New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered a formal investigation into a potential hate crime against an African-American student on a school bus earlier this month.
According to WWNYTV, Wednesday, the Democratic governor said he wanted the Division of Human Rights to look into the assault “and, if applicable, to take legal action to the fullest extent of the law against the perpetrators.”
Court documents confirm that a significant portion of the assault was captured on school bus surveillance video. In the footage one of the girls can be heard saying, “N — s always start it” adding, “I like my people, but I don’t like your people.”
Two Gouverneur Middle School students are accused of pummeling their Black classmates after subjecting her to racist taunts, and now face harassment charges. The girls, who are both white and ages 10 and 11, left the victim with a black eye, bruises and patches of hair missing from her head.
White bus monitor did nothing.
“The small Gouverneur Central School District has about 1,500 students, of whom about 97% are white,” according to NYS Department of Education. School district’s enrollment of Black children “is about half a percent, according to the 2018 data.” https://t.co/2ZbcFlqfy5
— Susan Sternberg (@swmstn2) September 26, 2019
While both students are charged with one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, the 11-year-old faces an additional charge of third-degree harassment as a hate crime.
Once the parents of the 10-year-old victim alerted officials, they discovered that there was also a school bus monitor present when the altercation took place. Unfortunately for the victim, the monitor stood by as the brutal attack escalated and did nothing to assist the child. Her failure to intervene has led her to be charged as well.
“I’m appalled by the reports of the horrendous, 20-minute racist assault on a 10-year-old African American girl in the town of Gouverneur,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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.”
“In New York, violence of any kind towards others based on their race or religion is not only offensive and repugnant to our values, it is illegal,” he added, stating that he believed the uninterrupted assault to be an “egregious and inexcusable violation” of the faith parents place in school officials to protect their children.