There may be another 26 days left to go in the online fundraising campaign, but the goal of $5,000 is little more than a distant memory now. The original intention of sending bullied bus monitor Karen Klein on a "nice vacation" can be realized, and more, thanks to the nearly $650,000 that's been raised for her so far.
Since the story has gone viral, Klein has been interviewed by numerous media outlets about how she's so overwhelmed with all the donations and support, and said on Monday that she plans to invest some of the money she's been given, and donate the rest.
"I keep thinking, 'What have I done?' " Klein said in an interview on the Today show, People reports. "It's like I almost don't feel like I deserve it."
According to one blogger, she doesn't.
Chris Kelly wrote a blog for The Huffington Post this weekend titled 'Karen Klein Should Give the Money Back.' Kelly argues that she should also return the $15,506 she's paid for her role as a bus monitor because the video shows that she wasn't doing anything to stop the bullying, which presumably is part of her job.
While Kelly acknowledges that Klein seems like a really nice person who didn't deserve to be attacked by the teens, Klein has said in interviews that she didn't hear much of the bullying because she's hard of hearing. By extension, if the same bullying had been aimed at another student on the bus, Klein wouldn't have heard that, either.
Despite Kelly's argument, the fact remains that all the people who donated money to the IndieGoGo fundraiser for Klein did it because they wanted the money to go to her. Those who donated presumably watched the video and decided that Klein deserved some recompense for what she went through on the bus that day.
Taking both sides into account, the question remains: what should be done with all the money that has been raised for Karen Klein? These are just a few of the many possible options:
Let Karen keep it all
The people who donated the money clearly feel strongly about letting Klein keep her money. So much so, in fact, that a petition was started to make sure that Klein is able to keep that money tax-free. The intention of the people who donated was for Klein to have it, so public pressure to have her do something else with it would be misguided. For those who share Kelly's opinion of Klein's skills as a bus monitor, it would also help her retire and no longer have to do the job.
Counseling for the kids
While some of the teens in the video, who range in age from about 12 to 15, have apologized to Klein, death threats continue to flood in. Their personal contact information was posted in a 4chan forum as well as elsewhere online, and the boys and their families have been receiving threats since then. Klein has said that she doesn't want to press criminal charges against the boys, but she does want to see them disciplined and lose the privilege of riding the bus for a year. The bullying seen in the video is so severe, however, it wouldn't be unreasonable for some of the money to go towards getting these boys into therapy, and making sure they aren't going to turn around and bully any of their peers like this, either.
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In her Today show appearance, Klein said she'll be investing some of her money, and donating to charity. She didn't specify, however, which charities she's interested in supporting. Anti-bullying charities, like The Trevor Project, Pacer Center or STOMP Out Bullying could like all benefit from a share of the money raised for Klein.