Battery charges filed against boy, 15, in Homestead school bus beating of girl, 9

State attorney: Use of civil citation ‘incompatible with the level of violence’

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Tuesday that her office would file battery charges against a 15-year-old boy seen on a widely-shared video beating a 9-year-old girl on a school bus.

The girl is a student at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead, her mother said.

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 Wednesday.

Originally, the 15-year-old boy received a civil citation.

Fernandez Rundle said the video makes it clear that that wasn’t enough:

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

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

The victim’s mother told Local 10 News she intended to press charges.

“My goal is not to incriminate any other children,” the mother said Thursday. “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 said in a statement that it would respect whatever actions the State Attorney’s Office takes against the students involved in the attack.

“Miami-Dade County Public Schools will always work collaboratively with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to protect our student victims from violence and to seek justice under the law,” the statement read. “The District 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.”

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.