The Greece Central School District sent out a release detailing the discipline.
The four Greece Athena Middle School students who bullied bus monitor Karen Klein will be suspended from school for one year. All four students waived their right to a formal hearing, accepting responsibility for what happened and agreeing to the punishment after meeting with District officials. Each student will also be suspended from bus transportation for a year, be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and complete a formal program in bullying prevention.
The Greece community reacted quickly to the punishment announcement. "I think they deserve it because of what they did, they almost made the lady cry," said Greece Arcadia student Byron Hearst.
Vince DiBenedetto is a longtime Greece resident. "The punishment, by the hearing of it, is adequate for the situation," he said. "Should it have been harder? I think it should've been."
By law the District is obligated to educate the students. That instruction will take place at the District's Reengagement Center, a non-school facility in the former West Ridge Elementary School. If the students meet certain conditions, they could return to Athena Middle School after 30 weeks, in mid-April.
Greece Olympia student Chris Bauer said the punishment is fair, but won't have the desire effect. "I don't think that they're going to learn from it," he said. "It's still a punishment, they're going to hate it and everything, they're just not going to, it's just the way kids are nowadays."
The punishment sets the bar for how the District will approach future bullying cases. "I think bullying is going to be a bigger topic now just because of that, they're going to stress it more in school probably," said Hearst.
DiBenedetto said the District needs to keep the pressure on kids to behave. "They need to treat all the cases this way, not just these selected few because I'm sure it goes on more than one time on the bus," he noted.
Klein was traveling in Boston Friday, but her feedback was factored into the District's punishment. The District also announced previously scheduled training for staff, including transportation employees, will take place over the summer regarding bullying situations.