District urges vigilance after Beech Grove student punched in face by stranger while at bus stop

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BEECH GROVE, Ind. — Beech Grove City Schools are encouraging families and students to be extra vigilant at bus stops after a student was allegedly hit by a stranger Friday morning.

According to a police report and information shared by the district, a sixth grader was waiting at a bus stop in the area of S. 17th Ave. and Main Streets Friday morning when an adult male approached the boy and punched him in the face.

“An unknown male suspect walked up to the juvenile and struck him in the face and walked away,” said Michael Maurice, Chief of Police at the Beech Grove Police Department.

According to a police report, the suspect is described as a white male, approximately six feet tall. No other descriptions were provided.

A letter sent home to parents by the district’s superintendent read, “When the bus driver arrived, he immediately addressed the situation, got the student medical care, and contacted the appropriate authorities.”

Dr. Thomas Keeley, assistant superintendent of business and personnel for Beech Grove City Schools said the driver took care of the child, and notified their school resource officer, their building principal, their operations director, and other key personnel, identified as part of the district’s Safe Schools approach.

“We gather our information, got information from the police, and then crafted a communication like we would for any incident,” said Keeley.

“We want to be proactive in safety moving forward and since it’s springtime and we do have students at those bus stops, that you know, may not have adult supervision and certainly don’t have school supervision sitting there,” he said. “We went ahead and just felt like it was important to alert our parents and say, you know, due diligence — supervision doesn’t stop just right at the front door of your house.”

Police said there were no witnesses to the incident Friday morning.

“Any time that kids are involved it does heighten our awareness and makes us a little more concerned,” said Maurice.

Keeley shared, “We wanted to raise awareness and said, these are the kinds of random things that can happen. It doesn’t happen very often here in Beech Grove, but when it does happen, it was nice that our Safe Schools protocol went into place.”

He said everything was communicated well, and thoroughly, on Friday and the parent was able to meet their child right away.

“It’s just because we want to make sure that our kids, for whatever reasons, they’re supervised and taken care of and so, moving forward we also made an administrative decision to have an SRO — school resource officer in the proximity of that area, just in case it’s a local person in the area,” said Keeley.

“We don’t want it to happen again.”

Keeley said the district takes pride and great responsibility in keeping their students safe and says they have walking routes and bus stops where there are multiple kids together. He said they try to make sure they are off of main roads so accidents are as avoidable as possible but knows they cannot prevent everything.

“We value the partnership with our parents and so yeah, it absolutely is concerning. I don’t think that it, you know it’s not a common event, but anything we can do to put in place, such as an SRO there for the next few days, we think is a proactive measure,” Keeley explained.

In the letter sent home to parents, Superintendent Dr. Laura Hammack wrote, “We are glad that our student is doing well and appreciate the efforts of our staff to maintain a safe and secure environment for all of our boys and girls.”

“We’ll be more focused in that area to see if we can help eliminate and possibly identify who that suspect was,” said Maurice.

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the Beech Grove Police Department at 317-782-4949.

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