Winter, Haven, Florida -- WTSP reports, two Winter Haven teens have been charged with Felony Battery after attacking a student on a school bus and knocking him unconscious.
The attack happened on Monday, May 12 in Winter Haven. A bus carrying students from Don E. Woods Opportunity School to Winter Haven High School was stopped at the intersection of 4th St. and Ave. K, SE. A 15-year-old student was sitting near the front of the bus and resting his head along the window, looking outside.
At the same time, another 15-year-old student, standing in the aisle behind the student, announced to the passengers nearby that they should get out their cell phones as he was about to hit the student looking out the window, and they should get ready to record.
As the student was sitting quietly looking out the window, the student standing up licked the palm of his hand twice and reached over the seat slapping the other student on the face. The student immediately stood up and faced towards the back of the bus to see who hit him. As soon as he stood up, 14-year-old student walked over the aisle, reached across the seat and punched the student in the face causing him to fall and lose consciousness.
The two students who attacked the student sitting down exited the bus and ran from the area.
An attendant on the bus, who was sitting in the front seat directly behind the driver, immediately took action to render aid to along with another fellow student. Polk County Fire Rescue paramedics were called and the was taken off the bus unconscious. Medical workers were able to awaken him and it appears he suffered no long-term effects from being knocked out. No other students were hurt during the incident.
Winter Haven Detectives were able to identify the attackers and they brought to the Winter Haven Police Department and charged in the attack. Both attackers, who are associated with a gang, claim the attack was in retaliation to a previous incident involving the student.
Both attackers have been previously charged with various crimes including felony battery, occupied conveyance burglary and violation of probation. The boy who knocked the other boy was suspended from the bus in the fall because of another fight on the bus. So, 10 News went to the superintendent's office to find out why he was back on the bus, but we were told school officials are working with police and are conducting its own investigation.
So why did this happen?
The police chief says the bus was not too crowded, the bus driver and bus aid did all they could and even though the one kid shouldn't have been on board, he says there's no one to blame except the two boys for their actions and maybe their parents.
"I don't believe as a society we can afford to be a 'nanny state' where we hire cops to be everywhere. We can't do that. We have to teach our kids to be respectful of one another and hold them accountable," the police chief.
Based on the 10 News Crime Guidelines, the students involved are not identified because they are minors.