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

Fri, June 22, 2012 4:35pm EDT by Bonnie Fuller 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’