NEW YORK — A video of a 68-year-old school bus monitor taunted by seventh graders became an online rallying point against bullies Thursday, with a fund for the Rochester, N.Y., grandmother raising at least $275,000 and a deluge of people demanding harsh punishment for the boys.
Police said Karen Klein does not want her young tormenters to face criminal charges, partly because of the storm of criticism leveled at the boys from the Rochester suburb of Greece after the video went viral.
‘‘They’ve received death threats,’’ Greece Police Captain Steve Chatterton said. ‘‘Their families have been threatened.’’
The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cellphone video recorded Monday by a student of Athena Middle School and later posted to YouTube. The video shows Klein trying to ignore the stream of profanity, insults, and outright threats directed at her. One student taunted: ‘‘You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they don’t want to be near you.’’
Klein’s oldest son killed himself 10 years ago. Eventually, she appears to cry.
Klein told NBC’s ‘‘Today’’ show Thursday that it took ‘‘a lot of willpower’’ not to respond to the jeers from the four boys . Klein said she is amazed by the support she has received.
She said she hopes the parents will talk to their children about being ‘‘a little more respectful.’’
The boys had not yet apologized to Klein as of Thursday afternoon.