Karen Klein has used the $700,000 donated compassionate viewers of her now-infamous viral video to launch an anti-bullying foundation.
The depressing video of middle school boys tormenting Klein on the bus was posted on June 19 and received more than eight million total views.
The 68-year-old now-retired school bus monitor from Greece, N.Y., received donations from at least 32,000 people online in less than two months.
Looking for something positive to do for the world with a portion of the $700,000 in donations, she has created the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation.
“I thought it would be a great idea, and I’m hoping this foundation will seriously help all these kids,’’ Klein told Today. “It’s also not just kids."
"When you’re a kid being bullied, you should talk to an adult. When the adult is being bullied, I don’t know who the heck they can talk to."
"That’s why I want to help.’’
Klein never planned on becoming a symbol of anti-bullying, but has grown to embrace the role after her story received international attention.
During her 14 minutes of online fame, Klein endures one profanity-laced comment after another from a group of students during a bus ride.
The students called her “an elephant”, said her kids should kill themselves because she's so ugly, and other unprintable slurs and comments.
Despite the nature of the taunts, Klein did not retaliate.
“I’ve never been bullied myself until this happened,’’ she said, still in disbelief. “I had no idea that this would come about, and I’m glad that it has."
"I didn’t know they were taking the video. I was oblivious. I heard these kids, but I didn’t think it was going to be like this. It’s unreal, it really is.’’
In the first phase of her foundation, Klein will be part of a road trip named the “No Bully Tour’’ that begins in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on October 5.
Way to go, Karen!