Outrage Over School's Response To Kindergartener Forced Into Sex Act On Bus
Sterling Heights, MI – Students said a five-year-old boy was forced to perform oral sex on a seven-year-old boy on a Michigan school bus.
The mother of the kindergartener who was sexually assaulted on Wednesday said another child told her about what happened as her little boy got off the school bus, WDIV reported.
She said she was told that her son was forced to perform oral sex on an older boy for 10 to 15 minutes.
Other children tried to tell the bus driver what was happening, and he ignored them, the mother said.
Another mother who has a child in the same school, Jack Harvey Elementary School, told WJBK that she didn’t know about the incident until the victim’s mother told her about it.
She said the mother, who became hysterical during the retelling of the story, said other children on the bus tried to tell the bus driver what was going on behind him.
“The bus driver just yelled at the kids, told them to sit down and be quiet or they’re getting written up,” the clearly distraught parent, who asked that her name be withheld, told WJBK.
She said it was obvious something was wrong when the kindergartener got to his stop.
“The little boy got off the bus. He was all sweaty and red-faced because he was choking on this – the kid had his hand on his neck,” the woman said, as she struggled to control her emotions.
To add insult to injury, the mother said the school began its investigation without notifying the other parents about what had happened and what they planned to do about it.
“They interviewed our children – not mine, I asked – but other children on the bus as young as First Grade. About a rape of a five year old. And they still didn’t tell the parents,” the mother said, horrified.
There are no cameras or aides on the Utica school buses, the mother told WJBK.
School officials finally sent out a letter on Friday, two days after the incident occurred.
Harvey Elementary School Principal Laurie Pritchard wrote to parents on Sept. 21 and said that Utica Community Schools was working with the Sterling Heights Police Department regarding the incident.
*“*We are committed to keeping Harvey Elementary a safe place for students and staff,” Pritchard wrote, according to WDIV. “Please take this opportunity to speak with your child, letting them know that we will not tolerate any behavior that is threatening or inappropriate.”
In the letter, Pritchard reassured parents that the child accused of the assault was not in the school, as per the school district’s protocol.
Dr. Tracey Stulberg, a family therapist who works with sexually-abused children, said she wanted to know that the bus driver saw and heard on the bus.
"He is responsible, or she is, for the children on the bus," Stulberg told WDIV. "If the children say they did share that, we have a big problem."
The doctor said that the older child who forced the kindergartener to perform oral sex on him probably learned his bad behavior while at home.
"You know, some kids have seen things on the Internet, on someone’s TV, someone’s phone, someone’s computer,” Stulberg said. "Some children have watched things in their house happen to other people, and some are being harmed themselves.”
The therapist lauded the victim’s mother for taking her little boy to therapy immediately, and said many parents aren’t prepared to handle such serious incidents.
“And right away! She didn’t wait, and have someone have to tell her to take her child to counseling,” Stulberg said. “She got in there, and she took her baby to counseling. Which is absolutely appropriate, smart.”