Girls honored for heroism in bus bomb incident

Three Carson Middle School girls were honored Thursday for their part in foiling a would-be bomber on the school bus last week.

"It takes a lot of courage, commitment and faith in yourself to do the right thing," said vice principal Linda Flaherty. "These girls did the right thing."

According to police reports, a boy was riding the bus home from the middle school on Oct. 13 when he allegedly pulled out a bottle containing flammable liquid, with a cloth wick.

When Shanay Lavatai, 13, saw him and some friends trying to light the wick, she yelled at him.

"I just opened my mouth, and it came out," she explained. "It was such a stupid thing to do. If they would have lit it, people would have gotten hurt, and they would have gotten hurt worse because they were holding it."

Alicia Knight, 12, and Callie Ward, 13, told their parents about the Molotov cocktail, and the parents called school officials.

"Because of these girls, we knew about the incident less than 30 minutes after it happened," Flaherty said.

The boy was later arrested.

Ward said her close relationship with her parents made it an easy decision to tell her mom.

"My mom could tell something was wrong," she said. "She looked at me and said, 'OK, what's wrong? Spill it.'

"I just felt comfortable telling her. I couldn't think of a reason to keep it secret."

Flaherty said she hopes more students follow the example set by the trio.

"We are always trying to educate the kids on the difference between tattling and telling," she said. "When you see things you know are inappropriate or are wrong, you need to communicate with adults."

Sheriff Kenny Furlong attended the small ceremony and presented the girls with plaques of appreciation.

"Real American heroes are people who make a difference, and you made a difference," he said.

Lavatai's father, Sam Lavatai, made each of the girls a Hawaiian lei out of candy.

"It's a custom where we come from as a token of appreciation for a special accomplishment," he said.


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