Police take action after Sparta bullying incident

Police are taking action against a 12-year-old student after a bullying incident on a Sparta school bus. It happened on February 19.

“Reading that I’m like oh my gosh I’m so excited,” said Misty Morales, the mother of the 13-year-old victim.

“I can actually tell my son that what they did was taken care of (and) that what he knows it’s not OK to do this,” she added.

Morales said her son is back at school now but still struggling after being bullied on the bus last month.

On Tuesday, police confirmed the family’s story about the incident saying the actions of the 12-year-old juvenile suspect “constitutes a crime.”

Police Chief Mike Kass says surveillance video from the bus showed a group of students taunting the teen, with one of the boys eventually sticking his hands in his pants and then rubbing them in Morales’ son’s face.

“I think the part that reflects the seriousness of this event was that act of putting his hands down his pants and then rubbing it in somebody else’s face,” said Kass.

“It’s a sad story either way you look at it. He’s a child also,” said Morales, referring to the juvenile suspect.

The Sparta Police Department says it will submit a Juvenile Court Referral to the Monroe County Department of Human Services alleging disorderly conduct, harassment, and battery by the 12-year-old. The agency will then decide how to deal with the juvenile suspect. That’s expected to take about 30 days.

Kass says criminal charges are possibly but not likely “given the fact that this young man is only 12-years-old.”

Morales, who was allowed to watch the bus video, believes three other children on the bus should also face consequences for their roles in the incident.

Overall, however, she thinks some justice has been served.

“It made me smile knowing that the case has been moved successfully forward and that my son can start healing,” she said.

The Sparta School District has denied News 8’s request to view the bus video. News 8 has submitted an open records request to try to obtain a copy.