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Fundraising for taunted bus monitor surpasses $680,000 as it nears end

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 3:02 AM EDT, Fri July 20, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A video of middle school students tormenting Karen Klein goes viral
  • It sparks international outrage that grows into a campaign to raise "vacation" funds for her
  • The campaign officially closes Friday night
  • It includes donations from all 50 states and about 80 countries

(CNN) -- An online fundraiser for a New York bus monitor taunted by middle school students ends Friday after a month and hundreds of thousands of dollars beyond expectations.

A 10-minute video of Karen Klein enduring verbal harassment from four students went viral last month, sparking international outrage that grew into a call to raise "vacation" funds for her.

The video showed giggling students from the upstate New York community of Greece heaping insults onto her and jabbing her with a book. The grandmother of eight sits quietly, weeping at one point.

It inspired a campaign through the international crowd-funding website, indiegogo.com, which started with an initial goal of raising $5,000.

Within three days, the campaign raked in more than $600,000, according to data analysis on the website.

Almost a month later and with hours left before the campaign officially closes Friday night, it has raised more than $683,000. Donations poured in from all over the United States and about 80 other countries.

The most common donation was $10 while $3,000 was the single largest contribution, according to the data analysis.

Indiegogo said Klein will get 93% of the funds while the website will keep 4% and 3% will go toward credit card processing fees. It is unclear when she will be presented with the funds or whether taxes will be applied now or later.

Max Sidorov, the Toronto man who started the online fundraiser, said he was stunned by the generosity of strangers.

"I had no idea I was going to raise anywhere near this amount. I thought maybe a few thousand," Sidorov said last month. "Maybe to send her somewhere nice. But this is enough for her to retire."

The incident occurred in Greece, near Rochester. Klein is a bus monitor for the Greece Central School District and the harassers hail from a district middle school.

The verbal abuse continued unabated for about 10 minutes in the video recorded by a student with a cell phone camera and posted on YouTube on June 19, where it has had more than 8 million views.

As the intimidation unfolded, Klein said she tried to disregard it, looking out of the window and counting down the seconds to when the students would get off the bus.

Some of the students who taunted her in the video later apologized and expressed regret for their actions.

The four boys caught on camera were suspended for a year. They will also be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and take part in a formal bullying prevention program.

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