Karen Klein, bus monitor

Posted on June 25th, 2012

Two words: Karen Klein. Most of you have probably heard of her – she’s the 60-something school bus monitor who was bullied by several 7th graders while she was on duty. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth a look, so I’ve posted it here. Warning: It’s difficult to watch and has some language my grandma refers to as “colorful.”

Karen Klein, Bus Monitor

I watched the video and I came away with very mixed feelings. First of all, I never rode a bus. I mostly went to Catholic school and we never had busses. All we had was my mom driving the morning carpool with 47 kids in her Firebird 400 and not one of us wearing a seatbelt. But Mom drove very, very carefully. Mainly so she wouldn’t get pulled over and have the police officer see that she was driving 47 kids around while wearing her nightie.

We also didn’t have smart-assed kids who talked badly to anyone in charge. This is because all Catholic schools have two things going for them, a) all the kids fear they will go to hell for talking back to a nun; and b) for some reason, the nun in charge of discipline at every Catholic school I ever attended is about the scariest woman on the planet. And she usually has a mustache.

Anyway, I have heard that busses are not the most friendly of places.  I suppose that’s the reason for the bus monitor. But really? Really? I’m not sure bus monitor was a good job for Karen Klein.

Look, the truth is, even Catholic school isn’t the Catholic school of old. Some don’t even have mustachioed nuns who run the discipline office like it’s an offshoot of San Quentin. And kids today, omigod. They fear nothing. Nothing. And no one. And that is really scary.

A lot of kids today feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to smack talk adults. And that swearing is fine. They have been brought up to feel entitled; to have such a high self-esteem that everyone else is wrong…except them. Add to the fact that the kids doing the bullying were 7th graders, a group known for its notable lack of empathy and extreme self-absorption and you have the perfect example of a spoiled, entitled brat.

I have personally seen these types of kids in 16 years of parenting. Some of them have their parents fooled (Junior, that had better not be you). Some of them are encouraged by their parents. (Seriously, WTH are they thinking? If they yell at adults, sooner or later they will turn on the parents as well – and I’m betting they are not going to choose a nice nursing home if mommy or daddy pisses them off.) But the fact remains that there are assholes among us and some of them are 12 year olds.

And that is why a woman like Karen Klein shouldn’t be a bus monitor. I watched her in the video and I saw some interviews with her. She stated that she couldn’t hear most of what was said and what she did hear she ignored – hoping they would stop.

Oh, Karen. Oh, no, honey. You cannot handle pre-teens that way. They are like sharks. One whiff of fear and they go in for the kill. You must stand your ground. Raise your voice. Shove the little brats off the bus. (Yes, I know that’s probably not legal – but at least she could have put them in the front of the bus and made them go back to the school and wait for their parents to pick them up.)

But you must never, ever, allow them to see you cry.

Look, the thing is, I feel horrible for her. But I hope that she takes all the money donated to her and retires. Because even I know that you can’t ride a bus with pre-teens and ignore them.

As for the kids, I believe they have all apologized – except for one kid whose Dad apologized for him. (Seriously, dude? WTF? Let your kid man up and say he’s sorry.) Hopefully, they have more punishments, like, say, weeding the school grounds all summer and never riding a bus again or possibly detention with an old-school nun. I know that would whip me into shape.

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4 Responses to “Karen Klein, bus monitor”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Laurie –

    In her defense she was a monitor for 27 years. Perhaps she just had 3 more for retirment and the school system wouldnt put her anywhere else?

  2. Laurie Says:

    Hi Jennifer –
    I actually did not know she had been a bus monitor for 27 years. I think that speaks to a great amount of patience on her part. I’m not sure if that changes my opinion or not, tho. I mean, sure she could be just freaking TIRED from dealing with the same stuff day in, day out. I would be. But from my perspective, those kids needed an adult to take them in hand. Whether it was the parents, the driver or Karen herself. They were getting away with stuff they shouldn’t have been doing.
    Laurie

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I agree that someone with more attitude should have been on that bus. However, instead of placing the blame on Karen – how about placing the blame on the school system? Maybe they should look at the people working for them and offer early retirement when they cannot handle the kids. After 27 years of service this woman cannot afford to just walk away without a retirment package and if she was trying to stick it out it would be nice for the system to remove her – with the package she deserved. I’ve seen to many burnt out teachers who were sick of teaching but just sticking it out until they get to retirement. The districts should look at those teachers and offer an early package to them. It’s not good for the employees or the kids to work in those conditions.

  4. Laurie Says:

    Jennifer, I totally agree. Now that my son is at the high school level, I see teachers who are either just marking the days before retirement or who have totally given up. It’s very sad because it’s hurting everyone – the students, the teachers and the parents too. And the teachers can’t speak up – because seriously? Who tells their employer they are burnt out and need to be reassigned?

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