The first day of school, even the first school bus ride can be a traumatic experience for a child. But a 13-year-old girl in Ocala, Fla., never bargained for the welcome she received last week.
The Ocala Star-Banner reported that the student was riding the bus on Jan. 6 to her middle school for the very first time when, she told police, several students refused to let her take a seat. One of the students threw a shoe at her, and the girl threw it back, which allegedly resulted in other students retaliating.
The beating was so bad that the girl was taken to a local hospital and treated for a concussion, bruises and muscle spasms. Several witnesses said the girl appeared to suffer seizures on the bus floor following the attack.
According to police, one student who admitted to fighting with the girl said she punched her "in the head 10 to 15 times."
The driver told police that he stopped the bus when the fight broke out, but the students stopped. When the fight resumed, he drove to nearby elementary school and summoned school officials, who then called authorities.
The issue of school bus advertising has been once again taken up by the Florida legislature, which, we reported, passed a version of the latest bill out of a Senate committee. Also this week, Kentucky lawmakers also passed HB 30 out of committee.
The incident might have gone unnoticed, but a parent asked school district officials to review conditions caught on surveillance cameras in a Houston school bus. As they were reviewing the footage, something else caught their eye. Two 10-year-old boys were sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy.
According to the Jan. 11 Daily News article, all three boys have special needs. But what is making people gasp about this incident are the charges against the boys: aggravated sexual assault of a minor, which can lead them to face up to 40 years in prison if they are convicted.
The article quotes one of the accused boys’ mother, saying her son knows the difference between right and wrong and that she doesn’t believe anything went on. Meanwhile, the mother of the abused 8-year-old has pulled her son from school and is dealing with the aftermath. “He has a hard time sleeping. He cries a lot,” she says in the article.
The incident raises some questions. Did the two accused special-needs boys knew or understood what they were doing? If they did know, are the charges still too extreme? And what about the victim and his family? Surely, the parents of all three boys are dealing with a difficult situation.
Getting an A or B at school is a challenge for some students — and apparently for many states across the country. Education Week (EdWeek) this week released Quality Counts 2012, its annual special report that includes its annual State of the State report card. The Center for Public Education lists key findings from the State of the State report card in a blog.
According to the report card, the nation as a whole once again received a C. No state scored an A or an F. Maryland scored the highest for the fourth consecutive time with a B-plus. New York, Massachusetts and Virginia all earned a B. Forty-one states earned between a C-minus and C-plus, and South Dakota earned a D.
While these grades may sound dismal, the states have been proactive in improving their standards, assessments and accountability systems, according to the report.