by Dave Urbanski
A Florida teenage male caught on video viciously beating a 9-year-old girl on a school bus a week ago is getting charged with criminal battery, a state attorney said.
What are the details?
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said video of the attack “clearly shows that this beating was far more serious than a simple student altercation,” the Miami Herald reported, citing a Tuesday news release.
The attack took place Feb. 1 on a bus from Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead.
WFOR-TV said in an initial story that police with Miami-Dade County Public Schools arrested the suspect, who would be charged. But Fernandez Rundle told the Herald that the school’s police officer who investigated the incident issued a civil citation.
“We believe that, based on the evidence and the circumstances, the use of a civil citation was incompatible with the level of violence displayed by the 15-year-old against his much younger and smaller victim,” Fernandez Rundle said. “As a result, we have filed criminal battery charges with our juvenile courts.”
What’s the background?
Cellphone video caught the moment the girl was viciously pummeled with rapid-fire punches to her head; the assailant who delivered the vast majority of punches appeared to be significantly larger than the victim. What appears to be a smaller boy also took part in punching the girl.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials confirmed to WPLG-TV that they responded to the incident around 4:10 p.m. Wednesday and assessed two children for injuries who were then released to their parents.
The mother of the attacked girl said her 10-year-old son also was beaten on the same bus ride, WFOR reported.
At the time of the attack the mother told WFOR her children have been enrolled at the school only for three weeks.
The mother added to WPLG she’s spoken to school administrators about bullying but that the principal, assistant principal, and even a counselor have done nothing about it. She added to the station that the principal told her that staff members are overwhelmed and recommended that she withdraw her children from the school.
She’s not the only parent concerned about what’s happening at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy, as another mother told WFOR that “my son was bullied at that school since the beginning of the school year.”
This mother added to WFOR that her son — a third-grade student — was repeatedly physically bullied by his peers, but that despite her reaching out several times to the school and messaging teachers and administrators, she was ignored or not answered for weeks.
Things got so bad that she pulled her son from the school, WFOR reported.