Seven teens in bus beating formally charged
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 7:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 7:52 p.m.
The seven Liberty Middle School students accused of beating a female student on a school bus earlier this month were arraigned Wednesday morning in a Marion County courtroom.
The five girls accused of involvement are each charged with one count of battery and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.
One of the boys accused of taking part in the beating, which left the victim unconscious, is charged with assault and disorderly conduct. The other is charged only with disorderly conduct.
The Star-Banner has decided not to release the names of the teenagers or the victim because of their ages. The defendants' ages range from 12 to 15. They are being prosecuted in juvenile court.
Circuit Judge David Eddy released all of the defendants from home detention and put them in the custody of their parents.
“You are still ordered to behave yourself in your parents' home,” he said to one of the defendants.
Eddy also ordered all of the defendants to stay away from the victim.
A status conference is scheduled for all the defendants on Feb. 14.
All the defendants have been out of school since the beating happened. The Marion County School District is conducting its own investigation.
“At this point, all seven of those students will be recommended for expulsion,” said Kevin Christian, the school district spokesman.
That decision is pending School Board approval, and the students will not be allowed into any other public school in Marion County until that expulsion time is up, he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, after the defendants were formally charged, the State Attorney's Office released a bus security video that shows the Jan. 6 beating.
In a tightly packed school bus headed for Liberty that morning, students are seen crawling over seats, standing in the bus aisle and shouting — all while the bus is in motion.
At one point in the video, several arms begin to flail as it appears four or five girls are beating down on another unidentifiable girl. The bus driver continues to drive while a girl at the front of the bus tries to tell him something has happened.
The driver eventually pulls over and two young girls are seen trying to help the victim off the bus. Some of the other teens make crying baby sounds as she exits.
“You guys were embarrassing. Every one of you is embarrassing,” the driver yells to the bus full of students.
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