Essex County

Lawrence student attacked in graphic school bus video

LAWRENCE, Mass. — The mother of a Lawrence High School student who was attacked on a school bus Monday in a graphic video circulating online fears for her son’s safety.

The 15-year-old freshman victim who has autism was slapped and repeatedly punched while sitting in his seat on the ride back from school Monday afternoon.

His mother, Catheran, tells Boston 25 News the other student had previously wrongly accused her son of stealing his cell phone before attacking him.

“He hit my son, and my son didn’t hit back. Why [do] you keep hitting him?” she said. “Right now, my son is here. It’s a miracle.”

In the cell phone video captured by a student, a classmate tries to hold back the attacking student and another yells for him to stop, while others record the incident, as the victim shields his face from the blows.

Catheran took her son to the emergency room Monday and said he was briefly checked and given Tylenol, but, after a long hospital wait, they returned home late that night. She said her son is physically okay but both of them are shaken.

“He had some headaches, he has some black and blues,” Catheran said. “I feel very disappointed, you know? I feel worried. I’m concerned with me and my son.”

The student can also be heard threatening to shoot the victim.

Catheran says the school told her the student has been suspended and police have informed her family he will be charged.

Boston 25 News was not able to confirm those details as the suspect is a minor.

While Catheran says she is awaiting the school’s plan to ensure her son’s future safety, she tells Boston 25 News the bus driver did not notify the school or police about the incident that day.

“The bus driver stopped. That means he knew they had a fight. So, he’s supposed to report it or call 911, do his job like a bus driver,” she said. “You have a license to carry kids; you have to be responsible that the kids reach safe to the house, you know?”

But Catheran believes the root of the problem is teen violence, and she wants the community to work together to ensure no one is badly injured.

“They’re only recording. They think this is a game. It’s not a game, because right now my son maybe couldn’t be here today,” Catheran said of the other students’ response to the attack. “It’s something that we need to work on. All the parents need to get together, and we need to work on this.”

Lawrence Public Schools said in a statement:

“Lawrence Public Schools is working directly with the families of the students involved in the incident, implementing the LPS code of conduct, and supporting the Lawrence Police School Resource Officer unit with its investigation. LPS also continues to work closely with its transportation vendor to ensure all students are transported safely to and from school every day.”

NRT Bus said in a statement: “The safety of our students is paramount and we are deeply disturbed by this incident, which is currently under investigation.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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