‘I was horrified by what I saw’: Video shows 5th-grade girl beating up 7-year-old boy on school bus — and parents are livid

News & Politics

Livid parents are speaking out in regard to a video showing a 5th-grade girl beating up a 7-year-old boy on a school bus in Michigan earlier this month.

What’s the background?

WNDU-TV said the March 4 incident between the Ballard Elementary School students took place on the “PM route home” in Niles. The city is in Michigan’s southwest corner and is about a half-hour drive from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

WSBT noted that the two-minute video is filled with both students hollering profanity at each other, and the boy tried to hit the girl’s phone out of her hand, after which the girl jumped up and punched the boy two to three times.

Following continued arguing, the girl punched the boy again for about eight to nine seconds, WSBT said.

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WNDU said the video showed the girl “punching the smaller, defenseless male student more than 18 times in the head.”

WSBT said multiple parents have expressed concern for their children’s safety — with some alleging other children also have had altercations with the girl in question.

WNDU said it reached out to the apparent parents of the two children but heard back only from the girl’s father, who said, “I don’t want to talk to you.” WBND-LD reported that the father indicated that his daughter has been expelled.

Niles Community Schools Superintendent Daniel Applegate said that while there were two adults aboard the bus at the time of the incident — an experienced driver helping a first-time driver with directions and stop locations — they weren’t aware of what was going on “due to the noise throughout the bus and their focus on route and drop-offs,” WSBT said.

Brittany Ottinger told WNDU her son was sitting next to the boy the girl was hitting and that her son’s “head got pushed up against the window,” after which he ended up with a bruised eye.

“He was terrified to go back to school,” Ottinger added to WNDU. She also told the station she wasn’t informed about the incident until days later.

“I didn’t want to send him back to school, but I had no choice,” Ottinger also told WNDU. “And I felt bad as a mom for encouraging him to go back to school.”

Niles police are investigating the incident and working with the bus garage and the school system, WNDU added.

Parents speak out

Parents gathered Wednesday to speak about the incident and what they say is a bullying epidemic at the school that isn’t being addressed, WBND reported.

T.J. Camp, the father of the boy who was repeatedly hit by the girl, said his children won’t be returning to Ballard Elementary, the administration’s statements aren’t true, and his family is considering legal options, the station reported.

“I was horrified by what I saw,” Camp said, according to WBND. “The school told me there were two adults on the bus, a driver, and a monitor. As you can see in the video, nothing was done to stop the attack on my child.”

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