UPDATE 5:21 p.m. ET: Huntington Beach High School released a statement Friday afternoon saying that the student who intervened in the altercation has not been suspended over the past two days.
"He has been eligible to attend school with all privileges both Thursday and Friday of this week, and this eligibility will continue," the statement read, adding that the family of the student gave the school permission to release the information.
The online petition — which has now drawn over 41,000 signatures — was still active late Friday afternoon.
UPDATE 1:34 p.m. ET: The new headline of the petition — which has now drawn over 27,500 signatures — is "Don't Suspend Cody Pines After Defending a Blind Classmate Against a Bully!"
There's also no longer a reference to the school's football team in the petition.
UPDATE 1:16 p.m. ET: A Huntington Beach High School spokeswoman on Friday wouldn't comment to TheBlaze if the student who intervened in the altercation was suspended from school, but she said he wasn't kicked off the football team.
"He was not on this year's roster, as he stopped playing last spring," Public Information Coordinator Alyssa Griffiths said.
She added that the school can't discuss any discipline regarding any of the three students in the video "in accordance with education code and a personal support to our families."
Original story below
An online petition is rapidly filling with signatures Friday to reinstate a Southern California high school student reportedly suspended from school and kicked off the football team because he physically defended a visually impaired student who was being punched in the face.
The petition, "Get Cody Pine Back on the Football Team After Defending a Blind Classmate Against a Bully!" has drawn more than 12,500 signatures.
"We believe Cody should be back on his [football] team and back in school where he belongs," the petition read. "While violence is never the best option, what Cody did to defend his friend and classmate was justified."
The incident at Huntington Beach High School was caught on video during lunch Wednesday, KCAL-TV reported, and has since gone viral.
The clip began with one student throwing punches at another boy's face:
Then suddenly the aggressor was smashed to the ground by another student:
"Are you OK, Austin?" the rescuer asked the boy who was being punched and then led him away. "Alright, come here."
The student who intervened then quickly returned to the scene, bent down and queried the dazed aggressor, now bleeding from under his wool cap: "Trying to f***ing jump a blind kid, bro?"
Another student got involved, asking the rescuing student, "What's your problem? Get the f*** away from him."
But that wasn't going to fly: "He's punching a f***ing blind kid, bro. What the f*** is your problem?"
As a pair of students helped the aggressor to his feet and led him away, the rescuing student was heard issuing a warning.
"I swear to God, if you f***ing f*** with this kid again, I will f*** you up," he said.
Here's the clip. (Content warning: Profanity):
Huntington Beach Police announced the arrest of the alleged bully, KCAL reported: “The victim and suspect know each other and have a history of not getting along. Yesterday the victim walked past the suspect, and they got into an argument. At that time, the suspect punched the victim several times, and that is when the third student intervened and struck the suspect to prevent any further attack on the victim.”
The suspect “has been arrested for misdemeanor battery and released back to his parents,” police said.
As for the student who intervened, police said they "do not anticipate any arrest being made on the victim or the 3rd intervening student," KCAL reported.
“The student who stepped in, his actions were reasonable,” Officer Jennifer Marlatt told KNBC-TV.
A representative from the high school didn't immediately return a message Friday from TheBlaze requesting confirmation on the intervening student's reported suspension from school and dismissal from the football team.
The school issued a statement Thursday saying officials were investigating: "The school is now responding to this isolated incident by interviewing students and witnesses to determine exactly what happened. Additionally, the school is working with local authorities to define the appropriate actions necessary once all of the information is collected."
The statement added that "Huntington Beach High School has a very strong anti-bullying code of conduct and will not condone this type of behavior from any student."
Students, however, seemed to agree the actions of the student who stepped in were justified.
“A lot of people have called him a hero,” Maya Jensen told KCAL. “I personally would, as well, for stepping in when no one else did and decided to just film it instead.”
But the brother of the alleged bully sees it differently, telling KNBC his brother was being taunted and was the victim.
"This so-called hero, he comes up and punches him in the back of the head," the brother told KNBC. "Pretty wrong, if you ask me. He could've killed him."
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