Parents and residents point to culture problem at Knox HS

Published: Aug. 30, 2019 at 5:19 PM EDT
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There are new developments in a story 16 News Now first brought viewers Thursday about a vicious attack at Knox High School.

On Friday, we spoke with the mother of the child seen kicking and punching another student in the head on a video captured in a Knox High School classroom.

The family says their son just snapped after being bullied over his race. The two students seen in the fight were bickering with one another over a girl before things got violent, according to the attacker’s mother.

The family and others in Knox said they feel the culture at the high school needs to change.

"Bullying, racism, and I mean that, the racism is really out of control,” said Jennifer Sanchez, the boy's mother.

She doesn't condone what her son did but said it is the culture at the school that is the problem.

"The kids are allowed to do, say whatever they want, and there's no consequences at all," Sanchez said.

Her son got a 10-day suspension and is looking at expulsion.

"Maybe that would stop this stuff from happening if you get the police involved and they get punishment, not just a slap on the wrist. Ten days, yippee, they love that,” said Shiela Godsey, who lives in Starke County

Sanchez says kids are being pushed too far.

"The bullying is very bad at the high school, and they do not stop the kids that just keep coming,” Sanchez said. "Holding people's locker doors shut, getting in people's faces or throwing their book bag, those people don't get in trouble."

Brian Bodo switched to home school because of his experience at the high school.

"Just a lot of bullying, a lot of bullying over there, and a lot of racism that goes on over there. A lot of people smoke weed in the bathrooms, and I wasn't crazy about that,” Bodo says.

"I think they need to reevaluate their disciplinary practices at the high school" Rebecca Risner said. "I've heard stories about stuff at the high school going on. Actually, I have a friend of ours who has a child that goes to the high school and has dealt with problems, and the teachers don't do anything about it.”

One Starke County resident says the video of the brutal attack says it all.

"Nobody intervened, but they managed to take this video. The kid got the heck beat out of him, and the teacher didn't show up, the resource officer didn't show up, none of the students intervened,” Claudia Thomas said.

Superintendent William Reichhart declined an interview Thursday and Friday but did provide a statement on the attack Thursday afternoon by email:

In response to several media inquiries, Knox High School experienced a physical altercation between two students yesterday. As a result, the School Resource Officer and school administrators investigated the incident and student discipline was administered according to our school handbook policies. A police report was filed and it will be up to legal authorities to decide what further action is warranted. No further comments will be provided.