The Parents Of Karen Klein's Bullies Need To Take Responsibility

Fri, June 22, 2012 4:35pm EST by 14 Comments
Karen Klein Bullies

Elderly bus monitor Karen Klein thinks her teen bullies should be suspended from the school bus for a year but I think their parents have to answer for the despicable behavior of their kids as well.

Watching Karen Klein‘s 13 and 14-year-od bully boys attack her relentlessly for being in their words, ‘fat’, ‘sweaty ‘and ‘ugly’, made me disgusted but also sad for these clearly troubled kids.

Children are not born bullies. They learn to be bullies. And when I see and listen to their inappropriate behavior I just wonder what their lives are like at home and maybe at school as well.

Only children who feel worthless and powerless themselves, can take so much pleasure in believing they finally have power –  the power to hurt someone who they perceive to be weaker.

My bet is that foul-mouthed Josh and Wesley, and maybe the others too, are probably victims of bullying themselves, whether from an adult in their family, an older sibling, or other kids at school.

Otherwise, they wouldn’t feel the need to exert their ‘superiority ‘over Karen – a lovely, harmless older woman who was doing nothing to provoke their vitriol.

These kids are sad, troubled teenagers and their parents need to ask themselves honestly: are we doing anything that is either teaching this kind of behavior to them or that is eliciting this kind of reaction?

Are we yelling a lot at home? using harsh language? laying on insults? Should we be changing our behavior or working harder at having a closer and more loving relationship with our kids?

Or if there’s nothing, we can point to at home: are our kids being bullied by others at school and then mimicking that evil behavior themselves?

The thing is – these boys are behaving very badly but I don’t think the world should be writing them off as bad kids. Chances are they are good kids at heart who have gotten way off track and between their school and their parents they need to be yanked back on, but not with jail time. No, no.

“What the kids said is horrible. For that kind of vitriol to come from a child, they have to have some real emotional issues, possibly very dysfunctional family lives, maybe someone is bullying them, or their parents are simply not very nice people,” agrees psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, chief contributor to

So far, their school has said nothing about suspending or punishing them, but administrators need to get involved and set a punishment and a standard of behavior. After all, the bullying happened on the school’s watch.

Dr. Gardere agrees.He suggests that the best way to punish the bullies is to do it in a “therapeutic way,” by #1, suspending them from school for at least a week and #2, by being mandated into counseling.

“They require intervention to help them. This is a HUGE red flag,” warns Dr. Gardere, who says the bullies shouldn’t be allowed back into school until they have started counseling with a psychology professional.

“The school needs to be humane though and not make them out like little monsters,” he says.

So far, only one of the boy’s fathers, Robert Helm, has come forward and apologized and assured Karen that his son would be punished. “There’s not an excuse and we’re going to get to the bottom of that, but it really broke my heart and I shed a lot of tears thinking about this whole thing and we’re going to get it right.”

That’s encouraging that the dad isn’t responding with anger but with exactly the kind of self reflection and love that’s needed here.

The good news for the boys and their families is that just as bullies aren’t born, they also don’t need to stay bullies forever.

“They can be turned around,” assures Dr. Gardere. So go on parents and school – get to it. Karen, Josh and Wesley deserve your immediate attention.

Bonnie Fuller

More Karen Klein

  1. Karen Klein Receives Apologies From Bullies
  2. Karen Klein’s Seventh Grade Bully Boys Getting Death Threats
  3. Bus Monitor Mercilessly Bullied By Middle Schoolers, Called ‘Fat & Ugly’

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Posted at 12:08 AM on September 12, 2012  

These boys are EVIL and the only way they will avoid death row in their pitiful futures is to receive an exorcism. Are their parents responsible? Well, I’ve never heard of anyone blaming Hitler’s parents or Charles Manson’s for that matter.

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Posted at 2:33 PM on June 25, 2012  

I’d like to say that the boys can change, but I’m so angry. For them to say those things to an elderly woman is just pure evil. And they also threat to cut her with a knife, so they deserve to get death threats back too! They posted the video online for the public to see them humiliate the woman, well their apology to her should be made public too!

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Posted at 11:13 PM on June 24, 2012  

is pathetic that you are justifying in any way you find posible these bullies , im sorry but i dont see how being bullied would make it ok for those kids to bully that poor lady .

what tehy did is inexcusable and need to be punished

i wonder if your kids were bullied would you think the same about the bullier

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Annette J

Posted at 9:19 PM on June 23, 2012  

I am shocked at how these kids actted toward this helpless Senior Cit. It broke my heart. I hope Ms. Klein takes peace in knowing that she is praised for how she kept calm and obviously she is a wonderful, loving, beautiful person inside and out. The kids were so wrong at what they did. I hope they realize one day, when they mature, what damage they have cause and how terrible they were to do that.

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Posted at 4:50 PM on June 23, 2012  

You’re out of date about bullies feeling “worthless”, and having low self-esteem, etc…as much as we wish this were true, and wish such children are not motivated by the pleasure and reward principle. New research has shown that bullies are rewarded for their behavior, and also feel good about themselves. Furthermore, they e n j o y bullying, being dominant, and enjoy having power over others.
It’s foolish to continue to feel “sorry” for these tormenters and work to find new and better tools to combat bullies and bullying.

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Posted at 12:12 PM on June 23, 2012  

I agree with Dr. Gardere, this is a HUGE red flag. I also agree that not only should they be punished through the school, but they NEED professional counseling. Start addressing whatever issue(s) caused these kids to behave this way and there is a chance they will see the error of their ways and actually want to be better people. Otherwise they will continue to be bullies, which will encourage other kids to be bullies, and the cycle will continue, leading to more and more victims of bullying.

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Posted at 12:02 PM on June 23, 2012  

This is horrible, i cannot believe someone could treat another person this way, and there be nothing done to them. It just goes to show how parenting is lacking so much more than it use to… praying for this elderly woman and her family.

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Kelly Drinkwater

Posted at 10:38 AM on June 23, 2012  

It is absolutely ridiculous that the bullies are not being punished. How is that possible? There needs to be a backlash from parents towards the school to let them know that they won’t tolerate bullying. I know a boy who was arrested for threatening to do something to a bully but nothing happened to the bully. how is that ok? kids are feeling threatened and they get no help from adults at school so they have to take it into their own hands but nothing happens to the bullies who started the problem in the first place.

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Posted at 8:55 AM on June 23, 2012  

I agree that the parents should be held responsible, however I doubt if these children had been victims of bullying or a dysfunctional home. It is more likely that their parents have indulged them and not taught them to respect others. Too many parents today focus only on what they and their kids want, and screw everyone else. The sense of entitlement among young people has reached epidemic proportions. The father who spoke said that this wasn’t like his kid – open your eyes dad. This is not a nice kid – and you created him!

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Posted at 1:00 AM on June 23, 2012  

These kids should have their teeth knocked down their miserable throat. As a former educator, society and parents take up for this brats too often. Only one father said he was sorry for his child’s action? Dosen’t that say something about the rest of the parents?

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Teen Mama

Posted at 11:08 PM on June 22, 2012  

If I was there them boys would not have a chance. I was and still am bei g raised to respect elders and my old teacher said great others the way you want to be treated. This make me sick and when she started crying I was going off at my computer. If my daughter Evers talks like that or treat someone like that her bottom will be red as someone blushing and she being going to a all girl school.

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Posted at 5:00 PM on June 22, 2012  

Watching this video made me a grown 32 year old man feel choked up as those students continue to gang up on this woman. What has our society come to? I was taught to respect my elders no matter who they are. I know times have changed and parents are less strict on their children, but I can honestly say that had I ever done something like this, my father would have put me in th hospital. Kids are mean and I wasn’t completely innocent in my teen years. I once called a girl on our rural school bus pizza face because of her horrible acne. When my dad found out, not only did I get the spanking of a lifetime and have to go to this girls house to apologize in front of her parents, but life on the farm that summer was hell. I got to do all the worst jobs by myself in the sweltering heat all summer. And the best irony of all….. I saw her about five years after college, a successful business woman and smoking hott. She was so far out of my league it wasn’t even funny. Now that’s what I call the best revenge ever!!!

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Posted at 12:25 PM on June 23, 2012  

Yes! Someone who is intelligent and well spoken! I don’t agree with spanking, but making you apologize and then making you work your a$$ off was great parenting. Sounds like you really learned your lesson, especially after seeing her years later! I was bullied for many years and felt much bitterness and anger in my heart, which I actually needed counseling to let go of. But I became a model, moved to California after high school and got my college degree, and I believe that my happiness is the best revenge I could get!

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Posted at 5:01 PM on June 23, 2012  

It is really cool that your family took your character and spirit seriously and taught you better. Even twitting yourself later on about how the tables had ironically turned and happy for her…

A neighbor boy in our small town put his face close at a school event and snarled “you’re ugly!”. An unexpected insult and startlingly mean… I never told anyone!

Famous basketball coach John Wooden’s new book details how his abusive upbringing continued to torture him with feelings of worthlessness throughout a life a carreer of success.

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