Monday, April 30, 2007

Attack on Teen Not Racial, Officals Say..The parents of boy Assaulted by three others at highland school are seeking compensation..

Attack on teen not racial, officials say
The parents of the boy assaulted by three others at Highland school are seeking compensation.
By Sara Lin, Times Staff Writer
April 28, 2007

San Bernardino County sheriff's officials investigating the assault of a 13-year-old mixed-race boy by three of his classmates in a schoolyard last month in Highland did not find evidence that the attack was racially motivated, officials said.

The boy's parents had accused the three St. Adelaide Elementary School seventh-graders of looping a rope around their son's neck and hurling racial epithets and basketballs at him during morning recess March 12.

The boy's family didn't know that racial slurs were uttered until one of the offending kids admitted it to the principal, said the boy's father, James Gill, 41.

"We never even brought up the racial aspect. Our son didn't tell us; he was embarrassed," Gill said. He described the attackers as white and Hispanic.

Gill's wife, DeVondra, then lodged a complaint about the alleged hate crime with the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. The three boys — two 12-year-olds and a 13-year-old — were cited for misdemeanor battery, said Jodi Miller, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

But a sheriff's investigation didn't find evidence supporting allegations that the incident was racially motivated, said Father Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the Diocese of San Bernardino, which oversees St. Adelaide. A sheriff's spokeswoman had confirmed that conclusion earlier this week, according to the San Bernardino Sun, but Miller declined to discuss the matter Friday.

"This incident involves four seventh-grade boys ages 12 and 13 who have played together and been friends since kindergarten," Lincoln said. "Exactly what behavior occurred we don't know, and we rely on the sheriff's report, which we understand did not find evidence of a hate crime or racial epithets."

School officials seemed perplexed that the boy's parents were continuing to portray the incident as a hate crime.

The family reported the attack to school administrators the day after it happened. A school letter that had been approved by the victim's family was sent out to parents explaining the incident, Lincoln said. The boys who were implicated were told to visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, research the history of discrimination and present a report to their class, he said. After an investigation, the school principal told the Gills that the boys received detention.

Diocese officials thought the issue had been resolved. But in the last week, church officials received a letter from a lawyer representing the victim's family demanding that the school principal be fired. The letter also instructed the diocese to return tuition already paid and to pay for elementary, high school and college education expenses for the victim and his sister, who still attends the school. The boy who was attacked has withdrawn from the school, Lincoln said.

"The entire school community is disturbed by the degree this incident has been elevated, particularly after it appeared a resolution had been worked out between the parents of the children involved and the school administrators," Lincoln said.

Gill said his family was disappointed with the way the school had treated the incident.

"We're not calling for [the other kids'] expulsions, we're calling for this school to treat it as seriously as it is and to make it right by the school and by our family," he said.

Sheriff's officials have submitted their findings to the San Bernardino County Probation Department's juvenile division, which will make a final decision on whether to press hate crime or other charges against the three boys, Miller said.



BS Ranch Perspective:

I want to say that I am happy that there is one happy thing about this report. That is that they found no evidence that it was a Racially Motivated Hate Crime! I am kind of sick of hearing about how people are not so accepting of other races. I am a person that is married to a person that is considered to be another 'Race'. Now, she is Hispanic, and I am White. My Neighbors are Black, White, Hispanic, and many other races, Yet we come together and make a great network of a Neighborhood Watch. I am happy to say that we were starting to have the Teens and well the start of gangs paint their art work on the walls, & walk ways of our neighborhood, however our neighborhood watch took it in their hands to paint over it, and the problem has not came back because the children that live here mainly know that we are going to erase what they paint. In most cases it is taken down hours after they have painted it on the walls.

The Law Suit is part of America. They should seek payment for the cost of the medical Costs and hardship, that they had to go through to care for the child in this case, that is only right in this case. The Parents in this case might just take a more serious stance on discipline for their children if they have to pay for the Medical, and Care costs, out of their pockets.

So, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I love my neighborhood, and my neighbors. it is a great place to live, Right here. I tell you it is the smack dab in the middle class, & there are some, Like me that don't make very much at all.

Well, I will pray for the children in the School so that they don't have to be reported on in the newspaper. The families need to heal their child and get on with their lives after a brutal fight. I am sorry that this happen to them, and I pray that it doesn't happen again!!

BS Ranch

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