Violence against children is a stomach-turning reality that has been thrust into the spotlight recently with the viral video of a 9-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother being brutally beaten by teenagers on a Florida school bus. This video has sparked online outrage and the arrest of one of the assailants, prompting an urgent need for a deeper conversation about the safety and wellbeing of our children.

The young girl and her brother attend Coconut Palm Academy in Homestead, Florida, and the video of her being beaten had amassed over 6.6 million views as of Friday morning. The girl’s mother, identified as Jenni, was overwhelmed with emotion when she saw the video and said, “Like any mother, I am destroyed. I fell to my knees and at that moment I said I have to do something.”

The teenage boy who assaulted the young girl reportedly received a civil citation, and the parents of the children who were beaten have removed their children from the school and may take legal action. Another mother who has a third-grader at the school said her son had been bullied repeatedly since the beginning of the school year and when she alerted teachers and administrators they were unresponsive.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials issued a statement regarding the incident and said, “The safety and wellbeing of our students is of the utmost importance. This school district goes to great lengths to promote the values of restraint and respect as well as using social media responsibly. We ask that parents reinforce these principles at home.”

This heinous incident has sparked a much-needed conversation about the safety and wellbeing of our children and how we can ensure that our children are safe in their schools and communities. We must strive to create an environment where children can feel safe, respected, and supported in order to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.