Police in Broward County, Florida, have charged five middle school students with hate crimes and battery after they allegedly carried out "racially motivated" assaults on white classmates.
What are the details?
The incidents occurred Wednesday morning at the Coconut Creek Recreation Center near Lyons Creek Middle School, WTVJ-TV reported. The center is a place where children gather before school starts.
While at the community center, five young students between the ages of 11 and 15 reportedly charged four white students ages 11 to 12, shouting phrases such as "it's opposite day" and "brown power" while they punched and kicked the victims.
The outlet said an arrest report stated that the group targeted one student, saying, "He is white," before one of the members "tackled him to the ground." Once he was on the ground, "The group of middle school kids to start hitting him with their hands, feet, and phone chargers," the report added.
Another alleged victim told WTVJ that he was attacked right after he had been dropped off at the center. The group of students allegedly ran over to "jump" him and other classmates. He said they were yelling racial slurs and other phrases that made him believe he was attacked solely for being white.
"After they jumped me, they said, this is, like, revenge for what they did in the 1700s for slavery," the student reportedly said.
WSVN-TV reported that the victims claimed they were beaten with sticks and cable cords, as well.
The five students were each reportedly charged with battery and prejudice while committing battery, which elevates the charges to felonies. Their races have been described as both black and white, most with Hispanic surnames.
Thankfully, there were no serious injuries reported as a result of the attacks.
In a statement, Coconut Creek Police said, "We are disappointed to take law enforcement action in response to a racially-motivated crime by school-aged children within the city of Coconut Creek. This is an extremely rare occurrence in our community, but these are children, and as such, poor judgment can occur."
The school's principal reportedly sent a robocall to parents, informing them of what happened, and Broward County Public Schools put out a statement classifying the attacks as an off-campus incident.
But one of the alleged victim's parents, Frank Foster, told WSVN that he thinks more should have been done to prevent the attack.
"It’s concerning what’s going on in the school and they don’t really seem to be doing much about it. The steps they take don’t really protect the kids," Foster said. "The options are to go to a different school and run away or be in the same school with the same kids again."
Foster noted that his child is "scared to go back to school."
In an interview with WNTJ, he added, "They can't do anything to the other kids because it didn't happen on school property," presumably in reference to the school district.
TheBlaze reached out to Broward County Public Schools seeking clarification on what actions the district plans to take.
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