On Tuesday, WNDU shared footage of the incident, which occurred at Discovery Middle School in Granger, Indiana. In the 10-second clip, one 14-year-old boy can be seen grabbing another 14-year-old boy’s shirt and repeatedly punching him. Neither of the involved students’ identities have been revealed.
According to reports, St. Joseph County police were called to the school Monday afternoon, after a teacher entered the restroom, concerned about the loud sounds emanating from it.
School principal Sheryll Harper sent a letter to parents Tuesday confirming that the school is aware of the “cell phone video of this altercation” and that she wants to “clear up some rumors and misunderstandings.”
“This incident happened during a passing period. This incident involved three general education students, despite what has been discussed and questioned on social media,” Harper wrote.
Following the circulation of the video on social media, rumors surfaced that the victim of the attack is on the autism spectrum. However, that appears to have been a rumor, according to Harper.
“Teachers on hall duty heard the disruption in the bathroom, and while it is not seen on the video, the teachers did intervene quickly. All the boys involved were stopped as they exited the bathroom, and our investigation into the incident began immediately, including contacting the parents of those involved,” Harper explained, saying “appropriate disciplinary” action in accordance with the student handbook disciplinary guidelines had been taken.
According to multiple news sources quoting police reports, two students, the one who threw the punches as well as the boy taking the video, were suspended. The altercation may have been prompted by one student spitting on the other right before spring break the previous week, although these details have not been confirmed by St. Joseph County police. Police did not immediately respond to Sputnik’s request for comment.
“Please respect and understand that under FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) we can not disclose or discuss the details of these students’ disciplinary measures with those not involved in the incident,” Harper noted.
The letter to parents also stated that the altercation is “disturbing in nature on so many levels” and should be used as a reminder for students to report unsafe behavior to an adult immediately.
“I was in sheer shock,” Sarah Lamonds of Mishawaka told NewsCenter 16, describing her reaction after seeing the video on social media. Her children attend a different school in another district.
“I just couldn’t believe that was happening, for one, and for two, that all the other students were standing around doing nothing while this little boy was being attacked,” she said, adding that her son has been bullied before.
“It starts at home. We have to teach our children better,” she said. “We have to show them right from wrong. We have to hold them accountable for their actions, because if we don’t hold them accountable now, who will?”
Jean Dewey, parent of a Discovery Middle School student, agreed, calling the footage “heartbreaking.”
“Don’t watch it more than once… I hope they [the parents] have a nice long talk with their sons,” Dewey recently told ABC57.
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