DD (12) was groped on the school bus...Edited for Update
DD came home from school yesterday and as soon as she was in the house she yelled for me. When I walked around the corner she said she had been violated and I couldn't tell if she was being funny or serious, so I asked. Then she told me the following (in her words), "D was sitting in front of me on the bus talking to some other boys about boobs. He turned around and grabbed at my boobs and I told him to stop. He didn't stop and he said, 'Come on just let me have an appetizer.' I said no again but he kept grabbing me and then the bus stopped and I got off and ran home."
I asked DD if she had said anything to him before or after and she said no. She seemed genuinely shaken up when I talked to her. There is a camera on the bus but I have no idea if it was turned on and the kid's back would have been to the camera anyway. Both DD and the boy are in 6th grade. Ironically, it is bullying prevention week and they've been talking about personal space, threats, harassment, etc. in school.
The school's office closes at 3:30 so I wasn't able to speak to anyone yesterday but I will be going in to the school this morning. Any thoughts on how I approach this? I have mixed feelings and no experience dealing with something like this.
ETA: Lame updates on pages 7 and 8.
Edited 2/20 Evening: I went back to the school. When I got there around 1:30 the secretaries in the main office seemed surprised that I had not heard from the assistant principal. I was calm but I said I needed to speak with him about it because I considered it a time sensitive issue. One of the secretaries called him and he showed up about 5 minutes later.
He was immediately apologetic for not calling me. He said he didn't want to call me until he had something to tell me and that he had spent the day investigating. This kind of threw me because I anticipated him calling me BEFORE taking this further. He told me that he had talked to DD three different times throughout the day (1st, 3rd, and 4th period). He interviewed D, the boy who touched DD and two boys who witnessed it (I thought there was only one witness but there was two, with the same name). I asked if they had given any information and the AP said he can't tell me that because of privacy issues.
He said he contacted someone at central office and spoke with the principal first thing in the morning because they were currently trying to decide what level offense this was. There are 4 levels: 1 being very minor, 2 being more serious, 3 being serious with automatic suspension, 4 is like bringing a gun to school serious and is immediate expulsion. In the student conduct handbook it explains the potential consequences and different levels but both level 2 and 3 had the same description: Sexual Offense Against A Student - Touching/Battery. I believe they decided it was a level 2 offense. I asked if they checked the bus cameras and he said no, that the school didn't doubt DD's story at all and it was clear something happened. I'm thinking one of the witnesses or the boy who did it said something that corroborates what DD said.
I sort of felt like the AP was mirroring whatever I was saying because he kept making references to his own daughter. He said things like, "I think of all these students as my children and if someone had done this to my daughter you can bet I would be just as upset as you" and "If it was my daughter I would file a police report on top of the consequences from the school." I did ask for him to connect me with the school resource officer but at this time we are not considering pressing charges. If DD had been physically hurt by what he did then the very first thing we would have done would be call the police. It doesn't make it any less wrong just because he didn't physically hurt her but it is a different level of assault. I'm not interesting in ruining this kid's life and I feel confidant that the school has handled this quickly and appropriately. The two witnesses and the boy who did it have been told that if they approach DD about this or spread rumors there will be further disciplinary action. We've also asked DD to not discuss it with other students. The AP also stated that he was looking to punish this young man to the harshest extent to make him never want to cross that line again. Due to privacy issues they cannot specifically tell me the length of his suspension or his parents information. If it goes to a hearing then we have access to that info but I don't think it will.
I signed DD out while I was there and we went and got frozen yogurt. We're being very careful to let her know she didn't do anything wrong and she didn't deserve this. We're super proud of her for being brave enough to tell us and let us handle it. Shortly after signing DD out the AP called me and said the boys parents had been contacted and he has been suspended. They have also moved him to a different gym class (they were in the same class but it only meets every other day so they didn't see each other at all today). In addition to that he is not able to ride the bus for an "extended time" according to the AP.
DD is okay. She still seems genuinely surprised that someone would do something like that. We've talked to her some more about what she should do if she feels threatened, the difference between self-defense and beating someone up, and we told her that if something like this happens again she should clock the kid then get to the nearest adult. She was worried about getting in trouble for it and we assured her that we would fight it all the way up to the school board if for some reason the school tried to discipline her for defending herself. We basically told her to go for the eyes or balls. Oh, I mentioned that to the AP. His eyes got a little wide but he again said he understood and that he would give his daughter the same advice.
Edited again to clarify: I have no fear of involving law enforcement. I have posted in this forum about calling the non-emergency police number on my daughter who is 12. Things got to a point where we needed an immediate intervention and we needed to make sure DD didn't get hurt in the scuffle. This is what her counselor has told us to do and the police backed us up. Thankfully, DD is far more stable now. So that being said, I do agree with Leah on this to a degree. The school is handling it in a way that DH, DD, and I all find satisfactory. I have NO clue if this is this kid's first offense. I don't know his parents and the school won't give me their information. If I had it, I would have contacted them myself. The school is punishing this boy harshly to make a point. If the school had ignored me and the situation I would have gone to the police because it isn't okay to just do nothing. If this boy ever touches DD again I'm going straight to the police. DD is satisfied with the way things were handled and most importantly she still feels school is a safe place and she knows we have her back. My priority in all of this was to send a message to DD that she is important, she didn't do anything wrong, and no one is allowed to touch her against her will. She is worth more than that.
Thank you all for your advice and support. This entire situation took me by surprise and while I wanted to stand up for DD I didn't want to just start out at bat-shit-crazy level if I didn't need to.