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Video Sparks Parent Outrage

School District Investigating Altercation at Santa Barbara Junior High

Photo: Paul Wellman Santa Barbara Junior High School

A 10-second video of two Santa Barbara Junior High students hitting and pushing a third described as being a special needs student has been making the rounds on social media. One post was made Thursday night, May 9, by the mother of the alleged victim. “This is a video of my son … who is special needs student [sic] who is an attending 8th grader at #santabarbarajuniorhigh,” reads the post. The mother claims in the post that the student has been a victim of bullying during his time at the junior high. The video has been shared and commented on widely and has more than 15,000 views.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District has contacted parents via the notification platform ParentSquare, alerting them that the incident is under investigation. “We are aware of and responding to two videos showing a physical altercation that occurred between three students after a school event at Santa Barbara Junior High School on Friday, May 3,” said Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. According to the email, Principal Lito Garcia witnessed part of the altercation and “took appropriate action” immediately. Since the May 3 incident, two videos surfaced prompting additional investigation, the first on Monday, May 6, and the second on May 9.

The main video being shared has been “very edited,” said Assistant Superintendent Frann Wageneck and is “a very short segment of a longer story.” Parents of the students involved have been contacted and met with, said Wageneck, and the Santa Barbara Police Department is investigating the incident. Students who witnessed the incident or who have additional information are encouraged to come forward or submit a report through the Stop It app on their school iPads.  

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