COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Sumter County deputies are investigating whether charges should be filed against teens seen on a video attacking a fellow student in the bathroom of a middle school.
The video was posted on the Internet shortly after the attack Thursday, then taken down. But the mother of the teen who appears to be assaulted in the video saved it and reposted it to her Facebook page, authorities said Monday.
The 38-second black-and-white clip from the video shows one boy put another boy in a chokehold in a bathroom at Hillcrest Middle School. He then slams the student into the wall and throws him to the floor. Other teens can be heard and seen urging on the attacking boy.
The Sumter County School District and law enforcement have confirmed the video is authentic and all the students involved are in the eighth grade. But authorities said the original video is much longer than the clip posted to YouTube and there is more happening than there first appears.
“We’re trying to determine if this was a staged incident or if both parties were willing participants,” school district spokeswoman Shelly Galloway said.
Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis accompanied his deputies to the middle school Monday to investigate. He said all the children on the video and their parents are cooperating, and he hopes to decide whether to file charges later in the day.
The mother of the boy thrown to the floor in the video held an anti-bullying protest along with her son and about 10 other people outside the school Monday. Yolanda Windham didn’t return a phone message or a message left on Facebook from The Associated Press, but posted on her Facebook page that she will protest again Monday night at the county courthouse.
When she posted the video on Facebook, Windham wrote her 13-year-old son has a disease that weakens his muscles and a steel bar in his chest. She said the attack was planned.
“They even stated that my son agreed to be involved when they were confronted,” Windham wrote. “He was taken advantage of due to his condition.”
The school district said it has a strict anti-bullying response and anyone involved in fighting or bullying will be disciplined.
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