The four kids responsible for leading a bullying attack on the 68-year-old school bus monitor have been suspended for one year. The spokesman for the Greece School District in Upstate New York announced that this means that the middle-schoolers will be barred for a full academic year both from their school and the district's school bus system. The names of the students haven't been made public.
The students were being punished for an incident that took place several weeks ago, when, during a bus-ride, they begun taunting Karen Klein, calling her fat, and threatening to egg her house. One of the kids even said that her family killed themselves to get away from her, referring to the fact that Klein's son committed suicide over a decade ago. The kids continued to hurl abuse even after Klein began crying.
Another student taped the encounter on a cell phone and posted the ten minute video to YouTube. The video was then reposted on the popular news aggregator Reddit and from there went viral, hitting blogs, and showing up in traditional media outlets.
When announcing the suspension, the District also released a statement, saying in part:
"Greece Central School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams today announced that the due process requirements have been met and the district is able to release the result of their investigation and the assignment of disciplinary consequences for the four Athena Middle School students involved in the mistreatment of their bus monitor.
The statement went on to say that during the meetings between district administrators and the four individual families, each waived the right to pursue an appeal and agreed to accept the punishment assigned by the district. Although the students will not be attending the Athena Middle School during the 2012-13 school year, due to the requirement that education be provided to all students in the district between the ages of 5 and 16, the students will all attend the Greece Central Reengagement Center, which is located in a non-academic facility.
This alternative education program keeps middle school students on track academically while providing a structured opportunity for students to take responsibility for their actions by completing community service hours and receiving formal instruction related to conduct and behavior that prepares them for a productive future. The program includes a strong parent involvement component.
"Each student will be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and will complete a formal program in bullying prevention, respect and responsibility. In accordance with district policy, if at 30 weeks into the school year the students have completed the conditions of their discipline and are in good standing at the Reengagement Center, they can apply for early readmission to Athena Middle School."