An Oklahoma high schooler accused of beating up a special needs student has been arrested and charged with assault and battery after a witness captured footage (below) on his cell phone.
"One of the students with special needs was being repeatedly punched in one of the bathrooms" on Oct. 4 at Edmond Memorial High School in Edmond, Oklahoma, police spokesperson Jennifer Wagnon told KFOR.
The victim does not fight back in the footage and even gets hit in the back at one point.
"It's not acceptable to treat any student like that," said Randy Decker, chief human resources officer for Edmond Public Schools, according to News OK.
The victim told police that the suspect "just started punching [the victim] in [his] chest and back" before he knew what was going on.
"I was just talking to my friends and one of my friends said: 'Do you want to fight?'" said the victim, who has a neurological disorder and keeps a medical device on his head to alleviate pressure on his brain. "I said: 'No.' But his friends took me into the restroom."
In the video, the suspect encourages the victim to "swing" at him. "That student that was punching him is egging him on to punch him back," Wagnon told KFOR., adding that the video "shows the victim ... actually turning kind of in protection away from the student that's punching him."
At one point, one of the onlookers asks the suspect: "Why do you do him like that?"
The victim's parents are pressing charges.
"The student that we arrested said it started in the cafeteria," said Wagnon. "That the other student had asked him to fight, had wanted to fight. The video does not show that part of it at all."
The suspect said after the altercation that he was sorry, although he also said in a written statement to the school that in his mind, the attack didn't constitute bullying, since he said the victim agreed to fight, notes News OK.
Though Edmond officials did not discuss the path forward regarding disciplining the student, they discussed the incident in a statement that praised the witnesses for coming forward.
"It is students like these that can help reduce further incidents from occurring," said the statement, according to KFOR. "It takes all 28,000 students and staff at EPS to help make the safest environment possible for all students to learn."
Decker said that students coming forward after incidents like these is "exactly what we need to have happening in all of our schools," notes News OK.
Sources: KFOR, News OK / Featured Image: Airman 1st Class Jensen Stidham, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Air Combat Command / Embedded Images: Max Pixel, Pexels