VIDEO: Woman Charged with Child Abuse After Beating 12-Year-Old Middle School Student
Last updated 9/5/2023 at 10:50am
PORT RICHEY – A bullying incident outside a local middle school led to a woman's arrest after officials say she battered a 12-year-old female student who was walking to her parent's car.
According to reports and cellphone video taken at the scene, on Thursday, August 24th, several students were walking westbound on Ridge Road after being released from Chasco Middle School. As the group left school grounds, a female student grabbed the backpack of another student and began slapping her. The victim's twin sister came to her aid and was subsequently grabbed by an adult woman, 32-year-old Samantha Droz, who began beating the second victim in the head. The mother of both victims, Billie Vercellona, rushed to her daughter's aid and was able to stop the attack. Vercellona contacted the Pasco Sheriff's Office to report the incident and an investigation ensued. Five days later, on August 29th, Droz was arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse. She was later released on a $5,000 bond.
R News spoke to Vercellona who claims the attack on her daughter was planned and that the same girl was involved in a separate bullying incident the day before. When Vercellona asked school officials if the student would be disciplined for attacking her daughter, officials responded, "Since it happened off school grounds it's a community problem." Vercellona questions why her son got in trouble for an incident after he was dropped off at a school bus stop miles away from the school, but a few feet away from the school, "It's not their problem." According to Pasco School District policy, bus stops are considered school property, but if a violent incident occurs just feet away from the school, they have no jurisdiction to enforce disciplinary action.
The fight took place in front of Agora Apartment Homes, located at the corner of Ridge Road and Chasco Woods Blvd, where parents pick up students to avoid long waits in the pickup line. Vercellona says she will wait in line from now on to avoid violent attacks on her children.
In addition to the physical violence against her daughters, Vercellona says her cell phone was stolen from the scene. Using a GPS locator app, Vercellona pinpointed the phone in the vicinity of Droz's apartment. Vercellona has been unable to recover the phone and Droz has not been charged with the theft.
To avoid possible community standard violations on our social media platforms, R News is not providing a link to the video in this report, however, Billie Vercellona has given permission for the community to view the video from her Facebook page by clicking here: Child Abuse Video