Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Motive in Spring Valley rock-throwing incident debated 

A village boy spent his 8th birthday on Saturday hospitalized with a fractured skull after being hit by a large rock while sitting on a school bus.

On Monday, the boy's father compared the bus attack that shattered the window to someone firing a gun into the vehicle.

The father, who didn't want his name published, said he felt the rock was thrown with hate, not as a prank or mischief.

His son was riding with dozens of other children from the United Talmudical Academy school on Madison Avenue on Friday afternoon. The bus had been passing Ridge Street when the rock shattered the window and injured the boy, who sat in the aisle seat next to his 11-year-old brother.

"It's not like an accident happened," the father said. "Someone did this on purpose. I believe it was done by hate. I am very worried not only about my children but the 2,000 children going on these buses."

Spring Valley police arrested a boy, 12, on a charge of second-degree reckless endangerment.

Police Chief Paul Modica has said detectives interviewed the child and didn't believe he acted out of hate, so no hate crime was charged.

A hate crime under New York state law is generally defined as intentionally attacking people based on their race, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.

Willie Trotman, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said throwing rocks or committing acts of violence is wrong.
He said he didn't believe the boy acted through hate and he's unaware of other rock-throwing incidents at buses.

"At 12 years old I would think this is a kid being a kid," Trotman said. "This is not a hate crime." .

Trotman said the East Ramapo Central School District budget controlled by the religious community is an issue and has been riling up people. The district is cutting educational programs, full-day kindergarten and potentially music, the marching band and sports.

He said he planned to meet with the Spring Valley police chief Monday on the rock-throwing and other issues as summer approaches.


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