- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2000

Three black female Bowie High School students are facing hate-crime and assault charges after they attacked a white male student at a school bus stop earlier this month, Prince George's County, Md., police officials said yesterday.

The three girls, one of whom was overheard saying she hated white people, pushed the boy to the ground on the afternoon of Oct. 6, and punched and kicked him until a nearby resident broke up the fight.

The fight broke out after the four teen-agers got off the school bus at Pennypacker Lane.

The boy suffered a contusion to the head, a bloody nose, scrapes and bruises. Police said he walked home after the attack and did not require medical attention. Since the incident, the boy's parents reportedly hired a lawyer in the case.

The three girls, whose names were not released because they are juveniles, were arrested Tuesday and charged with hate crime and second-degree assault, after the boy's parents filed a police report Oct. 16, authorities said. The girls also were suspended from school as a result, school officials confirmed yesterday.

"We followed the school's code of conduct," Principal Suzanne Maxey said yesterday. "Appropriate disciplinary action was taken in this matter."

Ms. Maxey declined to discuss the specifics of the case.

Police said one of the girls began "picking on" the boy while they were on the bus going home. The boy told police he asked her to stop. When she didn't, the boy told police, the four began to argue until they got off the bus.

A witness who broke up the fight told police one of the girls was overheard saying she "hated white people" and that she and her friends would "pick on a different white person each day," authorities said. Police said they did not know how long the girls would have pursued their threat.

The mother of one girl has reportedly disputed the charges. She said that her daughter tried to stop the fight, and that the boy took a swing at her.

Neither the teen-agers nor their parents could be reached for comment yesterday.

Several parents whose children attend Bowie High School said yesterday they were stunned to hear about the attack almost three weeks after it occurred. Some parents blamed the overcrowding at the school for contributing to some of the tension between the students.

"For the most part, students get along and relations are fairly good," said Lynn Beiber, whose son is a sophomore at the school. "But overcrowding in the school and on the buses is the bigger problem here. Kids get into fights over the stupidest things. It's not road rage, it's hall rage that causes so much tension between the students."

Prince George's County Board of Education member Robert J. Callahan, who represents the Bowie area, said he hopes the school system will promptly address the consequences of such an attack.

"I hope this will send a message to school officials to call for more discipline at the school," Mr. Callahan said. "If these students are guilty of the attack, then they should be expelled."

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