Police are investigating a North Texas mother’s claim that two 8-year-old boys sexually assaulted her 8-year-old son during a school bus ride to an elementary school on the northwest side of Fort Worth.
On Fri., Feb. 19, NBC DFW reported that the unidentified parent expressed frustration that little has been done by the school or local authorities following the alleged incident. Although the date of the purported sexual attack remains unclear, the mother said the other two boys pulled down her son’s pants, performed a sexual act, then beat up her son, a first grade student at Northbrook Elementary in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District.
“This is a scrape mark from when he was punched and kicked in the stomach,” she told NBC DFW, pointing to two visible red marks on her son’s stomach. She added that her son “didn’t talk to me personally” about what happened because the purported attackers told him: “Tell anybody, and I’ll hurt you again, and you’ll be in trouble, too.”
The mother commented her son was bullied recently. “This escalated from a bullying to a full-blown sexual assault,” she said. She wants the boys expelled.
In Texas, criminal charges cannot be filed against a youngster under the age of 10 years of age, according to Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code, which defines “child” as a student “at least 10 years of age and younger than 18 years of age,” in its criminal procedure section 37.141. Although a child under 10 cannot be held culpable for a crime, Title 5, Chapter 264, Section 302 of the state’s family code states the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) may provide services for children as young as 7-years-old considered at-risk for getting into trouble, as well as these children’s families.
Fort Worth police spokesman, Sgt. Steve Enright, told the Fort Worth Star Telegram, that an investigation into the incident is underway. “A report has been filed and is assigned to the crimes against children unit,” he said a media release. “It is under investigation, and no further information is being released.”
The boy’s mother posed to NBC DFW: “Where is the magic line? That is the question.” She asked: “And what is the degree of crime that they can commit before they say, ‘You know what? Maybe you do need some sort of court intervention.’”
School district spokeswoman Megan Overman confirmed for the Star-Telegram that an adult monitor has been assigned to the bus. She said: “The district is working closely with all parties and appropriate action is being taken in accordance with the student code of conduct.”
The school district spokeswoman told the Fort Worth newspaper that the district reported the incident to Child Protective Services, which is also investigating the incident. “As soon as school and district personnel were made aware of the report, we responded immediately and have put every measure into place that we legally can to protect and support those involved in this matter. We have been in ongoing communication with the parents, police, bus company, campus administrators and all appropriate authorities,” she said.
Overman did not comment on any action the district may take against the two boys likely because of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which intends to prevent a school district from releasing personally identifiable student information without parental written consent, although there are exceptions listed on pages 16-19 of the district’s student code of conduct under its student records sections.
Still, the alleged victim’s mother told NBC DFW: “My son is now going to have to go to a school where his attackers are going to be, and that’s not fair with him being the victim.”
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.