SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Students at a high school in Santa Clarita have rallied around a special needs student who was seen on a video being punched and knocked around by a fellow student.
That video has gone viral.
So has a movement of support to help the unidentified victim who was reportedly badly hurt in the fight.
The West Ranch High School students were also responding to the fact that while the video was being recorded, several students stood by and did nothing. Some even laugh.
Finally, two students step in and break up the fight.
Sheriff’s Deputies confirm there was a fight at the school Thursday. A school board member told Perez the fight involved a student with special needs and he was the target.
“He has special education, why would you take advantage of something like that? Just walk away,” said student Matt Padilla.
He and others started a social media conversation — in group chats and Twitter posts — standing up for the victim.
The trend these days is to fuel these discussions with supportive hashtags, as well. Before the end of the day Friday the kids had started more than one including #StandWith]victim’s name withheld] and #JusticeFor[victim’s name withheld.]
“The entire school was ready to back this kid up, make sure he doesn’t get hurt anymore. Everyone wanted to make sure he was okay. At first he was scared to come to school,” Padilla said.
Friday morning, West Ranch Principal Mark Crawford went on the school’s internal TV channel pleading with students to let the school and law enforcement handle the situation — before *peaking out turned to acting out.
“This is not the time for retaliation,” he said in the address to students.
And there was none.
There was, however, a lot of camaraderie and brother and sisterhood. Dozens came to school Friday wearing black in solidarity — not only with their special needs classmate but they say anyone else who’s felt targeted at school.
“His main thing was its not just me being bullied, it’s a lot of people being bullied and he goes we want to end this for everybody,” said student Nate Racina.
Student Grayson Thomas concurred.
“Definitely it made a lot people start thinking about it and start thinking maybe we should be looking at how we’re handling things and talking to people,” he said.
A school board member told Perez that deputies have arrested one student for the fight — she says it’s unclear whether he would be allowed back at school or if the student with special needs might also face discipline.