She was savagely attacked on a school bus last week by unlikely assailants: 13-year-old Lucricia Gonzales and her sister, Dezarae Gonzales, age 15.
"She had me by the hair, and the other was swinging at me. So I curled up and had my hands in my face," Neff said, recounting the beating.
Part of a Growing Trend
It may seem like odd behavior, especially for girls, but in towns and schools across the country, a culture of violence is breeding young women who can be as brutal as their male peers, studies show.
The FBI recently reported that the juvenile assault rate among girls had nearly quadrupled in the last 20 years.
"This is the first time I've seen something like that. ... This is, like, my 35th year. I've seen fights on buses before, but this seems rather intense," said Joe Rasor of Bloomfield Schools.
The alleged motivation of the attack makes it more complicated. Police say the Gonzales sisters said they attacked Neff after she made a racial comment.
"School officials typically handle racial issues in their schools by ignoring them. ... It makes for a ripe situation for conflict and problems," said psychology professor Rebecca Bigler of the University of Texas at Austin.
The Gonzales sisters face misdemeanor, battery, and disorderly conduct charges. They were suspended from school for 10 days and could face expulsion.
In her defense, Neff denies provoking the attack. For her, riding to and from school will never be the same.
"I don't think I could ever feel safe on a bus again," she said.
This story taken from ABC NEWS
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