What is going on in schools these days?
A video recorded at Arvin High School in Kern County, California shows school bullies giving a haircut to a special needs boy who cries as he is mocked by the group.
The teenage boy at the Central Valley high school was forced to shave his head and began crying in front of crowd of students.
The kids in the video can be heard using explicit language and telling the boy not to cry in Spanish.
A spokesperson for the High School District gave the following statement to Telemundo Valle Central:
‘Arvin High School administration is aware of a video circulating on social media. The behavior exhibited in the video is clearly unacceptable, and we do not condone bullying of any kind.
When students breach the boundaries of acceptable behavior, they will be held accountable for their actions, and the school will provide support to any affected student. The incident is being thoroughly investigated, and appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.’
The boy’s mother, Avelina Santiago, told the station she wants the bullies involved to face discipline.
Speaking in Spanish at an anti-bullying rally held outside the school on October 21, Avelina told reporters, ‘I’m destroyed.’
‘My boy is a very nice person, he’s very innocent. He just wanted to fit in and make friends. He wanted to be like everyone else,’ she said.
Two of the high school’s employees, including a security guard, have reportedly been placed on leave following the incident.
On Twitter, the high school released another statement to the public:
‘We appreciate your strong emotions and anger toward this incident; the staff at AHS share your feelings.
‘We do not condone these actions and please know we do educate against bullying. Please continue to have discussions with your children about bullying and how we can be better together,’ it read.
Santiago said she, at first, ‘felt alone,’ in her pursuit of accountability for her son.
‘But then I saw all the people who are supporting me.’
She added that her son is now doing well and has been receiving support from his family.
Last Friday morning, the largely Spanish-speaking community gathered at Alvin High School to protest the administration’s response to the incident.
They chanted in English and Spanish, ‘no más bullying’ – no more bullying – outside the school.
Other parents of children at the school were on the scene to share their concern.
Jesus Martinez, who has two children at the school, said the video ‘went viral and everybody is heartbroken, there’s a lot of concern.’
Referring to the other parents in the crowd, he said, ‘We all want to protect our kids. We want to send them to school to learn and not to get beat up.’
Parents shared their concerns that Arvin High ‘condones bullying’ and that the latest viral video was hardly an isolated incident.
Local business owner Abby Cortez said the protest occurred ‘because nothing was being done.’
‘The principal didn’t want to talk to the mom (Santiago) or me, they didn’t want to come out.’
The protest ultimately concluded when the school’s principal did come out and engage with the concerned parents by explaining the investigatory and disciplinary process.
‘They are working on, you know, getting all the students’ (names) from the video. Arvin High School is trying to do their part as of what we know now,’ she added.
Local City Councilmember Daniel Borreli said he was ‘outraged’ after seeing the video and had pledged his help to hold the school accountable.