school bus
© Courthouse News Service
Seven central Florida teenagers were arrested after authorities said they punched and kicked a 13-year-old until she was unconscious while on a school bus.

The victim told authorities that Friday was her first time riding the bus and no one would let her sit down. About 75 children were riding the bus bound for a middle school in Ocala, a rural city north of Orlando. The victim said someone threw a shoe at her and she threw one back, according to an arrest report.

One girl allegedly asked students if they wanted to hit the victim, then instructed the teens to form a circle and began hitting and kicking the victim. Several witnesses said they saw the girl fall to the floor and "appear to have a seizure and pass out," according to the arrest report.

The victim, who is not being identified, was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion, severe bruising on her head and muscle spasms.

Seven teens, ranging in age from 12 to 15, were charged with battery and disorderly conduct. The Associated Press is not identifying the suspects because they are minors.

The school's bus driver said he saw the fight and pulled the bus over to intervene. The fighting ceased, so he continued driving, but he told authorities the fight broke out again and he couldn't control it so he drove to a nearby school and called officials.

Authorities interviewed all the students on the bus. Ten students said they saw the seven "commit battery upon the victim as a group," according to the report.

One suspect admitted kicking the victim, but said it was an accident. A few claimed they hit her and several others denied it.

Deputy Shannon Wiles wrote in the report that one 14-year-old girl climbed over several seats filled with students to get to the victim and "advised she punched the defendant repeatedly in the head, approximately 10-15 times because the victim called her a name."

School officials said it's unlikely the defendants will be allowed on campus until their cases are resolved.

The Ocala Star-Banner, which first reported the fight, said school discipline rules call for the students to be expelled or reassigned to another school, according to Marion County Public Schools spokesman Kevin Christian.