A Texas middle school has drawn criticism for failing to take disciplinary action against a bully who was caught on video choking an Indian-American student in an alleged bullying incident that has gone viral on social media.
The alleged incident took place during lunch at Coppell Middle School North on May 11 in Coppell, Texas. The school has since launched an investigation into the video.
In the clip, the Indian-American student, identified as Shaan Pritmani, is seen seated at a table as another white student urges him to vacate his seat.
"Get the f*ck out," the white student, who identity has not been released, says to Pritmani, who refuses to give in to his demands. "No, I'm not getting up. There's literally nobody sitting here," Pritmani is heard saying. The white student then places Pritmani in a chokehold in an attempt to remove him from his seat. Watch the video below:
School Gives Victim Harsher Punishment, Claims it was His Fault
"It was horrible. I couldn't sleep for three nights straight. It felt like I was being choked. I cried many times watching it," said Sonika Kukreja, mother of the alleged victim, in a statement to NBC 5. Kukreja added that the school handed down a harsher punishment to their son claiming it was his fault by suspending him for three days while the other student only received a one-day suspension.
She even started an online Change.org petition demanding the school to take strict action against the alleged aggressor, who she claims is on the school's wrestling team.
In the petition, which has garnered close to 200,000 signatures, Kukreja says they despite providing the video evidence to school authorities they refused "to file a citation because school administration asked it not be written, as there have been too many bullying complaints lately." The police also refused to file a complaint.
"Shaan's aggressor in the video is on the wrestling team and can be seen carrying out a very dangerous carotid restraint on Shaan's neck," the petition's description read. "This technique restricts blood flow to a person's brain by compressing the sides of the neck where the carotid arteries are located. Shaan appears to briefly lose consciousness at the end of the neck choke maneuver."
According to a Twitter user, the aggressor's father, Sam Wellington, ran for the Coppell school board and used his connections to get his son out of trouble.
School Sends Out Email to Parents
In an email to parents, Coppell ISD's Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt said in part, "Coppell ISD is aware of a video circulating on social media showing an incident at Coppell Middle School North involving a physical altercation between two students. Bullying, both verbal and physical, as well as physical acts of aggression are never acceptable and do not align with who we are at CISD and our core values."
The email said the incident is being investigated and addressed by the school and the district according to the CISD Student Code of Conduct.
Student's Lawyer Claims He was Responding to Threats Against His Family
Mark Lassiter, the attorney for the family of the other student, told NBC 5 the student was not at fault and was only responding to vulgar and violent threats against his family. "We are confident that after all the facts are revealed, the case will be closed and no further action will be taken other than what the school has already decided was appropriate," Lassiter said in a statement.
Marwa Elbially, the attorney for the Pritmani family, denies the accusations and says the violence should never have happened. "The school can preach all it wants that they're antibullying and place it on their website, but they are sending a message to this kid and the rest of the student body that this behavior is acceptable," said Elbially.
Additional footage released by popular TikToker @thatdaneshguy shows the white student bullying Pritmani in the moments leading up to the altercation.