Father talks of son’s beating on a WCSD bus
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Video taken on a Washoe County School District bus last Friday shows one student pummeling a 6th grader seated with other students. The incident happened on a bus ride from O’Brien Middle School to neighborhoods in Lemmon Valley and surrounding areas.
Taken by a fellow student on the bus, the bus driver eventually pulls the offending student off the 11-year-old. And then according to the boy’s father, his son is dropped off at the Lemmon Valley stop of Magnolia and Fleetwood--bruised and bloodied When
Robert Lukas says his son didn’t arrive home, he got in the car to look for him. Down the road he says a woman in an SUV flashed her lights indicating Lukas should stop.
“She had my son. She found him on the road,” says Lukas. “After her son had gotten home and showed her the video, she went out looking for my son and brought him to me,” he says. The woman showed Lukas the images her son had captured on the bus that afternoon.
What would go through a parent’s mind after seeing this for the first time?
“She told me as a parent she was heartbroken that she had to show it to me,” say Lukas. “They showed me the video and it was immediately… it was heartbreaking to see my son being wailed on like that,” he says.
Lukas says he talked to his son as he wiped the blood off the 6th graders face and noticed bruises starting to appear. The son said he was scared to talk about it for fear of repercussions.
But Lukas says it all started making sense.
“He has three different forms of dyslexia,” Lukas says of his son. “A reading disability. When he reads out loud it just jumbles around,” he says.
A teacher at O’Brien had notified Lukas earlier his son’s grades were slipping. Recently his son was having stomach aches and asking to stay home from school.
Lukas says he headed to O’Brien Middle School for answers, but no one was there. He and his son filled out forms with school police.
Yesterday he says, he first called the principal at O’Brien to get more answers. During that phone call he says the principal seemed to be most concerned about the video posted on the Lemmon Valley Community page.
“You’ve got to take that video down,” Lukas said the principal told him. He said the principal continued, “This is going to hurt my school. This is going to make my school look bad,”
Lukas has removed his child from classes at O”Brien Middle School for the 11-year old’s safety. He says he told the principal about his intentions on that phone call and she said she would have the paperwork for him that day and they would be at the school.
He says he has yet to receive any information as to why his son was beaten, and why the bus driver dropped his son off with what appeared to be lack of concern. He doesn’t know what’s happened to the offending student in this video.
Essentially he says he’s been left in the dark with a traumatized son and no apology.
For its part the school district says quote: “The Washoe County School District School Police Department and Transportation Department are aware of the altercation on the school bus. An investigation is underway to identify the students responsible for this incident and ensure they are held accountable for their actions.” This district adds: “WCSD does not tolerate or condone violence of any kind in its classrooms, on school grounds, or on school buses.” The district adds it will take appropriate disciplinary action after a thorough investigation.
While the district undergoes its investigation, some Lemmon Valley residents appalled by the video have decided to adopt the Lukas family this Christmas with clothing, food and toys.
If you’d like to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 775-412-8975.
Here is additional information provided to us by the district at 4:00pm on December 7, 2021
“The Washoe County School District School Police Department and Transportation Department are aware of the altercation on the school bus. An investigation is underway to identify the students responsible for this incident and ensure they are held accountable for their actions.
“WCSD does not tolerate or condone violence of any kind in its classrooms, on school grounds, or on school buses. The District is conducting a thorough investigation into this incident and will take the appropriate disciplinary steps.
“O’Brien Middle School is committed to providing a safe, supportive, and positive atmosphere for students and their families to learn and grow. School staff members are proud of their ongoing efforts to support students with a variety of resources they need to engage productively in school and at home as they prepare for their future endeavors. Among these resources are tutoring, counseling, clubs, school and community activities. They are working hard in partnership with students, staff members, and families to make the campus an even more positive place.
“At O’Brien Middle School, four talented mental health professionals serve the learning community each day. A social worker coordinates and connects students and families to resources like the O’Brien Family Resource List. The counseling team works with teachers to provide weekly lessons that support our students’ social and emotional development. In addition to facilitating weekly group counseling sessions, parent teacher conferences, and career exploration and academic enrichment, the mental health team also harnesses the power of personalization and has facilitated 1,618 individual student support or counseling meetings.
“These social and emotional learning supports help to balance students and the school environment so that the teaching staff of 51 can continue to deliver rigorous and engaging lessons that children learn and grow from.
“As WCSD closes out the semester and students access opportunities to ensure their grades reflect the maximum amount of mastered learning, the District wants to remind families of the academic supports available to students above and beyond what they experience in their 7 classes a day. We encourage families to sit down with their students and coordinate opportunities to have them attend tutoring with certified teachers if they need assistance.
“Lastly, the school staff members are working hard to combat behaviors and individual student choices that lead to bullying, cyberbullying, and moments where students react physically, rather than employing the problem-solving skills they are working hard to build. School staff members are asking for help from families, particularly with the messaging and social media posting that often occurs outside of O’Brien’s halls and walls. Families are encouraged to set aside time each week to have students guide parents and guardians through the world they experience on their cell phones. Are there social media posts or texts that impact their learning environment that should be reported? Are the interactions on their devices positive and empowering? Also, every single report of student discomfort is processed carefully and thoroughly. If students or families have concerns about a negative interaction while at school, please report this by emailing the student support team immediately when concerns surface.”
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