TODAY | October 04, 2012
>>> at 7:43 now, we're back to a follow-up of a bullying incident caught on tape that became a teachable moment for many parents. middle school students in upstate new york hurling cruel and relentless insults at their 68-year-old bus monitor karenklein. we'll catch up with her exclusively in a moment. but first, here's nbc's tamron hall .
>> good morning, david. her story is a sobering reminder that bullying is an ongoing problem. well, now she's trying to use the incident to bring an end to the taunts and violence.
>> your reflexes are so slow.
>> you have reflexes like an elephant.
>> this profanity-laced video of karenklein, a 68-year-old bus monitor from new york being ridiculed mercilessly from a group of seventh graders shocked us all. during the ten-minute long attack, insults hurled were nonstop.
>> you don't have a family because they all killed themselves --
>> the video filmed by one student on his cell phone shows the aggression escalate as they began to physically poke her and even make threats.
>> i can't believe it happened. nobody should have to put up with that.
>> reporter: klein says the meanness stopped only when the kids got off the bus. she didn't report the incident to school officials.
>> i just can't explain why i did what i did, or why i didn't do what i should have done.
>> reporter: in fact, she learned that the video now seen more than 8 million times had been posted when she was called in by the school the next morning as part of their investigation.
>> we expect victims to report all the time and the fact is, so often they don't because they're afraid. she's the adult in this situation. would people believe her? or they might blame her for not taking into her own hands and doing something about it.
>> students found to be involved will face strong disciplinary action.
>> came in the form of a year-long suspension. either the boys or their families have since sent klein a letter of apology.
>> i cannot believe i did that. i'm sorry for being so mean and i will never treat anyone this way again.
>> reporter: the community at large rallied behind the grandmother of eight. a donation fund set up on the website indegogo.com raised over $700,000. now karen will pay it forward using some of the money to launch an anti-bullying foundation.
>> if this is doing good, then i don't need to be sad about it.
>> so by the way, the goal for fund raising started by a good samaritan was to get karen a few thousand bucks for a nice vacation. clearly the pot swelled more than anyone could imagine. reportedly more than 30,000 people in 84 countries made contributions.
>> tamron, thanks very much. karenklein is with us now exclusively. good to see you. good morning.
>> good morning.
>> you have to watch that and it's got to be very difficult to see that tape again.
>> i never did see the whole thing. i didn't want to. i just saw what i just saw now pretty much. i didn't want -- i just couldn't.
>> people looking at it with my reaction in part was why didn't you as a bus monitor take these kids to task right away? isn't that part of what an adult should be doing in those situations? you must have thought about that a lot.
>> oh, yes, i did. i thought about that. i didn't do it.
>> why? do you have any --
>> i'm glad i didn't. now that this has happened.
>> now maybe we can get the bullying thing known.
>> you're saying you're glad you didn't do --
>> that i didn't do something.
>> it did make it on youtube. you were pleased ultimately with that.
>> yeah. i mean, i still don't understand if it was a boy that took the video which i didn't even know he was doing. if he put it on or if somebody saw it and they put it on. i don't know.
>> what is the bigger -- you've got a foundation now, this is anti-bullying month, what is the conversation you would like to start with your incident with what you've been through?
>> oh, i hope that nobody else has to go through anything like that. but -- it's really hard to say.
>> what would you like -- what kind of conversation would you like to see parents have with their kids who are this age who may see this or may be hearing about it?
>> well, i'd like them to tell the kids that it's not to be done. it's not right. how would you like it if somebody did it to you? but i'm afraid that some of the kids have been bullied and that's why they did what they did.
>> are you satisfied -- we mentioned you didn't file a complaint after the incident. a couple of the boys have been suspended, they're in a reengagement center. they've written letters to you. are you satisfied?
>> four of them are going to an alternative school .
>> you think that's adequate?
>> do you think it's adequate?
>> well, that's not all they're doing. they also are supposed to be doing 50 hours of community service at a nursing home. and no sports. they were supposed to get their own transportation, but that didn't work out.
>> there's a bus tour that's going to feature kind of a musical psa against bullying. we've got a group of these young, talented artists on the plaza this morning.
>> right outside the window.
>> so you've got to feel good about them helping you with your message.
>> i do. such great kids.
>> what have you got there?
>> i've got a shirt for you.
>> all right. what does it say here? to end bullying now. good for you. and the karenklein foundation. well --
>> i have one too.
>> you do?
>> but i've got pink. you're lucky you didn't get a pink one.
>> thanks for coming here and sharing your story. good luck