A student is now charged with misdemeanor battery regarding a video showing him kicking another student’s head repeatedly into a locker at East Bank Middle School, according to a spokesman for the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Brian Humphreys said he couldn’t release much further information because the incident involved two minors.
A 17-second video shared on Facebook starts with a standing student punching another child who’s already on the ground and trying to shield his head with his arm.
The standing student then kicks the victim about seven times in the head, including four kicks that slam the boy’s head into a locker behind him. You can hear the metal of the locker door reverberate in the video.
The standing student is starting to punch again when another boy runs up and grabs his leg. The intervening child holds on and starts receiving blows before another student screams at them to “Knock it off!”
When the video ends, the first child who was struck remains sitting on the ground, with his hands near his face. A second video, from another angle, depicts the same scene.
“We are aware of the incident and are unable to discuss any discipline of a particular student,” Kanawha schools spokeswoman Briana Warner wrote in an email. “We can state that violence is not tolerated and any incident of this nature would be handled via any and all of our applicable policies, including our student code of conduct.”
Sarah Kessick said the child on the ground was her sixth-grade son. She said the attack occurred Tuesday.
Kessick said he’s sore but OK, and CT scans and chest X-rays didn’t reveal problems.
She sent the Gazette-Mail another video of a student — she said it’s her son — being pummeled with punches in a bathroom by a different assailant. The students are wearing face masks, per Kanawha school system policy amid the pandemic, so faces are hard to recognize.
Kessick said the bathroom fight occurred Sept. 3.
She said the earliest fight was around Sept. 1, when her son was goaded into pushing a third student into the lockers. Her own son was suspended that time, she said.
“This is never-ending,” Kessick said of the bullying.
She said she’s not sure if she’s going to sue. Charleston attorney Ben Salango said the family hired him to “consult,” and a decision on a lawsuit hasn’t been made.
“They didn’t feel like — that the school was standing up for and protecting their son,” said Salango, a Kanawha County commissioner and the former Democratic nominee for governor.
“This was an incident where the kid was savagely beaten and not protected until another little boy intervened to break it up,” Salango said. He said “a family shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer to protect their son.”
Warner wrote that violence isn’t tolerated and incidents are handled according to policy, “regardless of whether an attorney reaches out to the county.”