Children are usually more accommodating towards each other in most instances. They take time to warm up to people in new environments but when they do, one would think they have known each other for ages.
They also tend to bond with other children beyond racial lines, but two white elementary school girls, aged 10 and 11, have been arrested for assaulting a 10-year-old African American girl on their school bus. The 11-year-old is also facing felony charges for committing a hate crime.
The two white girls viciously beat the black girl, pulling out her hair and bruising her knee when she fell on the back seat of the bus. The victim also had a black eye and was exposed to “racially motivated language,” CNN reports.
The African-American girl’s parents reported the incident to the police on September 10 after seeing their child return home from school bruised from the assault.
This incident occurred in Gouverneur, New York, a little town near the Canadian border which has a predominantly white populace, NY Times reveals. Gouverneur Police Sgt. Darren Fairbanks said, “It’s not very often that we charge a hate crime in the village of Gouverneur.”
The interesting twist to the story is, the assault happened in the presence of an adult who did nothing to rescue the 10-year-old black girl from her assailants. This makes the white bus monitor a passive participant in the assault.
According to CNN, the 28-year-old ‘First Student’ bus monitor has also been charged with “three counts endangering the welfare of a child” because police said she watched on as the assault happened, but “did not make an effort to stop and/or prevent said behaviour.”
Speaking to WWNY, Lauren French, superintendent of the Gouverneur Central School District, said in all her years as an officer, the assault on the little girl by her peers was the most devastating.
This “is probably the most professionally devastating event since I started working at Gouverneur in 1984. I firmly believe we are better than this and we have to take a stand.”
French added that “The loss of civility in this world is being played out in the realm of 10- and 11-year-olds, there is no shade of grey in this. This event was wrong on all levels,” The Times reports.
The Governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, also shared French’s sentiments.
“That this was allegedly perpetrated by her own classmates, on a school bus with an adult monitor present, makes this incident even more shocking and troubling,” he told the Times in a statement.
Cuomo added that the 20 minutes incidence requires further probing, so he has tasked the Division of Human Rights to open an enquiry into the incident. The Hate Crime task force was asked by the governor to assist local authorities in the matter at hand.
The case will be heard in family court as the 10 and 11-year-old will be charged as juveniles. The girls and their parents have been referred to St. Lawrence County Probation to await further action.