Karen Klein, the 68-year-old school bus monitor from suburban Rochester, N.Y. was the victim of a horrific bullying episode caught on tape in a video now gone viral. She is the quintessential grandmother –and a genuinely kind hearted and caring woman.
She’s received an outpouring of support, well wishes, and donations.
Southwest Airlines offered her a 3 days all-expenses paid trip to Disney with her choice of 9 guests.
I think Karen Klein should invite her family and the kids who bullied her on this trip and their families–with the condition that the trip be covered by a Reality TV crew and the bullying teens and their families have to spend the entire time with Karen Klein and her family. Obviously, there will be lots of discussion and reflection on why the bullying occurred and, hopefully, heartfelt apologies and perhaps a friendship and respect for the bullying victim who will obviously be viewed as the hero in this awful episode.
It is a seemingly crazy idea, but one I think could work. Really. Karen Klein is an extraordinarily wise and patient woman who could pull this off successfully. And turn the most momentous national teaching moment about the cruelty of bullying into what could be the most significant teaching moment ever about exposing the cowardly forces that create bullying and the resolution between the bullied and the bullies that humiliate the bullies –and discourage future bullying episodes by those who watch.
It would not be a reward by any means. It would be the most humiliating and possibly most important 3 days of the bully’s lives. And for the lives of many future bullies who watch. The gift these teen bullies would be receiving would not be 3 days in Disney. But an opportunity to redefine themselves as decent human beings who could take on the cause of denouncing bullying by others like them. Nothing would speak to discouraging future bullies than former bullies who have seen the light. Not even 68 year old grandmother victims, unless they turn the tables in a manner such as this. It may just work.
And, of course, this has to be Karen Klien’s decision, and I don’t want her pressured into doing something she doesn’t want. She’s endured enough already. But if the following petition helps get the idea in front of her to consider, and she agrees it is something she wants to do and believes would be valuable, I’d love to help provide our encouragement
The viral video of the infamous incident: