Bullied Bus Monitor Inspires Human Kindness

Bullying Video Outrages People Worldwide

People around the world are outraged after watching a video of four American middle school children harassing a school bus monitor. The video lasts over ten minutes, capturing despicable behavior as the children bully and torment a senior citizen whose job is to keep kids safe on their way to and from school. An online fund was set up by a Toronto man on a site called Indigogo to help raise money to send Karen Klein on a well-deserved vacation. The $5000 goal was quickly surpassed after the bullying video went viral. With 25 days to go, the campaign has already raised over  $600,000.

Authentic Materials

Do you enjoy using authentic materials in the classroom? Are you looking for something interesting to talk about this week? Bullying is a big problem in schools, but it doesn’t necessarily happen between students. Supply teachers, volunteers, crossing guards, and bus drivers are just a few of the hardworking adults that are bullied by kids every day. Share a clip from the video below (or paraphrase the story if you think the video contains too much coarse language) about a bus monitor who gets abused by a group of middle school kids. Tell your students about the fund that has been set up in Karen’s name. Then have a discussion about it. You could also show one of the interviews with Karen Klein that have been posted online since the original video went viral. Here are a few questions to discuss with your students:

  • What did the kids do to bully the bus monitor?
  • How did the bus monitor react as she was being tormented?
  • What do you think Karen Klein should do with the money that is raised for her?
  • Some of the children from the video have received death threats. Do they deserve to be targeted?
  • A parent of one of the bullies apologized to the bus monitor. Is this something all of the parents should do?
  • What type of discipline should the bullies face?
  • Karen suggested in one video that the kids should be banned from the riding the bus and participating in organized sports for a year. Do you think that’s a wise decision?
  • Southwest Airlines has donated a trip for Karen and 9 friends to go to Disneyland. Do you think there are any ulterior motives for this gift?

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“Human beings are story-telling animals, and the feelings of outrage and injustice and the impulse of generosity and fairness that moved people toward action to help Karen Klein are part of what is fundamentally good about humanity.” ~ Paul Hilder, the Guardian

Ready-made ESL Lesson Plan on Bullying

Bullying Lesson PlanIf your students are interested in this topic, why not keep the conversation going? Try our popular Discussion Starters lesson on Bullying.  This lesson includes vocabulary review, a reading, comprehension and discussion questions. Students learn about “Pink Shirt Day,” an annual anti-bullying campaign held in Canadian schools. There is also a FREE podcast available as an audio preview.


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  1. eric@compellingconversations.com'

    Eric Roth says:

    Jul 03, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    “Human beings are story-telling animals, and the feelings of outrage and injustice and the impulse of generosity and fairness that moved people toward action to help Karen Klein are part of what is fundamentally good about humanity.” ~ Paul Hilder, the Guardian

    While I appreciate Paul’s optimistic take on the reaction to this video, I also suspect that this type of casual harassment and vicious teasing has become rather common in many school buses. The failure to teach simple decency and polite manners in public schools has unintentionally led to a permissive attitude toward cruelty. Children, contrary to utopian assertions, do need explicit guidance and reasonable. This video demonstrates what too often happens when American school adopt a “let children be children” philosophy. Or so it seems to me.

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