The parents of a Black Florida student shown on video being held down and beaten by three white peers in a school locker room are considering a lawsuit against the school district.
Video of the incident Sept. 9 at R.W. Blake Academy in Lakeland showed one student punching the 12-year-old victim at least 10 times and wrestling the child over a bench.
The family lawyer Stephanie Durrance spoke about the incident “My client has had zero disciplinary referrals in his background, “He is an honor student, yet the child who beat him has had 18 disciplinary referrals, including many for physical altercations.”
The basis for any possible lawsuit would focus on why a teacher did not act to protect the injured student, Durrance Weil said
Polk County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said during a news conference Sept. 12 there is office space in the locker room with a glass window for teachers to see what is happening.
“And I will tell you that the teachers are supposed to be ensuring that all the students are safe when they’re in their care,” she said. “And we are investigating that teacher, and discipline will follow in that as well.”
Durrance Weil said a P.E. teacher was in the locker room when the incident occurred.
It’s unrefuted that he yelled out for the children to chill out,” she said.
He just didn’t “investigate what the ruckus was about,” the attorney added.
The accused attacker was charged with simple battery and suspended for 10 days in the incident, authorities said.
Three boys who videotaped the fight were suspended for three days, according to a police report The Ledger newspaper obtained.
Lakeland Police Capt. Steven Pacheco has said the incident started when a student took something a peer said “to heart and acted upon it.”
Authorities also said in the report that multiple students accused the victim of talking about them and that a girl told a school resource officer the victim made her uncomfortable when he told her he loved her.
It’s unclear how the girl’s accusation is related to the locker room encounter, but when the fight ended, another video reportedly showed the alleged attacker asking the victim if he was “going to stop talking s— now,” according to the police report.
The victim’s family maintains that their child did not initiate the incident.