HOMESTEAD, Fla. – A South Florida mother says she is pressing charges against the children who were captured on camera beating her 9-year-old daughter on the school bus.
The mother says her daughter is a third grade student at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead.
“I got sent the video of my daughter getting attacked by an older kid,” the mother, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Local 10 News.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials confirmed they responded to the incident around 4:10 p.m. Wednesday in the area of 24400 SW 124th Ave. Officials said they assessed two children for injuries, who were then released to their parents.
The video shows a group of children onboard a school bus arguing one minute – the next minute, a student is seen punching the young girl repeatedly.
A second student then jumps in and pummels the girl, as well. Both students appear to be boys.
“All ages are on that bus and it’s overfilled,” the mother said. “It’s very crazy because there’s all this yelling going on in the bus and the two adults on the bus – the bus (driver) and the bus aide, only sit in the front.”
“I’m very upset and disappointed in the response that children now take matters into their own hands with violence,” another mother told Local 10 News outside the school Thursday morning. “This violence has got to stop. It’s starting from somewhere. Parents need to do more and pay more attention to their children that’s causing these violent acts.”
The victim’s mother told Local 10 News that her daughter and two other children – a 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy – have only been attending the school since Jan. 9.
She said she has spoken to administration about bullying since it’s affected her two eldest children, but she says the principal, assistant principal and even a counselor have done nothing about it, with the principal telling her they are overwhelmed and advising her to withdraw her children from the school.
“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.”
The woman says she fears someone could get seriously hurt or even killed if this continues.
“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.”
According to the mother, Miami-Dade Schools Police and Fire Rescue responded. She said she will be pressing charges.
“My goal is not to incriminate any other children,” the mother said. “My goal is to make sure they have the security for the kids to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen.”
Miami-Dade County Public Schools reported the incident is under review to determine whether the employee who was near the students will face disciplinary action.
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 school district released the following statement to Local 10 News on Thursday:
“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,” a statement from the school district read. “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.”