A 10-year-old Black girl was a victim of assault earlier this month after two white girls verbally abused her with “racially-motivated language” and left her physically hurt.
The two white girls, one 10 and the other 11, were charged and arrested on Monday with one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, police said. The 11-year-old was also charged with a third-degree hate crime and assault, CNN reports.
Police say the victim’s parents reported the incident on September 10 after the assault took place on a school bus in Gouverneur, New York.
Gouverneur police said the parents reported that the daughter suffered from a bruised knee after she fell in a school bus seat after hair had been pulled out of her head. She also had a black eye.
“It’s not very often that we charge a hate crime in the village of Gouverneur,” Gouverneur police Sgt. Darren Fairbanks told the outlet. The hate crime the 11-year-old is charged with is considered a felony.
The bus monitor, 28-year-old Tiffany Spicer, who is a white woman, was also charged on Monday with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Police said that even though she witnessed the incident, she “did not make an effort to stop and/or prevent said behavior.”
Superintendent of the Gouverneur Central School District, Lauren French, told CNN affiliate, WWNY that the incident “is probably the most professionally devastating event since I started working at Gouverneur in 1984.”
“I firmly believe we are better than this,” French said, “and we have to take a stand.”
The superintendent said First Student, the bus company the school district uses, has already been asked to provide further training to bus aides and monitors.
The parents of the two white girls who were charged were referred to St. Lawrence County Probation to take further action regarding the incident, according to police. The juvenile court will handle both cases, police said.