Courtesy of: Kristen Gosling
By Jackee Coe, The Republic | azcentral.com
Two Apache Junction High School students were disciplined after school
officials investigated allegations they had bullied a junior high student on a
school bus, officials said.
A Cactus Canyon Junior High student reported to the school's assistant
principal on the morning of March 6 that two high school students previously had
burned him while riding on a school bus to the Apache Junction Boys and Girls
Club, Apache Junction Unified School District spokesman Brian Killgore said.
The principal investigated the incident and by the afternoon had identified
the two high school students who allegedly used lighters to heat up erasers and
then touch the 13-year-old student on the arms and neck, he said. They were
reported to the Apache Junction Police Department.
One student was disciplined on March 7 and the other was disciplined on March
8 because he didn't attend school the day before, Killgore said. He declined to
say what the discipline was, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and
The victim told The Republic Wednesday that the incidents started in February
and continued for several weeks. He said he was scared to report it because the
high school students threatened to beat him up if he did. The Republic does not
name victims of crime.
The boy's mother, who The Republic is also not naming, said they could tell
something was happening because his behavior changed "drastically" as he began
lashing out at his parents and sister and disrespecting everyone. After several
days of trying to get him to tell them what was wrong, he finally told them
about the bullying on the school bus.
The boy had scars on his arm and the back of his neck from where he said the
high school students burned him with the erasers. He also had a bruise on his
left cheek from where he said he was punched multiple times by an 8th-grade
student who jumped him Monday at the bus stop in retaliation for reporting the
"As a mother, I'm heartbroken, I'm sad. I'm so angry that something like this
could happen to my child," she said. "And if it happened to him, how many other
children in that school or that school district is it happening to also that
haven't come forward or are too scared to come forward?"
The boy's parents reported the burning incidents to the Apache Junction
Police Department on March 5, who conducted an investigation and submitted the
case to the Pinal County Attorney's Office's juvenile division, Interim Police
Chief Thomas Kelly said. The attorney's office will determine whether to file
charges against the juveniles.
Another police report shows the boy was assaulted Monday at a bus stop by
another 13-year-old student, but investigators were unable to find a connection
to the previous incidents, Kelly said. The teen, who punched the boy in the
face, was arrested and the Police Department submitted an assault charge to the
county attorney's office.
The mother said bullying has "gotten out of
control," and all adults - whether parents, school officials, bus drivers,
neighbors or just passersby - need to stand up against bullying.
"No parent wants their child to be harmed and it's hard enough for us to try
and look out for them from the predators and other incidents that can happen on
the streets nowadays," she said. "Now we have to watch for other juveniles to
harm our children physically and emotionally? It just has to stop. The bullying
has to stop."
Article Online: http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/370873/28/Bullies-burn-child-on-school-bus