In central Florida, seven youths are being held following an altercation in which a 13-year-old girl was beaten senseless on a school bus. On Friday, January 6, approximately 75 children were riding a school bus to the middle school at Ocala, which is north of Orlando. This was the first trip on the bus for the victim. According to an arrest report, the victim attested that a shoe was thrown at her when no one would let her sit down. When the victim threw a shoe in retaliation, another girl reportedly asked other students if they wanted to hit the victim, then told fellow teenagers to encircle the victim who was then struck and kicked. Witnesses saw the girl fall to the floor of the bus, where she appeared to have a seizure and lose consciousness.
The girl, who has not been officially identified, was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed as having suffered a concussion, as well as bruises to her head and muscle spasms.
Seven teenaged students, five girls and two boys ranging from 12 to 15-year-olds, have been charged with battery and disorderly conduct. They have not been identified since they are minors.
When the male bus driver recognized that there was a fight on his bus, he pulled over to intervene. He then continued to drive when the fight appeared to subside. When the fight was rekindled, the driver was unable to contain it and so drove to a school where he summoned law enforcement.
Local authorities interviewed all the students on the bus. Ten students said they saw the seven "commit battery upon the victim as a group," according to criminal report. One alleged perpetrator admitted to kicking the hapless victim, but claimed the assault was an accident. Other alleged assailants claimed to have hit the girl, while several others denied it.
Deputy Shannon Wiles wrote in a report that one 14-year-old girl climbed over several seats filled with students to get to the victim and thereupon “punched the defendant repeatedly in the head, approximately 10-15 times because the victim called her a name." For now, the defendants will not be allowed to enter the school or campus until the matter is resolved.
Elsewhere in Florida, some victims have retaliated against bullies. In Collier County last week, a judge dismissed a second-degree murder charge against Jorge Saavedra for the stabbing death of 16-year-old student. The case was dismissed on the grounds that Saavedra, who was 14 at the time, acted in self-defense under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law when he was assaulted on a school bus in January 2011, according to the Naples Daily News.