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Bullied bus monitor Karen Klein: Donations mount to $400k-plus (+video)

Bullied bus monitor Karen Klein, who was nastily bullied by middle schoolers earlier this week, has received more that $443,000 in donations from around the world. Three of the students have issued written apologies as of Thursday night.

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Birchak noted that the kids are growing up in a world of harsh political debates and reality TV shows in which berating people is part of the entertainment. Meanwhile, taking videos of people in humiliating situations and sharing the images has become all too normal among many adolescents, "Kids are growing up saying, 'OK, this is how you treat your fellow human being and it's OK to do those things,'" he said.

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(People magazine reported today that three of the students seen taunting Klein in the video have issued apologies to her.  "I am so sorry for the way I treated you," one students identified as "Josh," said in a statement issued by police Thursday to Anderson Cooper 360. "When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again." "Wesley," another student, People reported, similarly wrote: "I feel really bad about what I did. I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them." )

Police said Klein does not want the boys to face criminal charges, partly because of the storm of criticism leveled at them.

Klein told NBC's "Today" show Thursday that it took "a lot of willpower" not to respond to the jeers from the four boys riding the bus operated by the Greece Central School District. Klein said she was "amazed" at the support she received.

"I've got these nice letters, e-mails, Facebook messages," she said. "It's like, wow, there's a whole world out there that I didn't know. It's really awesome."

Klein did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The fundraiser flew past its goal of $5,000, initially designed to send the grandmother of eight on a "vacation of a lifetime." Some 20,875 people had donated by early Friday, many in denominations of $20 or less.

"You want to jump into that bus and you want to grab those kids and say 'Knock it off!' And you want to hold her," said Amy Weber, a 43-year-old independent filmmaker from the Detroit area who pledged $100.

"I think we hear about bullying every day and we become a little desensitized to it. This puts it in our face" said Weber, who is making a feature film about a bully.

Slava Rubin, Indiegogo's chief executive officer and co-founder, called the outpouring "an incredible campaign."

"We're seeing good Samaritans come together to support this brave woman, and we hope that this campaign contributes positively to the important national discussion about bullying," Rubin said in a prepared statement.

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