HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Reports that a Huntington Beach High School student who intervened in the campus beating of a visually impaired classmate had been suspended were not accurate, school officials said Friday.
Nearly 43,000 people had signed an online petition as of Friday afternoon in support of Cody Pine, who was captured on cell phone video of the fight that has gone viral.
The petitioners were upset about reports the teen was suspended, but school officials announced he had not been disciplined.
Erroneous reports had also circulated that Pine had been kicked off the school football team, but he actually left the squad last spring and was not on this year's roster, according to Huntington Beach Union High School District spokeswoman Alyssa Griffiths.
While it's the school district's policy not to discuss student discipline, officials deviated from that police in this case after being granted permission from Pine's parents, said Griffiths.
In the video, a student who is reportedly blind was being slapped around and punched by one student as several people looked on. Out of frame, another student comes up and gives the alleged bully a roundhouse punch knocking him to the ground and almost unconscious. As the bully's friends start to confront the student perceived as the blind guy's savior, he yells at the attacker, motionless on the ground, "Trying to [expletive] jump a blind kid, bro!"
And then he yells at the alleged attacker's friends, "He's punching a [expletive] blind kid, bro!"
As he walks away holding the victim, the hero turns one final time and says, "I swear to God, if you [expletive, expletive] with this kid again, I will [expletive] you up!"
School resource officers, detectives and school officials were involved in the investigation, police said.
District Supt. Greg Plutko issued a statement Friday saying the "school community is disappointed and discouraged by the recent bullying behavior" captured on the video.
"We are proud of our quality high schools, and this incident does not reflect the school climates that have been built by our students, teachers, staff, and families," said Plutko. "Behaviors like this will never be tolerated, as safety and wellness must serve at the center of student success."
Students told KCAL9's Michele Gile the visually impaired student was attacked for no reason.
"I saw like a half circle around a group of kids," said student Grant Morel, "and I wanted to see what was up. And I see this kid like getting wailed on by another kid. And I got kinda mad and was ran over there and I was going to go break it up, but then my step-brother Cody like pushed me inside."
The junior who hit the alleged bully is being called a hero by many of his classmates and just about everyone on social media.
Maya Jensen told Gile she was thankful the unidentified junior stepped up. He was also protecting a student who is a friend of hers.
"A lot of people are calling him a hero," she said, "And I would as well. For stepping in when no one else did and decide to just film it instead."
Thursday evening, Huntington Beach Police announced an arrest of the alleged bully.
They wrote in a statement, "The victim and suspect know each other and have a history of not getting along. Yesterday the victim walked past the suspect and they got into an argument. At that time, the suspect punched the victim several times and that is when the third student intervened and struck the suspect to prevent any further attack on the victim."
The suspect "has been arrested for misdemeanor battery and released back to his parents." Police added, "we do not anticipate any arrest being made on the victim or the 3rd intervening student."
Anyone with any information or additional video of this incident was urged to call Huntington Beach Police at (714) 375-5066.
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