A teenage boy faces an assault charge after being involved in a viral fight at a high school in Gaines Township, Michigan.
The teen’s name has not been made public by authorities because he is a juvenile. The 19-second video of the attack on Aug. 24 at East Kentwood High School shows the shirtless teenage boy kicking a fellow student in the head several times while she was laid out on the floor. No student intervened to stop the fight that left the girl beaten with her pants down, but several gathered around.
The video went viral on Facebook, being shared over 2,000 times in just two hours.
“The fact that this happened, and happened for so long without any intervention, is unacceptable,” parent Tara Jones-Williamson told FOX 17 at the protest.
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office says deputies have finished investigating the video, and now the boy is facing one misdemeanor count of assault and battery.
“It was only the fourth day of school, so once I first saw it, it was very shocking and I just felt immediate discomfort and disgust by the video because it was very brutal,” one student told Wood TV.
Superintendent Kevin Polston gave an announcement to parents later that day explaining the vague circumstances behind the altercation.
“Today at East Kentwood High School, two students were involved in an altercation where angry words quickly escalated into a physical altercation. A social media video captures the last reprehensible seconds of a longer altercation,” Polston wrote. “Prior to the escalation of the physical altercation, both students had an opportunity to not engage.”
Parents gathered in front of the school after the video went viral and demanded accountability from the administrative staff.
Principal Omar Bakri wrote in a letter to parents that the school is working very closely to find a proper resolution to the incident.
“First and foremost, we want to say that the actions that took place in the hallway were disturbing and unacceptable. They do not represent the beliefs and values of East Kentwood High School or Kentwood Public Schools,” Bakri wrote. “This type of behavior, regardless of any circumstance, is not tolerated at East Kentwood High School.”
Bakri announced that the East Kentwood High School staff will teach lessons on “high expectations for a positive school culture and appropriate conflict resolution responses.”
Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said he did not anticipate upgrading the charges.
“I think just about every case that gets on social media, we always have like a 30-second, 20-second snippet of part of the incident, but we never have the full picture,” Becker told FOX 17.
The boy faces a range of sentences for the charges that could include probation, community service, or the requirement to provide restitution, prosecutors say.
Becker added that the teens who watched the violent encounter were right not to insert themselves into the situation.
“I think that’s always the dangerous thing, is having kids intervene,” Becker told WOOD TV. “Who knows, they get hit, they caught up in it, they get hurt just being a bystander trying to be a hero, if you will.”