Karen Klein: Bullies aren't bad kids

The grandma who endured horrific abuse on a school bus, then felt the Internet's love, now defends her tormentors

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published June 22, 2012 3:50PM (EDT)

The Karen Klein story just keeps unfolding. As of Friday, the fund for Klein is now inching toward the $500,000 mark. Though Klein says, "I just don't feel like it'll come to me anyway, so I don't think too much about it. It's a nice gesture, but I just don't know if it's for real or not," Southwest Airlines has promised to send Klein on an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland.

Salon reached out to the man behind the campaign, Max Sidorov, Thursday for an interview; so far there has been no response. He did, however, tell the National Post that he was a victim of bullying as a child, and that "I really felt almost heartbroken to see that people would do such a thing to a nice lady. So, I just thought I had to do something about it."

Meanwhile, the father of one of the boys involved in the incident told CBS News Friday, "There's no excuse. And we're going to get to the bottom of that, but it really broke my heart and I shed a lot of tears thinking about that whole thing and I just want you to know that my family, all of us, are deeply saddened by this whole thing and we're going to get it right."

Klein, meanwhile, told Anderson Cooper Thursday the kids involved aren't bad kids, "Not deep down. But when they get together, things happen. Some things worse than other things."




By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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