A sleeping student wakes to a slap to the cheek and then seconds later he's knocked out on the school bus.
It happened in Winter Haven on Monday and the attackers, students at Don E. Woods Opportunity School, tell police it was a way to get back at the teen for a previous gang-related incident.
One of the attackers, 14-year-old Jo’ Terious Denmark, was banned from bus riding for the school year because of a fight that happened in November.
So how did he slip through the cracks and take a seat right behind the driver -- and across from the aide?
“You have to go back to this was not the school bus driver’s fault that the student got on the bus that shouldn't have been there,” Winter Haven Police Chief Gary Hester said. “This student acted out, but someone's supposed to make sure that he doesn't get on the bus. But this kid's supposed to make sure he abides by the rules and follows the law.”
The attackers, Jo’ Terious Denmark and Christopher Dawayne Lewis, both of Winter Haven, face felony charges. The victim is okay, but was unconscious when paramedics arrived.
The Polk County School Board will not talk to 8 On Your Side about what happened, but released this statement:
"Polk County Public Schools is currently investigating this incident. We will continue to cooperate fully with the Winter Haven Police Department."