School bus beating video raises many questions - WFLA News Channel 8

School bus beating video raises many questions

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Photo by Andy Jones, Tampa Tribune Photo by Andy Jones, Tampa Tribune

Investigators in Pasco County say the Mitchell High School student who attacked sophomore Chase Cristia on a school bus ride home Friday and the girl who recorded that attack on her cell phone, couldn't wait to post it on Facebook.

"I think it's a reality of where we are today in our society and our culture," said Pasco School Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Both girls ended up under arrest and Cristia is recovering from at least 14 blows landed in the brief but fierce beating in the rear seat of the bus.

Cristia's mother is furious because her daughter made all the right moves beforehand to ward off the attack, while it is not clear school employees did the same. 

"This could have been prevented," said Tracy Cristia.

Two hours before the bus beating Cristia stood up for another student at lunch who was the target of verbal abuse. The attacker reportedly threatened to beat her later that day for trying to intervene. Cristia reported the girl's threats to Mitchell H. S. administrator Jill Cortier, but Cortier didn't pass on the warning to anyone.

Assistant School Superintendent Ray Gadd says Cortier should have alerted Cristia's mother under a state law intended to curb school bullying. "That is correct," Gadd said. He said the administrator did not have time to seek out and question the attacker but could have also notified the bus driver about the threats.

The driver had no idea trouble was brewing and according to Gadd he had no chance to stop during the brief attack because he was passing through an intersection at the time. He did not stop the bus or notify police, and continued making his stops as if nothing had happened.

Browning says since winning election and taking over the school system three months ago he's been working on a comprehensive plan to muzzle school violence and has hired a top administrator to manage that effort.

It won't be an easy task.

At Fivay High School another female student now has a temporary restraining order against a boy she believes is tormenting her with text messages by urging her to kill herself and calling her a "slut" and a "whore."

Gadd says administrators in Fivay are doing what they can to keep the students apart and have even disciplined some other boys for inappropriate behavior toward the girl. That situation has been going on for weeks.

The Fivay problem is also under criminal investigation by the Pasco Sheriff's Office, but unmasking the source of the text messages is difficult because of software that hides the sender. 

Browning says both situations illustrate how deep the problem of violence and intimidation runs through Pasco schools.

He promises action, well beyond what the previous Pasco school administration carried out to address such problems.

"I believe confidently that we deal with the perpetrators and if there's issues with administrators and district staff we will deal with them very quickly and appropriately," said Browning.

***

Link to YouTube video: Bus Beating (warning: uncensored language)

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