EUGENE, Ore. — A group of Eugene parents is pushing for harsher punishment against four middle school students, accused of assaulting another student at school.
Police say three seventh graders and one eighth grader at Cal Young Middle School are facing assault charges, and parents of the alleged victim say their punishment at school doesn’t fit the crime.
The alleged victim is a sixth grader, and his parents say he was attacked a week ago today by four older students. They say the boys were suspended for five days and are supposed to be back at school Wednesday.
Lanae and Gregory Bang are fighting back, a week after they say their middle school student was attacked at school.
“I think it’s ridiculous. Unacceptable,” Bang said.
They say their son was playing outside last Tuesday when some kids asked him to grab a football that had flown by.
“He wouldn’t go get the football, so his friend that he was playing with, my son, ran to go get the football and this young man jumped the fence and came after my son,” Bang said.
The Bangs say the violence didn’t stop when their son tried to walk away. They say three students continued to beat and kick him while another strangled him.
“We had to get X-rays because his nose was swollen and there were so many marks right here. We had to have a CAT scan done at the hospital,” Bang said.
While their son was left to recover from his injuries, they say they never heard from the school’s principal about what would happen to the alleged attackers.
“We did gather that it was a five-day suspension and that they would be back tomorrow,” Bang said.
The Bangs and other parents at Cal Young don’t think the punishment fits the crime. So they wrote a four-page letter with an attached petition and delivered it to the school’s principal and the 4J School Board.
“If there’s a criminal process going on and this ultimately results in felony charges, I don’t think a couple days suspension from school is consistent with what actually transpired,” said Cal Young parent Travis Sydow.
“It’s not acceptable to the community. That is what this letter, all these signatures, all these calls, all these emails, this is unacceptable behavior and we aren’t going to put up with it,” Bang said.
They want the school to make a number of changes, including expulsion hearings and more awareness about bullying, so when their son and other kids go to school they know they’ll be safe.
“We need more education, and it needs to be brought to the attention of the students, and it needs to be enforced. There needs to be some teeth to the policy,” Sydow said.
“It’s a lot of stress. I worry when he’s there, if he’s going to be safe,” Bang said.
The petition was delivered Monday with more than 140 signatures. The principal at Cal Young sent a letter to parents Tuesday afternoon saying this type of behavior is very unusual and not acceptable. She says they’re also increasing supervision at the school and they’re talking with students about bullying and harassment in classrooms.