Commentary: Race shouldn't have been focus of school bus incident

People throughout the area are outraged over the fight on the Belleville West bus on Monday, us included. It's horrible that a student was attacked by two other students, and disturbing that some bus riders stood and laughed or cheered.

Unfortunately the incident has inflamed racial tensions. The student who was attacked was white, and the kids who did the hitting were black. The police initially said race was the motivating factor, but on Tuesday backed off.

All the focus on race is unfortunate and not productive. Even if race were the motivating factor, the students who are responsible are individuals and must be disciplined as individuals. There is good, bad and ugly within every race. The problem on the bus was the bullying and thuggery.

The students responsible have been suspended and should face criminal charges. And the district suspended at least five kids who laughed at the situation. Good. The message needs to be that the district has no tolerance for students who commit such violence or others who egg it on.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Belleville News-Democrat.