On February 1, a 9-year-old girl was beaten by two middle school boys on a Florida school bus. The suspects in the assault, whose names have not been released by authorities due to their age, may face criminal charges.
According to the New York Post, the students involved in the incident were all at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead, Florida. The two students can repeatedly be seen punching the girl in the footage of the incident, which has since gone viral across social media platforms. Allegedly, no adults stepped in to stop them.
The victim's parents are currently seeking to file charges against the alleged assailants. They claimed that in response to the video, school administrators said they were overwhelmed by reports of bullying and violence and advised parents to re-enroll their children in a different school.
NBC reported that the girl in the video suffered bruises along her back, shoulders, and head.
Parents and officials condemn the Florida school bus attack
In an interview with WSVN, the father of the 9-year-old revealed the nature of the shocking violence in the video. He said that while his daughter was being beaten in the above footage, different children simultaneously attacked his son.
The father said:
“This kid is just beating my daughter senseless for no reason. She can’t defend herself. She’s a little girl. How is this acceptable?”
“At the same time that my daughter was getting beaten, the same thing was happening to my son on the other side of the bus."
The victim's parents claimed that school officials responded with inaction. Her mother said:
“Ever since then, I’ve been to the school, and I’ve spoken with counselors, principals, assistant principals."
She added that the children are now afraid to go to school. She said:
“They love to learn, and it’s just so sad that something that they enjoy is becoming something they’re fearing now."
The father said:
"An assistant principal wrote us, and she said, ‘Oh, I think it’s time you take your kids out of the school,’ and our kids aren’t the problem."
According to NewsAU, the Miami-Dade Schools Police said they had addressed the situation. In a press release, authorities said:
"The safety and wellbeing of our students is of the utmost importance. This school district goes to great lengths to promote the values of restraint and respect as well as using social media responsibly. We ask that parents reinforce these principles at home.”
Florida authorities reported that while one of the students was arrested, the other suspect would face disciplinary action from the school. NBC reported that the 9-year-old girl's parents had entertained the idea of starting an anti-bullying rally to force the Florida school administration to deal with the issue.