2 elementary school students suspended after News 4 discovers fight online

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 30 at 7:28 AM

(KMOV) -- Two elementary students are now suspended after a News 4 investigation uncovered a shocking YouTube video of a fifth-grader being beaten to the ground by a fourth-grader in the Jennings School District.

Now, we’ve learned district officials weren’t telling News 4 the full story when we first reported it on Friday.

“The school district indicated that they informed police and an investigation began Thursday afternoon, is that true?” asked News 4 Reporter Lauren Trager.

“No, that’s not true,” said Lt. Randy Vaughn with St. Louis County Police.

The YouTube video of the beat down was posted in March.

In a letter sent home to parents Monday, administrators here at Northview Elementary repeated what they told us, that they didn’t know a thing about it until last Thursday. 

Still, we had to check their facts to make sure they were doing all they can to keep kids safe.

“The principal became aware of the incident Thursday evening and she immediately contacted St. Louis Police,” said Johnny Little, over the phone. That was Friday. But once police told her that wasn’t true, Trager put district officials’ feet to the fire.

“The investigation was not initiated as you said to me on Friday, it was not initiated Thursday, it was initiated so why were you dishonest about that,” asked Trager. 

“No, no, not necessarily, I don’t have a reason to be dishonest,” Little said. 

Turns out, spokesperson Johnny Little said, the principal did tell a police officer, an off-duty school resource officer at Northview, who didn’t do anything Thursday.

An investigation into the video didn’t actually begin until News 4 started asking questions Friday.

In the video, taken off school grounds, one girl is seen punching another, over and over, kicking her, and calling her profane names.

Standing in the spot her daughter was beaten; the victim’s mother says the school district tried to silence her from talking to News 4. 

“No, this is a story, my baby got her butt whooped on the ground and something needs to be done,” Loretta Hines said. 

Police told Hines the girl doing the beating got ten days suspension. The girl taking video was suspended five days. The investigation, we are told, is ongoing. 

But Hines told us she wants to make sure the school district doesn’t respond the same way again.

“I think they already knew and they were trying to keep it in until you guys got aware of that YouTube,” she said. 

“There is no cover up from the district,” Little said. 

Little told News 4 they will make sure they communicate possible crimes like this with police in the future. 

 

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