A recording of a 14-year-old Kent boy being beaten a block from school has sparked outrage in the community as some question whether he was targeted for his religion.
The beating happened Oct. 26 on a sidewalk near Kentridge High School, where both boys are students.
In the clip that was posted on Snapchat, a teenage boy follows behind the victim and suddenly punches him, knocking him to the ground. The victim is punched several more times as he tries to protect his head and crawl away.
The school district said it was investigating after reviewing the recording Monday. Police are also looking into the incident.
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The victim’s father, who declined to be identified, told KIRO-TV he fears his son was targeted because he is of Indian descent and is a Sikh.
“I am feeling so, so bad because this happened with my son,” the father told KIRO. “I don’t want to see this happen again with my son or anyone else. I don’t want to see this.”
School officials said the attack was not religiously or racially motivated, but was instead a continuation of an earlier classroom dispute.
The victim’s parents denied that, saying their son didn’t even know his attacker’s name.
Calls and messages from people in the region and around the country poured in to the Kent School District, expressing outrage about the beating.
Chris Loftis, a district employee, told Q13 the student who attacked the boy and the student who filmed the encounter will be appropriately punished.
He declined to specify how or when they would be disciplined.
A Facebook thread about the incident generated more than 40 comments from parents and community members who said the teen who beat up the boy needs to be held accountable and people everywhere need to stand up to injustice.
“It is time for the parents and the school districts to ensure that the kids have a safe learning environment,” one commenter wrote.
Another said, “I am so sickened by what is happening in our country. I pledge to speak out against any injustice that I witness. I am so sorry for this ‘culture/sickness’ that is brewing. Stay strong and continue to fight back with love and integrity!”
Kent School District claims to be one of the most diverse in the country, with more than 27,000 students who speak 150 languages.
The student’s beating comes six months after a Kent man who follows the Sikh religion was shot in his driveway after being told to “Go back to your own country.”
The 39-year-old victim recovered from a gunshot wound to the arm and told police he did not know the shooter.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653