A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Charges in schoolbus beating

Two teen assailants have been charged in the beating of a ten year old on a school bus in New Baltimore, Michigan. The assault took place on May 12.
Two teenage boys have been charged with assault in the school bus beating of a 10-year-old that was recorded by a surveillance camera.

The tape shows the 13- and 14-year-old boys taunting and teasing Chester Gala on their way home from Anchor Bay Middle School North on May 12. Gala told police that he was hit about 15 times on the head and face.

One of the teens was suspended for the remainder of the year, while action against the other boy was not disclosed, principal Timothy Brisbois said Tuesday.

The tape shows one of the teens standing up and punching Gala repeatedly.

"He's twice the victim's size," Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens. "It's really sickening to watch."

The student who was shown punching Gala was charged with assault, a one-year misdemeanor. The other student, who was shown poking his finger at Gala, was charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a penalty of up to 93 days in jail, Smith told The Detroit News.

Both were awaiting pretrial hearings in juvenile court, authorities said.

Gala did not miss any school because of the beating.

Despite the altercation, the bus driver continued her route and yelled for the boys to stop fighting, Gala told New Baltimore police. She also asked if he was all right and handed him a paper towel for his bloody nose, he said.

Brisbois said he has no problem with the way the bus driver conducted herself. "She told the students to stop, and they stopped the hitting immediately. This could have been a much worse situation," he said.

Assault charges are certainly warranted. I once witnessed a much smaller student get punched in the face by an older and much larger student as they were walking home from school. After intervening, I got the names of the kids, provided first aid to the victim, and then took him back to school so that the nurse could help him.

I called the victim's father, who said that the assailant had been tormenting his son for weeks. When I suggested he file assault charges with the police, his response was, "You can do that?" Since the tormenting that led to the fight started at school, we took disciplinary action, and the young thug was charged with assault. The thug's dad protested his son's suspension, since the assault hadn't occurred on school property (the thug had planned it so that he hit his victim across the street from school property).

However, he soon found out that a fight that starts at school, even if it's only verbal while at school, can indeed lead to school discipline. In addition, his son was indeed found guilty of assault under the juvenile code and received consequences through the system. Legally, the school district stands in loco parentis until the student gets across his own threshhold, whether they are walking home or on the school bus.


At 6/20/06, 4:15 PM, Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

I think both situations--the one in the article and the one at your school--were handled pretty well. We definitely can't tolerate the bullying that occurred in either of these cases.

Although I'm sure there are many who are unhappy with the bus driver, I have a great deal of sympathy for those people. It's hard enough dealing with discipline at the front of a class, but when everything is happening behind you, and you're trying to drive, it can't be easy.

By the way, your thug's father sounds like a real dandy!

At 6/20/06, 5:34 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

If the bus driver had pulled over, that would have been much more dangerous. What if one of the kids had bolted from the bus? What if one had attacked the driver?

Since the kids stopped when she verbally instructed them to, the driver was better off keeping going. The assailants got 14-15 blows in, but the driver's attention has to be on the road.

Yes, that father was a real prize. Apples and trees, you know.

At 6/20/06, 8:06 PM, Blogger TEACHER SOL said...

This is not extraordinary in our school. Congratulations to us, classroom teachers, for getting through the school year. We survived and thrived despite trying conditions. What are you doing for summer?

At 6/20/06, 9:03 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Ha- because I am a total nerd I am working on the curriculum for my classes. Plus I am refereeing -- I mean, playing with-- my kids. Plus we got a new puppy, which I am now training.

Then there's sleeping.... And reading. And blogging, right?

What are you all going to be doing?

At 6/20/06, 9:06 PM, Blogger DCS said...

This is a very sad story on all counts.

At 6/20/06, 9:34 PM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

I agree with DCS, it's sad that Ms. Corenelius is doing work when the summer has just started! :-P

At 6/21/06, 8:18 AM, Blogger Forty_Two said...

A parent of a bully who expresses any kind of support for what his son did should be criminally charged as if he committed the crime himself.

It's all right there in my MISSION STATEMENT.

What do you think of my August, 2005 post?

At 6/21/06, 10:02 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Ha, thanks, MiT.

I hope you're basting-- I mean enjoying-- that Texas summer heat!

At 6/24/06, 7:17 PM, Blogger Janet said...

I wish I could say this shocked me, but sometimes I'm shocked more doesn't happen...given what I see every day in my classroom.

At 6/25/06, 5:20 PM, Blogger The Rain said...

The video is on-line at the Today show's website. I've got a link to it on my site:


At 6/27/06, 10:33 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Tahnks, rain!


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