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CORRECTION: Social media activism: Teens support bullying victim

Changes attribution in 9th paragraph

Posted: June 22, 2012 3:00 a.m.
Updated: June 22, 2012 9:33 a.m.

This Facebook page was created by two Valencia teens in support of a 68-year-old woman who was a victim of bullying.

 

Two Valencia residents created the first Facebook page to gather national support for Karen Klein, a 68-year-old victim of bullying whose video has gained national support and sympathy this week.

Ronan MacIvor, 18, and Kenneth Quilantang, 17, created the page to catch an overflow of messages sent to Klein’s Facebook inbox. Within two days, the page boasted about 3,000 unique wall posts, more than 4,000 “likes,” private messages, comments, donation offers and requests for media contact.

Macivor’s and Quilantang’s Facebook page is separate from the fundraising campaign on indiegogo.com, which raised more than $350,000 in donations for Klein to take a vacation. The local youths together donated $80 to Klein’s indiegogo.com campaign.

In a 10-minute video posted on reddit.com, middle school students from outside of Rochester, N.Y., threw insults, profanities and threats at Klein, verbally abusing her as the bus monitor quietly endured.

The children called her “fat” and attacked her appearance before suggesting that her own children commit suicide.
“We were both speechless. There was a long moment of silence between us,” Macivor said of the viciousness displayed on the video. “And I said, ‘I think we should do something about this, so everyone can learn from this.’”

“We want to combine all the information, bring people together and spread the message,” Quilantang said. Klein has not contacted the Facebook page, but its originators hope that she will see the outpouring of support and take comfort in the public’s comments, Macivor said.

Macivor and Quilantang plan to take further action through social media. Using Twitter, Macivor has enlisted the help of followers in a campaign for the attention of Lady Gaga, who has led a campaign against bullying.

“She would amplify everything,” Macivor said.

Quilantang decided to try reaching a younger audience in support of anti-bullying after he noticed that most of the traffic on the site came from adults.

The two are also trying to increase local awareness and had more than 170 Santa Clarita-area friends in support of the page Thursday, Macivor said.

“I’m sure all of us can relate to this in some way or another,” Macivor said.

The Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/Karen.Huff.Klein.

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