A high school student once believed to be an aggresor in a bullying incident has been found innocent.
The student is Kobe Nelson, a freshman at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California. On January 8th, Nelson and another student had a confrontation in the school halls. The other student, a member of the school’s wrestling team, was allegedly upset that Nelson and his ex-girlfriend hung out over winter break. There was some pushing in the halls and both students were reported to school administrators and suspended.
“After school, about 3:30 in the afternoon, I received a phone call from the principal at Kobe's school," Nelson's father, Tommy Purvis, said. "She made it sound like Kobe had been fighting back. ... I told her, if Kobe's been in a fight, and he had been fighting back, I told them to go ahead and suspend him, and do what they had to do."
When Kobe spoke with his father, he insisted he never fought back. On the contrary, he told Purvis that he repeatedly tried to walk away from the situation. After his suspension was filed, a video surfaced of the incident. Kobe’s side of the story was corroborated – he is seen on film actively trying to leave the scene without fighting back.
Here’s the video:
Kobe’s father went to school administrators after seeing the video.
"I go to see the administration on Friday. I have the video at this point," he said. "I went to show (the principal) the video and she shakes her head 'no' and raises her hand in the air, and says 'I don't need to see that; I know what happened.'"
Frustrated by the principal’s lack of interest in finding out what really happened on the day Kobe was bullied, Purvis took his story to the crime blog Photography is not a Crime. After dozens of readers sent school administrators critical emails, Purvis finally had their attention. The deputy superintendent called him on the same day Photography is not a Crime posted their story.
Here’s what deputy superintendent Mat Holton had to say about the incident:
"This bullying incident occurred, it was fairly quick. By the time (school officials) got there, it was over. They talked with both students that were involved. There were conflicting stories. ... They also talked with some other student witnesses and received some information that the threats were mutual -- there were threats coming from both sides prior to the incident.
“Days later, this video appears and the school is able to look at the video and able to see there is clearly an aggressor and clearly a victim. At the beginning of this week, they rescinded (Kobe's) initial discipline.”