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€400k pours in for brave granny bullied by boys on the school bus

Just 48 hours after a video of 68-year-old grandmother Karen Klein being bullied went viral on the internet, an online fund for her has topped $500,000 (€400,000).

A video of four boys mercilessly taunting the bus monitor in New York state has turned the victim into an international fundraising juggernaut and opened her tormentors to an onslaught of threats and abuse.

From around the world, small donations for Mrs Klein poured into the crowd-funding site indiegogo.com, crashing it at one point.

The fund will continue to collect donations until July 20, after which the money will be given to Mrs Klein. The bullies from the video have since apologised to her. One said: "I feel really bad about what I did. I wish I had never done those things."

At the same time, police were stepping up patrols around the houses of the middle-schoolers accused of taunting her after one boy received more than 1,000 death threats.

The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cellphone video recorded by a student of Athena Middle School in the Greece Central District and later posted to YouTube.

The video shows Mrs Klein trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats. One student taunted: "You don't have a family because they all killed themselves because they don't want to be near you."

Mrs Klein's oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.

Eventually, she appears to break down in tears.

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

Mrs Klein said she was "amazed" at the support she received. "I've got these nice letters, emails, Facebook messages," she said. "It's like, wow, there's a whole world out there that I didn't know. It's really awesome."

The swell of support for Mrs Klein follows a recent surge in awareness of bullying in the US.

The fundraiser was initially designed to send the grandmother of eight on a "vacation of a lifetime." Some 20,875 people had donated by early yesterday, many giving sums of ¤15 or less.