The four Rochester-area middle schoolers whose verbal abuse of bus monitor Karen Klein caused worldwide outrage have been suspended from school for a year.
GREECE, N.Y. -- Social media has been overflowing with opinions on the proper punishment for the students who mercilessly bullied the elderly bus monitor.
On Friday, the Greece Central School District returned with its disciplinary decision.
"I think it's a little overboard, but I'm not going to fight it, that's for sure," said Karen Klein, bus monitor.
The four students will be suspended from school and bus transportation for one year. They will be required to attend the district's reengagement center, located in a non-school facility. Klein, who has spoken openly about not wanting to press criminal charges, said she is relieved by the district's decision.
"I was happy, it satisfies me, I definitely think it was because of the media attention. If the boys didn't take the video, no one would have known. I'm glad I didn't tell the driver to stop the bus. I'm glad it happened because it's not just these kids," explained Klein.
Klein was not the only one wondering if the media attention led to a harsher punishment. Overall, the response from the Greece community was mixed.
"I think they probably would have done it anyways. I think it was a terrible thing, it was suitable," said Frederik Dame, resident.
"I think it's a little bit harsh. It was cruel and inhumane. They are kids and aren't fully aware of how much of an impact their actions has," said Sara Waterman, a Greece college student.
This alternative education program intends to address the consequences of those actions, while keeping them on track academically. The students will complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens, as well as a formal bullying prevention program. While this punishment will separate the students from Athena Middle School, Max Siderov, who launched Karen's webpage, would like to see a more public approach.
"I would have them research, contribute to anti-bullying, anti-violence, do a presentation in front of the whole school about what they did. They have to learn something, otherwise punishment does nothing," said Siderov.
The role of the parents has been a hot issue since the video went viral, and this program would involved parent participation. The school district said it considers the incident resolved. The video taken on the last day of school, with more than 1.5 million hits, has lead to neither Karen or the students returning to school in the fall.