Slap-boxing, the fighting with open hands instead of fists, has hit a middle school in Austin, Texas. A 12-year-old boy at the school did not want to participate in the violence but was told he would be beat-up if he did not. Parents are upset that a school official called it “horseplay.”
The incident was recorded in an Instagram video and posted on social media. The video went viral. The video shows the sixth grader being thrown to the ground and being punched, and he is protecting his head by covering it with his arms. The boy who allegedly started the fight, also posted himself engaging in another fight.
The father told KVUE that he believes his son is not safe in the school if the principle believes this behavior is “horseplay.” The boy’s mother told the local station, “I was really upset for them to classify this as horseplay, especially when kids are video recording it and it’s going viral, and then on top of that, what are the kids going to do to my son the next day? Are they going to beat him up for us going to the school?”
The incident occurred during the lunch period this week. A group of boys asked the middle schooler if he wanted to engage in slap-boxing. When he said “No,” they called him a “chicken” and said they would beat him up if he did not engage in the slap-boxing. His parents told the Austin ABC affiliate their son was bullied into the fighting and the fight went too far. The fight stopped when another boy came into the restroom.
The station reported that the boy and his parents did not want their son’s name, or their last name to be used, because they fear retaliation or ridicule.
The parents say they are moving their son out of Bedichek Middle School in south Austin because they do not believe their son is safe at the school. The sixth grader wants to concentrate on his education and not on worrying whether he is going to be attacked. The boy won a scholarship during fifth grade because of his high academic performance.
KVUE reported that Principal Dan Diehl sent letters home to parents after a student presented school officials with the video. The letter stated, the school “immediately contacted Austin ISD police, who launched an investigation and determined that students had planned the altercation, sneaking out of the cafeteria during lunch to slap-box.”
Officials added, “Bedichek Middle School does not condone this behavior and takes the safety of each student very seriously. To prevent future incidents, new restroom passes were created for student use at lunch, and school staff members who already supervise in the cafeteria will periodically check the restroom.”
KVUE reported that Texas Education Agency records show that 190 students received in-school suspension for fighting, and 1,082 students received out-of-school suspension for fighting, in the Austin ISD.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2