In the wake of a viral video showing a boy seated at a Texas school lunch table being placed in a choke hold, dragged from his chair, and then getting his neck wrenched, parents of the attacked student said Coppell Middle School North determined their son was at fault and that he received harsher discipline than the attacker.
What are the allegations?
The mother of Shaan Pritmani said in a Change.org petition — signed by more than 360,000 people as of Thursday morning — her son was "physically attacked and choked by another student at his middle school" during lunch May 11. The mother, Sonika Kukreja, added that the school said her attacked son "was at fault and received a 3-day" in-school suspension while "the aggressor only received a 1-day ISS."
The petition adds that the victim's friends shared video of the assault and said Shaan "wasn't at fault" — but school officials weren't changing their ruling. In addition, the petition claims the school resource officer "refused to file a citation because school administration asked it not be written, as there have been too many bullying complaints lately."
In addition, the petition states the boy who placed the choke hold on Shaan "is on the wrestling team and can be seen carrying out a very dangerous carotid restraint on Shaan's neck. This technique restricts blood flow to a person's brain by compressing the sides of the neck where the carotid arteries are located. Shaan appears to briefly lose consciousness at the end of the neck choke maneuver."
A WFAA-TV reporter posted the following tweet containing a blurred video of the attack. Content warning: Profanity:
Here's a link to an unblurred clip of the attack.
What else did the mother of the attacked student say?
“It was horrible. I couldn't sleep for three nights straight. It felt like I was being choked. I cried many times watching it,” Kukreja told KXAS-TV.
"His neck could’ve snapped," she added to WFAA-TV. "I wouldn’t have my son."
Image source: KXAS-TV video screenshot
She added to the station that she's "deeply concerned about the safety of our children and the message our school board, our police department, is sending out by not acting on this."
What did the school district have to say?
“Coppell ISD is aware of a video circulating on social media showing an incident at Coppell Middle School North involving a physical altercation between two students," Superintendent Brad Hunt said in an email to parents. "Bullying, both verbal and physical, as well as physical acts of aggression are never acceptable and do not align with who we are at CISD and our core values." The email added that "because of student privacy laws and this being an ongoing investigation, we cannot share any further specifics on this situation or student discipline matters."
What did the attorney for the other student have to say?
Mark Lassiter, attorney for the family of the other student, told KXAS his client was responding to vulgar and violent threats against his family.
“We are confident that after all the facts are revealed, the case will be closed and no further action will be taken other than what the school has already decided was appropriate," Lassiter told KXAS.
In a statement to WFAA, Lassiter said, "We welcome a chance for the truth to come out that the young man who was pulled from the table made threats."
What did the attorney for Shaan's family have to say?
Marwa Elbially, attorney for Shaan's family, told KXAS she denies the accusations and said the attack shouldn't have happened.
“The school can preach all it wants that they're anti-bullying and place it on their website, but they are sending a message to this kid and the rest of the student body that this behavior is acceptable,” Elbially added to KXAS.
Image source: KXAS-TV video screenshot
Elbially added to WFAA that the student who put the choke hold on Shaan "could’ve potentially paralyzed or have killed him. No real action is taken against that kid."