A nine-year-old girl in Homestead, FL was brutally attacked on a school bus Wednesday by multiple boys, one of whom looked to be significantly older, while the two adults on the bus ignored what was happening. The girl and another student were assessed by first responders when the bus stopped before being released to their parents and the two attackers were arrested, but Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials were happy to ignore the continued bullying reported by the girl’s family.
And then a video of the attack started circulating online, eventually going viral.
Viral video shows two boys beating a 9-year-old girl on a school bus in Homestead, Fla. on Feb. 1. The mother of the girl says she has reported bullying to Coconut Palm K-8 Academy but was informed they couldn’t do anything. pic.twitter.com/y3FlfrtNyJ
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) February 3, 2023
The girl and her two siblings just started attending Coconut Palm K-8 Academy on January 9, and all three have been bullied. Their mother has repeatedly complained about bullying to counselors, the vice-principal, and the principal, but was told that they were “overwhelmed” and advised her to withdraw her children. She told a local news station:
“We’ve had issues before with my son and the kids on the bus, and also in the cafeteria and at dismissal,” the mother said. “I already drew the line and I was also on phone with the district — I spoke with someone from the district — and the only thing they could advise me of was to continue to speak with the principal and pull up a bully report.”
“You’re taking care of our children — you’re still responsible for them,” she said. “That’s what you have a job for. Not only to teach them, but if you see anything going on in your classroom, you don’t necessarily have to physically intervene, but call somebody who can. Because if somebody’s child ends up dead, it’s on the school.”
Unfortunately, we already know that Miami-area schools ignore student violence situations until there are deadly results. And, as in this case, the machinery stands behind the adult employees refusing to get involved. It was totally within policy for the bus driver and bus aid to sit idly by.
Phyllis LaFlore, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1184, the union that represents MDCPS transportation, custodian, and maintenance workers said the bus driver and bus aid didn’t violate the school board’s policy.
The maddening reply from the school district is telling in that it addresses the video clips first.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is aware that several video clips involving students from Coconut Palm K-8 Academy are circulating on a social media platform, which promotes prohibited unsafe behavior. Miami-Dade Schools Police arrested the offender and they will be charged accordingly. Additionally, those involved will be disciplined according to the Code of Student Conduct. 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.”
Exactly how are the values of restraint being promoted, except in the restraint exhibited by the adults on the bus?
The victim’s mother told reporters that she will be pursuing action against the district, in an attempt to ensure that all students are kept safe. It looks like she’s got an ally in Ryan Petty, a member of the Florida Department of Education, whose daughter Alaina was killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
We (FLDOE) are looking into this brutal beating and reports that this young girl was already being bullied.
This is not acceptable in Florida schools. https://t.co/QYGh54zgzy
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) February 3, 2023