Teenager charged after video of Nelsonville school bus fight spreads on social media


NELSONVILLE, Ohio – An Athens County teenager has been charged after video of a school bus fight spread on social media.

The Nelsonville-York City School District superintendent said it was recorded on one of the district’s school buses on Friday afternoon.

It shows one girl repeatedly punching another girl, who has special needs, in the face. The student who was hit later went with her grandmother to report the incident to police.

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According to the report, the student said she was standing up for another friend when she was punched.

Nelsonville Police Chief Chris Johnson said, after police took the report, they referred the case to the Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn for potential charges.

Blackburn confirmed with 10TV that a misdemeanor assault charge was filed in juvenile court against the 17-year-old suspect Monday morning.

He said he could not share if she had any previous criminal history.

Both Blackburn and Chief Johnson also said they have been made aware of other videos and reports involving the same suspect. But those are being investigated separately.

Meanwhile, the suspect also is facing disciplinary action at school, although Superintendent Rick Edwards would not specify what that was.

The district also is investigating the incident, and Edwards confirmed there is video from the school bus, although he said he could not share it with 10TV.

He did say it gives more context to the situation, adding that there is more to the story than what can be gleaned from the short clip circulating on social media.

When asked if there were any concerns about how the incident was handled on a moving school bus, he said the bus driver did all he could in the situation. And it was actually the driver who first reported what happened.

Edwards also encouraged anyone with concerns about students or potential bullying to report the incidents to the district.

He said, prior to Friday’s incident, and despite the potential existence of other videos involving the suspect, the district had received no prior reports of troubling behavior by that student.

The video has spread around Nelsonville and beyond, at least partly due to a post from Bikers Against Abuse.

It has hundreds of shares and comments. The post asks people to send cards and notes of support to the girl who was punched in the video.

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