I understand as parents we want to stick up for our kids, but even bullying is no excuse for what went down last Friday afternoon as kids were coming home from an elementary school in New Orleans.
An Akili Academy student and her mother were arrested after a video circulating on social media of the juvenile banging on the side of a bus carrying K-8 students with a gun in hand, reportedly trying to gain access. Crescent City Schools says the encounter occurred during after-school hours away from campus.
The incident happened around 2:30 pm last Friday at the corner of Gallier Drive and Mirabeau Street in the Gentilly Woods area, as the students were on their way home, says the NOPD and Kate Mehok, the CEO of Crescent City Schools. Mehok adds that law enforcement was called soon after the disturbance.
“Crescent City Schools and Akili Academy are horrified by this brazen act of violence that happened off school campus. School buses should be safe places of transport for our young people. Police were called Friday afternoon during this incident and police action was taken. The student is not at school and we are working with NolaPS regarding disciplinary action,” said CEO of Crescent City Kate Mehok.
Thankfully no one was injured in the incident. While mom and daughter are both facing charges and should probably speak to the media only through attorneys, the 12-year old’s mother instead decided to tell her side of the story on social media.
“She was begin bullied, so that’s why she pulled out a firearm,” the 12-year-old girl’s mom said in a social media post.
The woman says no one was stopping the bullying, so her daughter took action.
“When a child is under frustration and being bullied, she is supposed to have help with self defense.”
The mother admits here daughter was armed.
“It was in her possession and she pulled it.”
It may very well be that the 12-year old wasn’t the instigator of the fight on the school bus, but that doesn’t explain why and how she thought it was okay to grab a gun afterwards, not to mention how she was able to get ahold of it in the first place. Was mom aware that her daughter was being bullied? Did she contact the school beforehand? Did she encourage her daughter to grab the gun or perhaps even hand it to her, or was she oblivious to what her kid was doing?
Beyond that, there’s also the fact that video of the incident shows the 12-year old was already off the bus and was no longer being attacked when she allegedly pulled out a pistol; which negates the entire self-defense argument that mom was trying to make. In fact, police say she retrieved the gun from a nearby car, which means she had the ability to simply walk away. Even if she didn’t start the fight, once she returned with a gun she became the aggressor.
Not that self-defense was a great argument to begin with. There were plenty of other options for the 12-year old that didn’t involve grabbing a gun, starting with talking to school administrators about what was going on. That may not have resolved the problem, but it would have been a good place to start, and mom could have escalated things further (and within the law) if she believed the school wasn’t taking her daughter’s safety seriously. Heck, she could have gone to the media herself to talk about the chaos and lack of accountability on campus, but instead it’s her family that are now the subject of news reports.
The 12-year old has been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and mom is facing charges of principle to aggravated assault and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. The daughter is probably going to escape severe consequences thanks to her age (a 14-year old in New Orleans convicted of three counts of robbery was recently given probation instead of being sentenced to juvenile detention), but mom could end up spending some quality time behind bars if she’s convicted.
I’m all in favor of teaching kids how to be safe and responsible around firearms, but that’s a lesson I suspect this 12-year old never received from her mother. I’m also of the opinion that actions come with consequences, and given the mom’s rather nonchalant defense of her daughter’s illegal gun possession the charges that she’s facing seem appropriate to me.