New Battery Charge for Teen in Brutal School Bus Beating of 9-Year-Old Girl Caught on Camera

Prosecutors have filed criminal battery charges against a 15-year-old who was seen in a video repeatedly punching a 9-year-old girl on a school bus in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Tuesday that the charges would be filed in juvenile courts.

The incident happened on Feb. 1 on a bus from Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead and was caught on cellphone video.

The footage that was posted on social media showed a group of students arguing before the older boy started beating the 9-year-old girl.

A second student was seen joining in on the vicious attack.

The 15-year-old was initially given a civil citation, also known as a written arrest, but Fernandez Rundle said that a more serious charge was warranted.

“The February 1, 2023, school bus video of a 15-year-old boy pummeling a 9-year-old girl, clearly shows that this beating was far more serious than a simple student altercation. The school’s police officer who investigated the matter had the discretion to issue a civil citation, as the officer did here, or make an arrest for misdemeanor battery,” Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “We believe that, based on the evidence and the circumstances, the use of a civil citation was incompatible with the level of violence displayed by the 15-year-old against his much younger and smaller victim. As a result, we have filed criminal battery charges with our juvenile courts.”

Miami-dade County Public Schools officials said the students involved would be disciplined according to the code of student conduct.

The girl’s mother said it started as a verbal argument and escalated.

“This needs to be taken care of right away. Our children are in danger at school where we are trusting other people to do their jobs,” said the mother, who only wanted to be identified as Jenni. “That’s not justifiable. It doesn’t matter what was said. Our kids need to learn that through violence nothing is resolved.”