Family sues school district after alleged sex attack on bus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The mother of a Fruitvale Junior High School student is suing the school district on claims that her daughter was sexually assaulted on a school bus.

"I kind of just watched her deteriorate," said Rebekah Larkins.

On Oct. 22, Larkin's 13-year-old daughter boarded a school bus, headed home. Larkins said her daughter called her, saying she had been sexually assaulted on the bus. She said it lasted the duration of the 17-minute bus ride.

"She had red marks on her neck, her hair was missing, and she said, 'Mommy, I was attacked,'" said Larkins, "and she started crying."

Larkins said her daughter was helpless as three boys attacked her.

"A couple of her friends looked, but nobody did anything," the mother said.

Larkins' first thought was to question the supposed lack of intervention.

"Where the heck was the bus driver? How did this happen? I did not understand how," said Larkins.

The bus driver has since been transferred to another route. The three boys have been either suspended or expelled.

For Larkins, it's not enough.

"They assured me that he (the bus driver) would not be in the care of children, and that was not the case. He was just rerouted," she said.

She said the assault was only the beginning, as students learned of the incident some took to social media to ridicule the girl.

"Other girls who were in a relationship with these boys started rumors about my daughter," said Larkins, "and it just turned into a really big bullying issue, let alone the sexual assault."

She said the school made promises it didn't keep.

"They were going to have the girls sit in the back (of the bus) and the boys sit up front," Larkins explained. "The first day I went back on the bus, the kids were mixed. The boy she was promised would not be on the bus was on the bus."

Larkins and attorney Daniel Rodriguez hope to send a message by suing the Fruitvale School District.

Rodriguez questioned, "All of the promises they made, was it lip service?"

"Maybe if these bullies know they're under the microscope, that they're being watched, that they won't do it," the attorney said.