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Police need court order for bus beating video

by Diana Zoga

KMOV.com

Posted on November 17, 2009 at 9:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 18 at 5:23 PM

Police in Hazelwood are told they'll have to get a subpoena to obtain surveillance video of a school bus beating that occurred Friday afternoon.

The bus was taking students home from Hazelwood West High School when a 14 year old boy allegedly punched a 15 year old girl in the head, repeatedly.  The girl's mother tells me that the bus driver stopped the bus and told the boy to get off.  A friend called the girl's mother and told her what was happening.  Mom met the bus at a stop near her home, then called police.

The girl was swollen and sore, but did not need hospitalization.

The 14 year old boy is suspended from school, pending a disciplinary hearing.  Police took him into custody Monday and he has since been released back to his parents.  Police have filed an offense report which will be processed through the juvenile court system.

There is surveillance video of the attack, but police were told detectives would have to obtain a subpoena to get it.  The department says that in the past, the school would allow police to view the videos in a timely manner to determine if a crime was committed.  In this case, the district told officers they would need a subpoena.

The school district says it is following new federal guidelines that say prosecutors and police must have a court order to obtain school bus surveillance video.  The district says that it could lose federal funding if it doesn't comply.

Read about the Family Policy Compliance Office, which enforces the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:  www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html

Hazelwood police say the department is in the process of trying to get a subpoena. 

Earlier this school year, a beating on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois made national headlines after surveillance video was obtained by police and then released to the media.  The video stirred up heated debate over whether the attack was racially motivated and whether the bus driver did enough to stop the violence.

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