Police said Thursday that a bus monitor, whose harassment at the hands of four Greece Athena middle school students has caused worldwide outrage, has decided to not press criminal charges.
According to police, 68-year-old Karen Klein was working as a bus attendant on Bus 784 on Monday, the next-to-last day of school. Video shows Klein being verbally attacked, poked, and taunted during the bus ride.
The 10-minute long video, taken by a student, was later posted online. The video spread through social media, shocking and angering people around the world. A website with the goal of raising $5,000 to send Klein on a vacation has topped $250,000 in donations.
Police, school, and local government officials updated the situation Thursday afternoon.
According to the Greece Police Deparment, four seventh graders have been identified as the aggressors. Police said that one of the students under investigation was recording the incident.
Albany/HV: Police, School District Update Bus Monitor Harassment Case
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Police said the families of all four students came to police voluntarily and have been cooperative. One father told police that his son is now waiting for his punishment. One student is the stepson of a Greece police officer. The officer's stepson has taken responsibility, and according to police, the officer, who is on vacation, said to not treat his stepson any differently.
Police said the bus driver apologized to Klein and said he was not aware of the situation at the back of the bus, and Klein accepted.
According to police, the District Attorney's Office and officers are still working to see if the incident rises to the level of a misdemeanor or a felony. If that is the case, Klein would be able to press charges, but police said she has not indicated she wishes to do so.
Police said they will continue to investigate in case Klein decides to change her mind.
Town supervisor John Auberger said that the town offices have received phone calls from around the state and nation. He said that the behavior of these four students does not reflect the community as a whole.
A school district representative said that the district shares the country's outrage, and is deeply sorry that Klein was subjected to this kind of treatment. She said that students will be punished to the fullest extent of New York education law.
The district said it has received thousands of emails and phone calls. However, the district is not pleased at the actions of some people upset by the situation and calling for vigilante justice. The district said that is another form of bullying that can't be tolerated.
Police said that the students have received threats by phone and text message, and said that must stop.