NEW YORK (Reuters) - Four New York seventh graders whose bullying of a bus monitor grandmother went viral on YouTube have been suspended from school for a year, a school district official said on Friday.
The students will be sent to a non-school facility where they will be tutored academically.
They will be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and will receive formal behavioral training, according to a statement from the head of the Greece Central School District in upstate New York.
The YouTube cellphone video, which has been viewed more than 7 million times, shows four young teens lobbing vicious insults at 68-year-old Karen Klein, bringing her to tears.
The incident occurred June 18th. The video was posted to YouTube on June 20th and public reaction was swift.
Disney offered Klein a trip to Disney World in California and Southwest Airlines volunteered to pay for flights for Klein and her eight grandchildren. She was also given a free week-long vacation to the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort in Florida.
An online appeal for donations to Klein topped $650,000 earlier this week.
Television couldn’t get enough of Klein this week. She appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today” on Thursday morning, and with Anderson Cooper on CNN and on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” later Thursday.
In the 10-minute video, entitled “Making the Bus Monitor Cry,” the students taunt Klein, a widow, mercilessly.
At one point, a student tells Klein “you don’t have a family because they all killed themselves.
“They don’t want to be near you!”
Klein told NBC News she does not know whether the students were aware that her oldest son committed suicide ten years ago.
The four students involved, whose last names have not been released, do not face criminal charges. Their families have agreed to allow the school district to publicly announce the results of an internal investigation.
“Each of the students involved admitted wrongdoing, accepted the recommended consequences and agreed to permit the district to publicly release the terms of the disciplinary action,’’ Greece Central School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams said in the statement.
Reporting By Chris Francescani; Additional reporting by Joseph O'Leary; Editing by Greg McCune and Todd Eastham