Two high school football players could face criminal charges after they were shown on cellphone video choking and whipping another student at their Rancho Cucamonga school.
The video shows one of the teens choke the victim in the boys’ locker room while the other whips the screaming boy with a belt at least twice before the recording ends. The parents of the 16-year-old victim are outraged, saying officials at Los Osos High School initially tried to downplay the Oct. 11 incident as horseplay.
Cassondra, the victim’s mother, said she had a “complete breakdown” when she first saw the video, which she described as a “disgusting” display of hazing. She said her son, a junior varsity football player, kept the incident a secret.
“He was embarrassed. He felt shame, and he was hoping it would just kind of go away and he had no idea it was getting video recorded,” Cassondra said.
She said it wasn’t until about a week later that school administrators saw the video and told her and her husband, Lonnie, about the incident. At first, she said, school officials told them all three boys were in trouble for horseplaying, but after seeing the video, she and Lonnie believed it was much more serious.
“The video was very disturbing to me when I first saw the video,” Lonnie said.
“The kid that is putting his arm and choke-holding my son, that’s not horseplay. The kid that is hitting him with the belt, whipping him with the belt, that’s not horseplay,” Cassondra added.
She said the boy who struck her son is a varsity player on the Grizzlies football team and also the son of a school administrator. The student who held her son down is also a varsity player, Cassondra said.
The parents say their son is physically OK, but the experience has affected him emotionally. They have filed a criminal report with the sheriff’s department.
Cassondra and Lonnie also want to know why the coaches didn’t respond when their son began screaming. “He’s screaming that loud and nobody showed up. How far are you that you aren’t able to help him?” she said.
The superintendent for the Chaffey Joint Union High School District said in a statement that he is deeply troubled by the incident and that hazing and bullying are not tolerated. He also said that appropriate disciplinary action is being taken but didn’t specify what that action would be.
Cassondra and Lonnie, meanwhile, want the attackers expelled.
“I want those kids off the school,” Cassondra said. “They shouldn’t be able to step foot at that school whatsoever.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles