The Question No One Asked Karen Klein

By Jeff Keating

July 3, 2012

On the June 29 episode of Beat the Press, host Emily Rooney had a rant about the media coverage of Karen Klein, the bullied bus monitor from upstate N.Y. Rooney thought the media should have delved deeper into this story and asked more probing questions. For example, why was Klein so passive? Would she have intervened if another child on the bus had been subjected to that kind of verbal bullying?

WGBH's Toni Waterman posed those questions to Klein at an event held for her in Boston by the radio station Mix 104.1. Viewers can reach their own conclusions about how she responds.

"As the bus monitor, your main objective is to make sure that stuff like this doesn't happen on the bus," Waterman said. "I'm wondering why you didn't say something to them and you weren't more aggressive in your action as the bus monitor."

"That's a good question," Klein said. "It's the first time they had ever done anything like that. Before they had acted up and I made them go sit in the front of the bus. Why I didn't do anything that time I really can't tell you, except that I kept thinking 'School's over and then I won't have to worry about this any more.'"

Klein added that she hadn't seen the children bully anyone else — just her.

She concluded, "It was a bunch that sit together and you know how kids get sometimes."

In fairness to Klein, many of those same questions should also be directed at the school district where she is (or was) employed. That's what Meaghan McDermott did in this article for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, one of the few reports I could find that went beyond the face value of the story.

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