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School system investigating video of alleged assault by Decatur High students

Decatur

School system investigating video of alleged assault by Decatur High students

The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

City Schools of Decatur is investigating a video that allegedly shows female Decatur High students assaulting a younger Atlanta student.

Decaturish, which first reported on the alleged assault, obtained new details about the incident on Feb. 10 after filing a records request. According to the report, on Sunday, Feb. 7, a person who wishes to remain anonymous visited the Decatur Police Department and informed them she had a video of the incident.

“The complainant advised she had a video of Decatur High School seniors assaulting a young female,” the report says. Police officers said the victim is a 16-year-old female from Atlanta.

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She told the officers the incident occurred on Feb. 6. Police said the incident took place in the 1500 block of Oakview Road. She showed the officers the video on her iPad.

“The video showed three to four females assaulting one female while others watched and recorded,” the report says. “The location appeared to be in a driveway of a residence.”

The incident is still under investigation.

Superintendent David Dude released a statement on the afternoon of Feb. 10, saying, “The district is aware of this incident and is currently investigating. Following the investigation, appropriate action will be taken as needed.”

Dude also suggested that the video may have been staged.

“Unfortunately, a trend has developed over the last several years,” Dude said. “Students throughout the country are videotaping fights – often staged for the sole purpose of videotaping – and distributing them on social media. Administrators at DHS addressed such behaviors earlier this school year. While the incident under investigation may or may not be related to this trend, I do encourage parents to take this opportunity to speak with their children about this trend and physical aggression in general.”

Here is the full statement from the superintendent:

A video of a fight that occurred off school grounds last weekend, and appears to include several DHS students, has been circulating around social media. The district is aware of this incident and is currently investigating. Following the investigation, appropriate action will be taken, as needed.

As mobile technology has become less expensive and more ubiquitous, students are continually finding news ways to leverage these devices–for good and bad. Unfortunately, a trend has developed over the last several years. Students throughout the country are videotaping fights–often staged for the sole purpose of videotaping–and distributing them on social media. Administrators at DHS addressed such behaviors earlier this school year.

While the incident under investigation may or may not be related to this trend, I do encourage parents to take this opportunity to speak with their children about this trend and physical aggression in general. Students who find themselves encountering situations or feelings they are unsure how to handle are encouraged to reach out to a trusted adult–parents, counselors, teachers, coaches, clergy, etc.–for assistance and advice.

Student safety is a top priority for the school district. Parent and community support helping our students learn appropriate behaviors is essential to our success in keeping our children safe.

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