A bus aide who was riding with the children at the time and did not intervene was charged with three counts Online Cigarettes Store USA of endangering the welfare of a child, the police said.
“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,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo, who noted in his statement that the episode had lasted 20 minutes, said that he was directing the state Newport Pleasure Division of Human Rights to open an investigation. He also said he had asked the Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the local authorities.
The arrests coincide with a national push to treat acts of bullying among juveniles as crimes, sometimes at the request of victims’ parents. It also coincides with a rise in hate-crime incidents in schools across the United States; 753 such cases were reported in 2017, according to FBI data.
“A lot of people are saying that by calling it bullying, we are not taking it as seriously as we could, and not treating it as damaging and harmful as it really is,” said Amanda Nickerson, director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo. “Some are arguing we have to elevate this to other levels.”
Some municipalities have enacted local laws that can lead to parents being fined for their children’s actions. In North Tonawanda,Newport 100s Box New York, near Buffalo, parents may be fined $250 and jailed up to 15 days if their children engage in bullying behavior. Gouverneur does not have such a law.