Police are investigating the assault of a 12-year-old Black boy who was jumped by three white boys at a Lakeland, Florida middle school.
A video of the incident went viral after it was posted online last week. The footage, which was recorded from a cellphone, showed several students inside a locker room at R.W. Blake Academy, surrounding the Black child. The kids are seen holding the boy down and hitting him repeatedly while other kids watched. Eventually, one person told the students to “chill out,” but the student filming the incident interjected, saying, “Let them fight.”
As the incident continued, the graphic video showed the 12-year-old being kneed in the stomach and thrown over a bench. One child also sat on him and started punching him in the face, before two other students eventually cut in and pulled the bully off the boy. The incident reportedly happened during change out after gym class. The victim is in the seventh grade and had only been at the school for a little over a month.
Brandon and Lauren Springfield, described their son as a “bookworm” with an interest in technology and journalism. Brandon Springfield said his son did not know any of the attackers and said: “the only interaction they ever had was in gym class, which is multi-age.” So far, one of the bullies has been charged with misdemeanor simple battery and received a 10-day school suspension. According to the Times, several other students will also receive suspension for their involvement in the attack. The school is also investigating the gym teacher, who has an office inside the changing area. He was also reportedly “in the area” during the incident, but the school district is trying to determine whether or not he was “in proximity to those students.”
A Black boy was jumped by 3 white boys at R.W. Blake Academy in Lakeland FL. Polk County School District @PolkSchoolsNews tried to cover it up and the court initially refused to issue a restraining order. The boys mother, Lauren Springfield, was persistent in calling for justice. pic.twitter.com/amw7LL4ELB
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) September 14, 2019