The ten-minute video, in which students from Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester insult 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein, making her cry, has received more than 1.8 million views on YouTube.
In an interview with the Today Show on Thursday about the video, Klein said "I'm sure they don't act that way at home, but you never know what they're going to do when they're out of the house. They should have been taught to respect their elders."
In response, a donation fund started on the website indiegogo.com reached $464,871 for Klein at 9:04 a.m. EDT on Friday and was still climbing, according to a live tally posted on the site. The fund was created on Wednesday.
The post connected to the fund says that Klein "doesn't earn nearly enough" to deal with the children bullying her. "Let's give her something she will never forget, a vacation of a lifetime!"
Max Sidorov, who started the fund, told CNN he felt heartbroken for Klein after seeing the video. "I felt I had to do something for her," he said.
A statement from the Greece Central School District, where Athena Middle School is located, said police have become involved in an investigation of the incident, interviewing "all of those involved."
"We do not tolerate harassment of staff or students," the statement said.