It's a disturbing case of bullying caught on camera. The video was recorded by a Missisquoi Valley Union High School student and later posted on Facebook. It shows one student trying to bait another to fight him on the way home from school Monday. The kids on the bus cheer as the first punch is thrown and continue to encourage the attack for two more minutes.
"They were egging him on saying hit him, hit him, get him in the face," said Robbie Deuell, a sophomore at MVU.
Deuell's black eye is healing, but he says this isn't the first time he's been bullied on the bus. And what's worse-- the driver never stopped.
Robbie Deuell: He didn't do anything. He saw Hazen throw the first punch and just kept on driving.
Reporter Jennifer Reading: Did that surprise you?
Robbie Deuell: No, because he does it all the time whenever something happens.
"It made me sick to see it. It really did," mom Michele Deuell said.
Robbie's mom says she's disgusted that the driver allowed the fight to continue. He's employed by M and C Transport, the company the school hired to provide bus service. School officials wouldn't comment on the driver's conduct and our calls to the bus company weren't returned. Michele Deuell says the driver's actions are unacceptable.
"He's there to protect the kids," she said. "You want to be able to send your kids to school and know that they're going to be safe and not get bullied all the time. He's had things thrown at him on the bus. He's been hit on the bus, called names on the bus."
School officials did not want to speak with us on camera, but they did say that they are investigating the incident. Students on the bus have been interviewed by school staff and the supervisory union is also investigating why the bus driver did not intervene. The superintendent says the owner did stop by the school as soon as he learned about the incident and he was very apologetic.
Robbie and his mom said no one has apologized to them and school administrators won't even talk to them about the incident. She says this highlights a larger problem-- bullying at school. It's something this family has been battling for years.
"I want to see the bullying stop," Michele Deuell said. "I want to see him be able to go to school and be happy. No kid should have to go through this."
She worries that speaking out will only make things worse for her son at school, but she says she's run out of other ways to protect her child.
"They haven't done anything," she said. "It's been years and it's just continuing. There have been so many kids that have killed themselves over things like this and I don't want to bury my son."
School officials say consequences in a case like this are complicated and they wouldn't comment on what specific punishments could be implemented.
State police say 16-year-old Hazen Martell was issued a juvenile citation for simple assault. Additional charges may also be filed against other kids who played a part in the beating. The driver does not face any criminal charges.
We hid the identity of the alleged 16-year-old attacker in the video because his family has not returned our calls to get their side of the story.
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