High school students speak: Viral video of beating isn't worth the attention

Sonoma residents, high school students and alumni are saying the viral video of a beating at school isn't a fair reflection of their community and not worth the attention.
Sonoma Valley Unified School District reacted Wednesday to a Facebook posting of a girl beating a boy outdoors on the campus of Sonoma Valley High School on Thursday.
Some Sonoma residents, high school students and alumni say the video isn’t worth all the social media attention it’s getting.
The 44-second video posted Saturday by Kit Dale, world pro Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, has been viewed more than 13 million times and has nearly 13,000 likes and 89,000 shares as of mid-morning today.


Posted by Kit Dale on Sunday, February 14, 2016


It shows a girl who appears to push or throw a boy to the ground, kicking and kneeing him in the head for about 10 seconds.

The girl then runs from the scene and across a street as a woman, presumably a school staff member, shouts, "Get that girl right now. Who is that girl, get her."

The incident happened in front of a crowd of students during a student lunch break. The girl is a student of Creekside High School, an alternative high school, and the boy is a Sonoma Valley High School student,
school officials said in a statement.

School district officials said administrators from the two schools "immediately took appropriate disciplinary action," but did not say what action was taken.

Loyal Carlon, the school district's director of human resources, said the district is prohibited under the state's education code from disclosing the identities of the two students and the subsequent disciplinary actions against them, but students say the girl was suspended and that the boy didn't sustain any serious injuries. 

“He’s doing perfectly normal and fine. He was playing baseball with his friends and they weren’t saying anything mean to him,” said one Sonoma Valley student who declined to give his name.

The school district posted a letter for parents Tuesday about the incident, subsequent media posts and its disciplinary policies and procedures, and the district has received a supportive feedback in response,
Carlon said.

"They were supportive of the administration and saw this as an isolated incident," Carlon said.

The district also addressed the response to the viral video on Facebook.

"The video went viral and comments were posted about the incident containing inaccurate information and by persons not having first hand knowledge or factual information about the event. Regrettably, many of the postings condoned the violent actions shown on the video," the district said.

Facebook refused the school district's request to remove the video because of its violent content and because minors are recognizable in the video.

Facebook said the video did not "violate its community standards," according to the district.   

“There’s a lot of good things happening here and I don’t think that a video like this is a good interpretation of the whole school,” said Luke Boerum, an alumnus from the school.

Sonoma Valley Unified School District issued the following statement:

“Our district continues to deal with student safety and the challenging impact social media has within our school community.” 

There are 1,400 students at Sonoma Valley High School and 45-55 at Creekside High School at the north end of the campus, Carlon said.

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