CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Chesterfield school fight raises questions - WNEM TV 5

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Chesterfield school fight raises questions about no tolerance policy

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

A Chesterfield student claims he was hit first during a fight on school property, and yet he is the one being punished.

15-year-old Malik Shaw was given 10 days suspension and now faces a pending assault charge. The incident happened back in May, but video of the fight has gone viral. 

"He could have bust his head on that cement," said outraged mother Andrea Jackson. "Anything could have happened. No adults were around."

Mom is outraged the video was shared on social media sights like Instagram and Facebook.

"It's a lot for a teenager to deal with," said Jackson. "After being humiliated and it being all over social media."

Jackson says her son has had bullying issues since the beginning of the school year. She claims Thomas Dale High School administrators told her son to turn the other cheek.

"The police officer and the dean of students suggested fall on the ground…get in a fetal position," said Jackson. "And cover your head until help comes."

We asked former state school superintendent Dr. Bill Bosher to explain the actual school policy.

"For someone to say just hunker down and help is on the way is not an acceptable response," said Bosher. "If it's a fight everybody goes home because it's difficult to decide who started it."

Jackson's son, Malik Shaw, says he could not imagine dropping to a fetal position during the altercation.

"I just want them to defend the victims," said Shaw.  "In the middle of a fight…when somebody is hitting you. Just drop to the ground? That's more humiliation."

Jackson wants the school to rethink their no tolerance policy.

"I want them to actually change their policy," said Jackson. "Because they are teaching kids to accept mental and physical abuse. That's why there is so much shooting and suicides in the schools today."

Bosher says he understands the situation.

"My own son said, 'dad when do you not take it anymore?'" recalled Dr. Bosher. "And I said sometimes you just go ahead and defend yourself and just take the consequences. It's more important to do that than it is to have somebody bully you."

Chesterfield Schools released the following statement:

"We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a safe and supportive learning environment that is free from disruption. Students who violate student conduct regulations are subject to suspension and/or expulsion, and, if the offense is a violation of the law, to prosecution.

"To protect students' rights to privacy, the Congress of the United States has enacted the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  This law prohibits school divisions from releasing certain student information, including whether any disciplinary action has been taken, without the express written permission of parents or guardians."

Shawn Smith
Spokesman, Chesterfield Schools

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