Baltimore County police have charged a 9-year-old boy with second degree assault after he choked a fellow student from Cromwell Valley Elementary School on their bus ride home earlier this month.
Police said bus surveillance video of the Nov. 10 incident showed the 9-year-old suspect get up from his seat, walk over to another 9-year-old boy who was still seated and wrap both his hands around the victim’s neck.
Students on the bus told police that the suspect choked the boy until he appeared to lose consciousness, according to police. The incident occurred at around 4:40 p.m. when the bus was at the intersection of Wycliffe Avenue and Ryewood Road.
The attack appeared to be unprovoked, according to police.
A call for service report stated that the victim may have also gone into cardiac arrest, but police said further investigation revealed that was not the case.
The police report said the bus driver did not see the assault. But when he was made aware of it he immediately called 911, police said. Other students told police that a woman, who turned out to be the suspect’s mother, performed CPR on the victim. The victim told police that the woman stopped when she noticed he was awake, the police report states.
The victim was transported to Johns Hopkins Hospital’s pediatric unit where he was treated and released, police said.
Lily Rowe, a parent who had two children on the bus during the incident, said the suspect and victim are friends and that other students said they had started playfully fighting before the altercation turned serious.
The bus was running late when it arrived at the suspect’s stop, said Rowe, president of the Greater Hillendale Community Association. That’s when the parents who had gathered learned of the fight and the suspect’s mom found the child not breathing, said Rowe, who is also running for Baltimore County school board in next year’s election.
The suspect was charged as a juvenile and released into the custody of his parents, police said. School officials would not confirm what action they took against the student.
“Appropriate disciplinary actions were taken in accordance with our policies and rules,” said a school system spokeswoman, Diane L. Spencer. “But we cannot specify what those actions were.”
That answer has frustrated parents, who want to know what the school system is doing to keep children safe on buses, Rowe said.
“My kids didn’t want to get on the bus again,” she said. “They were scared.”
She said a counselor has been riding the bus since the fight.
“All elementary school buses should have aides,” Rowe said. “Bus drivers can’t drive the bus and supervise the children.”