NEW YORK – A 14-year-old Indian American Sikh boy was beaten by two other students on Oct. 26 on a sidewalk, one block away from Kentridge High School for what many believe was his religion, according to a News Tribune report.
One student recorded the beating while the other followed the Indian American and punched him from behind, knocking him onto the ground where the boy was punched several times as he tried to protect his head and crawl away.
The video was then posted on Snapchat and has now gone viral.
The school district told the News Tribune that it was investigating the incident after reviewing the recording the Monday after, school officials believe that religion or race was not the cause for the attack, but instead was probably a continuation of classroom dispute that had occurred earlier.
Chris Loftis, the communications director for the Kent School District, in Washington state, was disappointed when he saw the video and said that violence is never tolerated at any school in Kent, adding that he had been receiving calls from around the country from people who were outraged after watching the video.
“We’re reaching out to community leaders and various religious organizations and groups on how we can talk about this in an effective way. I’m not able to talk about the specific individual sanctions a student receives but a suspension would fit in with punishment.” Loftis told Q13 FOX.
The Kent School District claims to be one of the most diverse in the country, with more than 27,000 students speaking a total of 150 languages, they even released a statement which said “at this point, it appears this was a continuation of an earlier classroom dispute and not racially or religiously motivated. However, much of the social media regarding this incident includes very troubling and racially charged verbiage.”
“I am feeling so, so bad because this happened with my son. They beat him from the backside and hurt him too much. This is a very big thing for me, here in America, in the U.S., because I can’t imagine, I can’t explain or myself how I am feeling,” the Indian American’s father, who refused to be identified, told KIRO-TV.
“He never interacted with this guy. He never know his name, I don’t want to see this happen again with my son or anyone else. I don’t want to see this,” he added saying that it hurts him each time he sees the video.
The mother of the Indian American teen told Q13 FOX that she was very distraught and stressed out by the incident and did not want to talk about as she added that her son was not doing well and was recovering.
The family also said that their son never fought with the attacker in school and added that the Kent area is home to many Sikhs and all they want peace for them and everyone.
The News Tribune reported that a Facebook thread about the incident generated more than 40 comments from parents and community members who said that the boy who beat up the Indian American, needs to be held accountable and that people everywhere need to stand up to injustice.
“It is time for the parents and the school districts to ensure that the kids have a safe learning environment,” one commenter wrote.
Another said, “I am so sickened by what is happening in our country. I pledge to speak out against any injustice that I witness. I am so sorry for this ‘culture/sickness’ that is brewing. Stay strong and continue to fight back with love and integrity!”
Police are looking into the incident.
The News Tribune added that the student’s beating comes six months after another Indian American Sikh in Kent was shot in his driveway after being told to “Go back to your own country,” he recovered from a gunshot wound to the arm and told police he did not know the shooter.