Athens County’s prosecuting attorney confirmed Monday that a charge of delinquency has been filed in Athens County Juvenile Court against a 17-year-old Nelsonville-York High School student after an online video of her repeatedly punching another student in the face on a school bus last Friday went viral online.
The victim in the case was a 14-year-old Nelsonville-York Middle School student with multiple disabilities, her cousin Tammy Miller said in an interview Monday. The video – which went viral over the weekend on Facebook – appears to show the 17-year-old girl repeatedly hitting the 14-year-old girl in the face as they both stand in the middle of the aisle on a school bus.
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said Monday that a single charge of juvenile delinquency – a charge that would be considered assault (a first-degree misdemeanor) if she were an adult – was filed against the 17-year-old student after his office received the case from the Nelsonville Police Department. He said his office is still investigating, and additional charges could be filed against the girl (or others, Blackburn said).
Miller said Monday afternoon that her cousin still had a headache at that time, and her face remained bruised.
“She has been seen Friday and last night by a doctor due to headaches and vomiting,” Miller said. “She is upset and scared.”
The NPD in a statement on its Facebook page Friday said anyone with more information on the incident should contact police Sgt. John Meeks at email@example.com
“The Nelsonville Police Department is aware of videos on Facebook of an altercation that occurred on a Nelsonville-York City School bus on Friday,” the NPD statement reads. “This incident has been reported to our department, and the matter is under investigation. Thanks to all who contacted our department about this matter.”
Nelsonville Police Chief Chris Johnson provided a copy of the incident report Monday afternoon. The report was filed after the victim’s grandmother came to the station Friday and provided police with a cellphone video of the incident. The report notes that the victim said she was standing up for a friend who was being bullied by the 17-year-old girl.
While the charge filed against the alleged aggressor in this case is a good first step, Miller (an adult from Logan) said she wants Nelsonville-York City Schools to enforce a zero-tolerance bullying policy, and for the alleged offender to not be allowed back on the bus to “hurt other children.”
Miller alleged that the 17-year-old in question has bullied others before.
Miller scheduled a meeting at the Nelsonville Public Library early Wednesday evening (Oct. 30) to obtain more information on anyone who has been bullied by the girl in question, and to discuss the issue of bullying in general at Nelsonville-York City Schools.
Blackburn added that the 17-year-old girl is expected to appear before a Juvenile Court judge within the next 30 days.
School Supt. Rick Edwards confirmed Monday that the school district is conducting “an ongoing investigation into the incident.”
“We will be following the student code of conduct as it comes to discipline,” he added.
Edwards noted that bullying is something that is “frowned upon” by the school district, adding that we “try to do our best to contain it.”
He declined to comment on the allegation that the student in this case has bullied others. Edwards allegedly told news outlet 10TV-Columbus that the school district had not received any prior reports of “troubling behavior” by the student in question.
“When asked if there were any concerns about how the incident was handled on a moving school bus, he (Edwards) said the bus driver did all he could in the situation,” the 10TV article reads. “And it was actually the driver who first reported what happened.”
Edwards in a follow-up phone call Tuesday declined to confirm any of that information, instead noting that the investigation is ongoing into the matter and declining to say more.
This is not the first time that this school district has come under fire for its response to alleged cases of bullying.
The NEWS reported last September about photos shared on Facebook of a then 6-year-old Nelsonville-York Elementary School student with injuries – including a cast on his arm, bruising and a bloody nose – that he suffered after several alleged instances of bullying at school.
The young boy’s parents, Jennifer Britton and Christopher Fox, had accused the Elementary School’s administration of neglecting to address bullying toward their son and other children in the district.
Another post similarly went viral earlier this year in February, which appears to show a N-Y student dragging another student by the hair off the school bus, then throwing her onto the ground.