Last spring, a sixth-grade girl near Washington, D.C., was thrown down in the back of her school bus by several older boys who, the girl said, grabbed her breasts and buttocks and feigned sex acts, the Washington Post says. Every day, 440,000 school buses take 18 million children to and from schools and activities. Sexual assaults on those buses is one of the fastest-growing forms of school violence.
Administrators, teachers, and bus drivers say the nature and frequency of the attacks are increasing, and at younger ages. A 2001 report commissioned by the American Association of University Women found that eight of every 10 students in grades 8 through 11 report having been sexually harassed at school, most often by peers. “I’ve never experienced the problems and the degenerate actions of kids as I have this past year,” said bus driver Bob Baxley of Hagerstown, Md., who has been driving school buses for 12 years. “Sexual harassment is a much more serious issue in public schools than most people have been willing to admit,” said Prof. Robert Shoop of Kansas State University. “And it’s much more likely to occur in unsupervised venues — like buses or bathrooms.”