MCMS students battered by group of teenagers

No new leads, suspects in juvenile misdemeanor assault case

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MCMS students battered by group of teenagers

MCMS students gathera t lunch. Two MCMS students were assaulted near campus while walking home after school.

MCMS students gathera t lunch. Two MCMS students were assaulted near campus while walking home after school.

Katya Kiseleva/Talon

MCMS students gathera t lunch. Two MCMS students were assaulted near campus while walking home after school.

Katya Kiseleva/Talon

Katya Kiseleva/Talon

MCMS students gathera t lunch. Two MCMS students were assaulted near campus while walking home after school.

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Two female Medea Creek Middle School students, both 12 years old, were attacked Feb. 6 by a group of five or six teenagers between the ages of 13-16 near the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“[The attackers] immediately started just calling [the victims] names, calling them lesbians because they had short hair,” the mother of one of the girls said in an ABC7 report. “The boys approached each of the girls and pushed them down on the ground [and] started hitting them.”

According to the mother, the perpetrators called the girls “lesbian b—–es.”

“As a result of being battered, the juveniles suffered minor injuries,” the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a press release.

Although some homophobic remarks were used, the VC Sheriff’s Office said that this incident did not meet the requirements for a hate crime.

“Our investigation has found no evidence or information to date that would lead us to believe the incident was motivated by hate,” the VC Sheriff’s Office wrote.
Medea Creek Middle School Principal Brad Benioff explained that the Sheriff’s office is responsible for determining if a crime was committed.

“I cannot comment on any specifics, but even though some hateful language and slurs were stated, they [VC Sheriff’s Office] determined that there was some mutual escalation between both parties, not a specifically targeted incident,” Benioff wrote to the Talon. “The sheriff determined that this would be a misdemeanor assault crime.”

According to Benioff, incidents where students use hateful language have become more common at the middle school.

“We have definitely seen an increase in the usage of hateful language used between students. Racial, ethnic, religious, gender and sexual slurs have become commonplace in students’ language,” Benioff wrote. “Most of the time students say ‘It was a joke’ or ‘I was quoting a meme.’ What is put out in society (particularly digital society) is often that this language is ‘funny.’ We keep trying to educate our students that nothing is funny if it is at the expense of someone else and offensive.”

The Oak Park Unified School District aims to prevent any similar showing of intolerance or fighting in the future.

“We are also responsible to educate and work towards prevention. This is why we have had many programs, from our WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) program, our tolerance units in humanities classes, PE class administrator talks, counselor meetings with classes, reporting systems like Medea Report It, ASB events like the ‘hands’ affirmations (every student given a positive message), and assembly programs like the 8th grade ‘Someone Like Me,’” Benioff wrote.

The assault would result in suspensions for the perpetrators, should they be found to be students within OPUSD.

“We often work with the families to have an educational component to the discipline; for example, we have had in the past some anti-Semitic comments made by students and, along with their discipline, they had to attend the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and do reflection assignments,” Benioff wrote. “Discipline is not a ‘one size fits all’; we take in all factors and address them within our policies, but also to make sure we are effective to the individual student involved.”

The identity of the group of students is still unknown, but Oak Park High School’s counselor and School Safety Ambassadors leader Randall McLelland said that he believes they were not MCMS students.

“If they were Medea Creek students, and the victims were Medea Creek students, the question is wouldn’t they have known them? Wouldn’t they have identified them?” McLelland said. “Because they haven’t been able to, it that brings up a real possibility that they weren’t Medea Creek students, they were Oak Park High School students or students from other schools in the area.”

The general message from both the middle school and high school is “if you see something, say something.”

“If [you] hear anything or know anything, feel free to share it, we’ll maintain [your] anonymity,” McLelland said. “On the Oak Park homepage there’s an app called ‘Report It’ where they can report things anonymously. I know Medea Creek has one of those as well.”

MCMS seventh grader Rachel Rabinowitz said she believes the school could be doing a better job with dealing with such incidents.

“It isn’t the school’s fault that the incident happened, but they never talk about these types of things,” Rabinowitz wrote to the Talon. “They should have talked about what happened because it could have happened to other students too. I just don’t want anyone else getting hurt.”

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About the Writers
Kellen Beckett, Art Director

Kellen Beckett is a junior at Oak Park High School. He is currently the 2018-19 Art Director.

Katya Kiseleva, News Editor

Katya Kiseleva is a senior at Oak Park High School. She is currently one of the 2018-19 News Editors.

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