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Teen girl, assailant suspended after school calls attack 'mutual fight'

Teen girl, assailant suspended after school calls attack 'mutual fight'
A teenage girl who was assaulted by a classmate has been suspended from a Texas high school for fighting back, though a cell phone video of the incident shows her being beaten on a classroom floor with no teacher in sight.

“I don’t even know how to fight,” the Cypress Ridge High School senior, who did not want to be named, told local KHOU 11 News.

The teen says that the girl who attacked her is a bully who approached her for no reason and started punching and kicking her in a classroom during her sixth period class. The victim says that as the bully approached, her mind was blank and she “didn’t know what to do or what to think.”

A 45-second video recording that surfaced on the Internet after the attack shows the bully punching and kicking the girl in the face while she lies on her back on the classroom floor. 

A teacher in the classroom at the time did nothing to break up the attack. While the victim was being beaten, the teacher pressed a panic button to alert the school's emergency administrators about the fight. From the cell phone video, it appears that another student intervened to stop the bully’s punches while the instructor is nowhere in sight.

“Where’s the teacher?” Eric Green, the victim’s father, told KHOU. “Why didn’t they step in and do something about this? Do something about this mess before it escalated into physical confrontation?”

The school then proceeded to suspend both girls for participating in a “mutual” fight, even though one girl was clearly victimized by the other in what Mr. Green calls an “assault”.

The assistant principal “basically told me we had two students that got in a fight,” Green said. “We had mutual combat.’ That was it. She was being suspended. The other student was being suspended.”

In a statement school administrators sent to NewsFix, a Cypress Ridge High School spokesman defending the decision and said that “the campus administration conducted an investigation and the students involved were disciplined according to the Student Code of Conduct.”

But the school’s response, together with the teacher’s failure to break up the attack, has caused Green to develop grave concern over the safety of his daughter at a place that's supposed to be a safe learning environment.

“My concern is Cy-Ridge has no system in place to protect my child while she’s in school,” he told NewsFix. “And it’s not just my child. It could be anybody’s child.”

The cell phone video of the attack was uploaded to the Internet several hours after the incident and after the suspensions were in effect. The video evidence contradicts the “mutual” altercation claims made by school administrators. It also portrays the instructor’s lack of involvement, which could reflect negatively on the school.

In North Carolina, a fight occurred between two seventh graders at Hope Mills Middle School last week, with one student recording it on her mobile phone camera. Kayla Echevvaria, the girl behind the recording, was subsequently suspended for making the fight public. Her mother believes the video served as an embarrassment to the school, which prompted the suspension.

“I tried to explain to [an administrator] there were more people than me just recording the fight and taking pictures, but she basically said it didn’t matter because mine was the only one that made it to the news,” the girl said.

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