By JAY CLARK
MINNEAPOLIS (March 15, 2013) — According to Hmong community members, another Henry High School student was attacked while using the city bus Go To card to travel home from school on Tuesday, March 12.
According to the boy’s mother, he was coming home from the North Minneapolis school on the 19 bus line. He departed the bus at a different point after missing his usual stop.
After walking about two blocks he noticed that two teenagers were following him. When he got to the middle of 23rd Avenue North and Russell they attacked him in the middle of the street.
One went in front of him and asked him for his iPod, one was in back of him with what he said was a gun to the back of his head, according to the boy’s mother. They threatened to kill him as they ripped the iPod out of his pocket, shoved him to the ground, kicked him several times in the head and ran off.
The family said they believe the attackers were on the bus with him and followed him to a more remote area before attacking him. The mother said that the boy has a bruise on his head, and is very shaken and traumatized.
The family has since pulled the boy out of Henry when the mandatory city bus ride program was announced, but agreed to let this son stay at Henry because he was a senior and wanted to complete the Henry IB program. The mom says she will now be pulling another child out of Minneapolis Public Schools by this fall.
Henry students are also reporting many other problems on the city buses. They say that many students are getting their cell phones taken by passengers who grab them just as the bus is stopping, jump off the bus, and disappear down the street. In one case, the perpetrator dropped his own cell phone as he stole a student’s cell phone and police were able to use information from the phone to identify the thief. However, most student cell phone thefts go unsolved.
Another student reported how three passengers sitting behind her talked about robbing her. When she got off the bus the other three passengers followed. She ran for her house and managed to get inside before they caught her.
This week more stories spread through Henry High of another student being stalked repeatedly by a man in a car while going from her house to the city bus stop.
Concerned with so many crimes on the city buses, Henry High students are now collecting postcards asking that uniformed police be put on the city buses and monitors be stationed at the bus stops during hours the Henry students are going to and from school. The postcards are being sent to school board members Monserrate and Ellison.
Meanwhile Gary Vang, the Henry student who was attacked and knocked out January 28 while using city buses to get from school to home, will be leaving Henry high March 22 to transfer to Hopkins high. His parents say Gary has thrived at Henry and enjoys the students and teachers and courses and activities, but for his safety they have reluctantly concluded they need to move him to another school.
One program they hoped Gary could still participate in is College Possible, an after school program to help low income students apply to college. However, the Henry high principal has decided to remove Gary Vang and other non-Henry students from the program. Gary’s mom has called the principal several times and written her a letter asking her to reconsider, but to date the principal has not called back: Gary’s mom was told the principal was too busy to talk to her.