A 10-year-old African American girl who was beaten up on a school bus in upstate New York told police her two attackers called her the N-word as the bus monitor did nothing, according to court documents obtained by CNN affiliate WWNY.
The victim’s mother reported the incident to police on September 10. Her mother said her daughter had a black eye, some of her hair had been pulled out and her knee was bruised after falling into the school bus seat, Gouverneur police said. Gouverneur is about 100 miles north of Syracuse.
The victim, a fifth-grader at Gouverneur Middle School, wrote she believed this happened “because of the color of my skin, how my hair looks, how I dress and that I look different from them.”
Court documents to do not identify the race of the two girls or bus monitor charged, but WWNY identified all three as white.
Girl writes the bus monitor did nothing to keep her safe
In a deposition, the victim wrote that the incident began on September 9 when a girl asked to know her first and last name, her grade and her age.
“I told [redacted name] that it was none of her business and that I wasn’t answering her questions. [Redacted name] then told me that I had to tell her or I was going to get into trouble. I still did not answer [redacted name’s] question and she kicked me in the right knee,” the victim wrote in the deposition.
Then the next day, the victim wrote the same girl was accompanied by another girl. The two discussed how the victim tried to fight the day before.
“I didn’t want to fight anyone,” the victim wrote.
The three then exchanged words. The victim wrote that one of the girls called her the N-word and the other called her “a b***h.”
The victim wrote the bus monitor, identified as Tiffany Spicer, 28, was in the back of the bus during the entire incident.
“Tiffany did not do anything to keep me safe,” the victim wrote.
Sgt. Darren Fairbanks with the Gouverneur police wrote in his deposition that surveillance video showed Spicer did go to the back of the bus during the attack, but did nothing when one of the students yelled the N-word in front of her. She did nothing to stop the attack other than say: “You guys are worse than my kids.”
Spicer has not returned CNN’s request for comment.
Fairbanks also wrote the surveillance video showed a girl pulling the victim’s hair saying twice that “(N-word) always start it” and then “I like my people, but I don’t like your people.”
After having her hair pulled and getting punched in the face, the victim says another student stood between her and her attackers so she could get off the bus. Fairbanks wrote in his deposition a boy student was seen on the surveillance video helping the victim off the bus to prevent further attack.
The victim was taken to the emergency room and did not attend school the next day, Fairbanks wrote.
New York governor directs state agency to investigate hate crime
After a police investigation the two white girls, ages 10 and 11, were arrested Monday and charged with one count of second-degree aggravated harassment.
The 11-year-old girl also was charged with assault and a third-degree hate crime. The hate crime charge is a felony, Fairbanks said.
Spicer was also charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child Monday because police said she witnessed the assault, but “did not make an effort to stop and/or prevent said behavior.”
First Student, the bus company used by the school district, has been asked to provide more training to bus aides and monitors, the superintendent told WWNY.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday he was “appalled” by the reports of the “20-minute racist assault.”
“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 said.
Cuomo said he’s directing the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) to open an investigation into the school bus attack and “to take legal action to the fullest extent of the law against the perpetrators.”
Linda Brown-Robinson, Syracuse/Onondaga NAACP branch president, told WWNY she doesn’t know why “people still think it’s acceptable to allow things in their presence or do things in the presence of others that are racially motivated.”
“That is a learned behavior, they didn’t just get up that morning and decide they were going to whomp on a young person of color,” Brown-Robinson said.
Lauren French, Gouverneur Central School District superintendent, told WWNY the school is planning to have sessions to educate students on bullying and race as well as separate ones for the community at large.