‘I Couldn’t Look at the Video’: Florida 15-Year-Old Faces More Serious Charges In Vicious School Bus Attack on 9-Year-Old Girl; Says He Was Defending Little Brother

A 15-year-old boy who was caught on cellphone video beating up an elementary student on a Miami school bus will face criminal charges for the crime.

Police records indicate the boy admitted to repeatedly striking the much younger girl in the head because she and his brother got into an earlier altercation.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the unnamed teen, who repeatedly struck the 9-year-old girl as she rode on the bus from Coconut Palm K-8 Academy to her home, will be charged with battery in juvenile court for the Wednesday, Feb. 1 incident, according to NBC 6.

Florida school bus attack video
Florida school bus attack video.(Twitter video screen grab)

Another boy was seen on the video striking the girl after the teen reportedly received a civil citation; it is unclear if he will face criminal charges.

The 9-year-old, who reportedly sustained bruises on her head, back and shoulders, believes maybe it was her fault, according to her mother, who only wants to go by the name Jenni.

“She has self-blame and fear from the situation,” the mother said. “It’s just a lot of trauma to heal, and it’s a process for us here at home.”

Rundle’s office issued a statement, describing the incident as one more than a “simple student altercation.”

“The February 1, 2023, school bus video of a 15-year-old boy pummeling a 9-year-old girl, clearly shows that this beating was far more serious than a simple student altercation. The school’s police officer who investigated the matter had the discretion to issue a civil citation, as the officer did here, or make an arrest for misdemeanor battery,” the statement reads in part.

“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,” she continued. “As a result, we have filed criminal battery charges with our juvenile courts.”

Miami-Dade County Public Schools said in a statement that it “supports and respects the role of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office in ultimately reviewing and determining the most appropriate charge for each respective case.”

School board members have expressed that this type of behavior should “never be tolerated” in their schools.

Board member Luisa Santos represents the area where the incident took place and said in part, “Anytime we see violence related to students and school staff it is unacceptable behavior that we don’t tolerate.”

She continued, “They should know that it is never acceptable to act out violently.”

Jenni said her daughter was not the only victim. According to the mother, her slightly older 10-year-old son was assaulted on the same ride as his sister.

“Another kid came out of nowhere and hit my son and he fell to his knees, and they started to hit him,” she said.

Despite having only attended the school in Homestead, Florida, for three weeks, the children, their mom said, have faced bullying prior to the Feb. 1 incident. Hours before the school bus incident, she had reported to the local CBS affiliate how her children experienced bullying at the academy for pre-K to eighth-grade students.

As for the video of the Feb. 1 incident, Jenni said she didn’t view it in its entirety.

“Emotionally, I couldn’t even last two minutes. I couldn’t look at the video. Like any mother, I am destroyed. I fell to my knees and at that moment I said I have to do something,” said Jenni.

Now the two kids are traumatized, Jenni reports, even though the pain from the incident is going away.

“This is an unfortunate incident,” said school board member Dr. Steve Gallon III. “It is our obligation to ensure the safety of our students so I was deeply troubled by the visuals I saw; I think it is an isolated case.”

“I think that some form of rehabilitation is needed because children who feel that aggressiveness and violence is the only answer need to have a way to change that form of thought,” added Jenni.

“I want to see solutions, and I want to see it. My kids weren’t safe from it, but I don’t want another mother to be going through what I’m going through,” she said.

“My child is not the first, and if they don’t do anything about it,” Jenni said, “it’s not going to be the last.”

The school district reportedly also is looking at the bus driver’s response and attentiveness to the situation in order to determine if the driver also will face disciplinary action.

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