BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) – Two students whose attack on another student on a bus drew national headlines got the maximum punishment from the Belleville School District – expulsion for the rest of this year and the next. The students are 14 and 15. A video camera on the bus taped the attack, which drew national attention after police released it.
The video shows a 17-year-old Belleville West High School student taking a seat on a bus. Several minutes later the student sitting next to him punches him. At one point, the attacker holds the victim by the neck and continues to punch him while other students cheer.
After a few minutes, a second attacker argues with the victim and then punches him in the face several times.
Students eventually broke up the attack. The bus driver, who claimed he didn’t see the attacks, has been relieved of his duties.
Police initially believed the attacks were racially motivated, but have backed off those statements and said it appears to be a case of bullying.
The attackers were both black and the victim was white.
Several of the students who cheered have been suspended from school.
Both of the attackers were charged last week with aggravated felony battery.
Illinois law prohibits the release of names of juveniles who are charged with crimes.