn't make up for the silence from Klein's tormenters. Since the beyond-cruel event, one child's parent made a camera-ready in-person apology to Klein, and all four boys wrote sorry notes. But not one has had the decency to make a "sincere face-to-face apology" to Klein. Despite her financial windfall, "something tells me… she won't soon forget what happened on Bus 784." Heartfelt apologies might at least make the memories sting less.
"Can $640,000 to bullied bus monitor make up for the tormentors' silence?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 7 tips for keeping your man (from the 1950s)
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
Subscribe to the Week