JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville mom is demanding answers after she says her 8-year-old daughter was punched and choked on a school bus.
Latoya Coleman told First Coast News the attack happened on her daughters’ bus to Fort Caroline Elementary Thursday morning.
“I feel almost bad as a mother for putting them in this situation now, because now they don’t want to go to school,” Coleman said.
Coleman first realized something was wrong Thursday evening when she picked up her two daughters, 8 and 5 years old, from an after school program.
“Everybody was screaming ‘Mommy, Mommy! [She] got beat up!’” Coleman said.
The girls told Coleman the older daughter had been attacked on the school bus.
“Some girl was talking about her sister, she told her don’t do it and the girl snatched her down by her hair, was choking her in the middle of the bus,” Coleman said. “Also punching her in her face causing her nose to swell and the area around her face to be swollen.”
Coleman said she noticed the swelling and immediately took her daughter to the hospital to be checked out. But Coleman wanted answers from Duval County Public Schools, as the girls claimed the bus driver and bus aide did nothing to stop the attack.
“You don’t continue to ride this bus, you don’t continue to drive it while you have somebody down here on the ground,” she said. “What would have happened if she would’ve continued to choke my baby and my baby was laying down there and she couldn’t breathe.”
Additionally, Coleman said the school never contacted her about what happened.
“When a child is getting beat in the head or in the face, a parent needs to know this,” she said.
A representative from Duval County Public Schools released the following statement Friday evening:
“We take these matters seriously as the safety of our students is paramount. While there was no monitor on the school bus and the bus driver was not aware an incident had occurred, both the school and district are conducting an investigation to determine what took place. Student discipline will be issued according to the Code of Student Conduct pending the outcome of the investigation.“
Meanwhile, Coleman kept her girls off the school bus Friday and said they may never return to Fort Caroline Elementary.
“I’m gonna try to see if I can get them in another school,” she said. “Because I don’t want my kids to be fearful to go and get an education.”