A video posted to social media of a girl, later identified as a Pleasanton Middle School student, punching and stomping on the head of another student was taken in front of the Pleasanton Public Library on Jan. 19, according to Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci.
"We are currently investigating this incident and working with Pleasanton Unified School officials," Silacci said. "However, due to confidentiality laws protecting juveniles, we cannot provide further details."
PUSD director of communications Patrick Gannon said the student who was assaulted -- also a Pleasanton Middle School student -- was taken to seek medical care but he could not confirm or share the injuries sustained by the student because the incident took place off campus.
Silacci said that in cases such as fights, there could be police and school consequences depending on the student's ages but noted that people under the age of 14 are generally not arrested per California Penal Code.
"The goal of the juvenile justice system is to focus on rehabilitation," Silacci said.
He added that Pleasanton Middle School administrators are also investigating the case as the school has jurisdiction over their students from the time they leave school until they get home. The city library is located across the street from the middle school.
"Pleasanton Middle School administration has been in contact with both families to provide support," Gannon said. "Principal (Joe) Nguyen communicated with the community following the incident in addition to sharing information with students in classrooms to address and educate our zero tolerance for physical altercations and productive ways that the school community can foster a safe and healthy learning environment for all students."
Gannon told the Weekly that while the district can't comment on individual student discipline, they do have administrative regulations on student discipline which includes discussion or conference between school staff, the student and parents; counseling support; and individual educational programs related to restorative justice.
The district can also provide anger management, social and emotional learning programs and after-school programs that address specific behavioral issues.
But Ghezal Beliakoff, who posted the video of the altercation on Nextdoor, told the Weekly that this has been an ongoing issue with a group of students at the middle school and that more needs to be done.
"My daughter is a seventh grader and she's afraid to go to the bathroom at her school because she's afraid that they're going to jump her," Beliakoff said. "She's not the only one. Kids are afraid every day at PMS for their lives. I mean, we live in Pleasanton. These kids should not be afraid (for) their lives, right?"
Beliakoff, who saw the video after her daughter showed it to her, said she pressed for charges after the instigator of the fight was identified so other students would learn that there are consequences to their actions. She said she hopes other students won't stand by and let something like this happen again.
"There's so many aspects of how disturbing this is," she said regarding the video of the altercation. "It's the kids. It's this girl attacking. It's the dozens of kids that are high-fiving, cheering her on, videotaping. It's so disturbing."
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