A video showing a Rancho Pico Junior High School student being beaten by several other students began to circulate on social media over the weekend — an incident that left the girl with a concussion, according to her mother.
The beating took place on Valencia Boulevard as the student was walking to a nearby Starbucks to be picked up by her mom after school.
The video — which The Signal has viewed — began with one girl beating the student to the ground as she put her arms up in defense. She appeared to not fight back throughout the video.
As she was on the ground, the girl at the beginning of the video began to kick her. While she was still on the ground, approximately four other students, all girls, began to kick her, hit her and pull her hair.
A sizable crowd of what appears to be other students formed around the incident and many of them could be seen shooting video of it on their cellphones and cheering as she was beaten.
Both the girl and her mother have asked not to be named, but the mother agreed to speak to The Signal on the condition that she is not directly quoted.
The mother said the girls who attacked her daughter were also students in one of her daughter’s classes, but asserted that it was completely unprovoked. She said her daughter was not friends or enemies with girls and that she still does not know why it happened.
Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene and aid was rendered to the girl by paramedics, according to William S. Hart Union High School District officials. The incident is under investigation by the SCV Sheriff’s Station’s Career Offender Burglary Robbery Assault (COBRA) team.
Erum Velek, director of student services for the Hart district, said that while the incident technically took place off of school grounds, the district has the authority to enforce disciplinary action if an incident takes place on the way to and from school and that the district knew about the incident “very quickly.” Velek confirmed an investigation was taking place and that officials had video evidence.
“We really appreciate the families and the students that reported the incident to the school,” said Velek, who also encouraged students to, if they see something, say something.
However, Velek was concerned that no students appeared to have intervened as the incident took place — quite the contrary, they cheered it on.
“At the end of the day, as adults and educators, it’s disheartening to see students, or a group of students that didn’t do anything to intervene. At a minimum, not continuing to cheer and so on and so forth,” said Velek.
As far as how many students are expected to face disciplinary action, or what the extent of that action is, Velek said she could not release that information due to student privacy rights.
However, law enforcement is being consulted as to what penal codes may have been broken and the district is assessing what education codes may have been broken. Per district policy, discipline can range based on the egregiousness of an incident, and a student’s disciplinary history.
Discipline can include suspension, expulsion or “other means of discipline.”
“There’s multiple moving pieces that goes into our decisions … we don’t do one-size-fits-all discipline,” said Velek.
The girl’s mother said her daughter received a text message that contained an apology from one of the girls involved in the incident. But when she inquired as to why the attack happened, she said the other girl said she did not know.
The girl’s mother said school officials and law enforcement have been responsive and in frequent contact with her.
She added that a decision as to whether her daughter will return to Rancho Pico has not been made yet and that she was still recovering from her concussion. However, she does not wish to return.