ARVIN, Calif. (KERO) — An alleged bullying incident at a local high school was caught on camera resulting in an uproar from fellow students and parents, posting footage of the incident on social media.
The video shows kids at Arvin High School shaving the head of another kid, leaving him with patches of bald spots. He is seen wiping away tears, as the text on the screen says he was pressured into the incident.
Abe Santiago, the mother of the bullied student in the video, would like the school to make it clear with consequences that bullying is unacceptable.
"We want those kids to be punished and to understand that what they did was not right," said Santiago. "They cannot continue to hurt others."
It’s been a devastating experience for Santiago and her son. She tells 23AB that the school apologized for not calling her right away. Santiago and her son’s aunt Flor Santiago say that more needs to be done.
“The parents should see the type of kids they are raising,” said Flor Santiago. “Other times they are telling him things and also hitting him in the stomach, apparently confusing him for someone else. But we both know that you can’t just go up to someone and hit them in the stomach and say ‘I was confused of who it was.’”
Santiago says her son has long hair because he likes it and takes good care of it, and adds the other students did not have permission to do that to her child, relaying that he said he was pressured into it.
Other Kern County parents, like Abby Cortez of Lamont, also spoke out about the incident on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s devastating,” said Cortez. “It made me cry. It made me think, ‘What if it was one of my own kids?’ I don’t know what I would’ve done. It’s hard. I’m still processing it. I’m praying for him, praying for his family, and I am staying strong for them.”
Erin Briscoe-Clark, public information officer and communications manager for the Kern High School District, sent a statement to 23ABC addressing the incident:
Arvin High School administration is aware of a video circulating on social media. The behavior exhibited in the video is clearly unacceptable, and we do not condone bullying of any kinds. When student breach the boundaries of acceptable behavior, they will be held accountable for their actions, and the school will provide support to any affected student. The incident is being thoroughly investigated, and appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.
The district went on to say the incident is under investigation. They say those responsible will be held accountable for their actions, and the school will provide support to any affected student.
Administrators at Arvin High School also responded to the incident, tweeting:
The California Department of Education defines bullying:
- Physical: hitting, kicking, spitting, or pushing.
- Verbal: teasing, threatening, or name-calling.
- Psychological: excluding someone, spreading rumors, or intimidating others.
- Sexual: touching, assault, and exposing oneself to others.