Controversy grows over an alleged case of bullying at a Coppell school.
Lawyers for the families of the two college students involved in the incident are sharing their stories as the school district investigates the encounter seen in a video posted to social media.
The incident happened during lunch at Coppell Middle School North on May 11.
In the video, a student sitting at a table is seen getting his head banged by another student.
“It was horrible. I couldn’t sleep for three nights in a row. I felt like I was suffocated. I cried several times watching it,” said Sonika Kukreja, mum of the pupil put in the headlock.
The video is now part of a school investigation.
Parents Sonika Kukreja and Kamlesh Pritmani say it was their son who was punished the most severely by the school: three days of suspension at school against one day for the other student.
“I am deeply concerned about the safety of our children and the message that our school board, our police department, is sending by not taking action on this,” Kukreja said.
More than 150,000 people have signed an online petition in support of their son.
“We need fair treatment for every child and we need this bullying to stop,” Pritmani said.
In an email to parents, Coppell ISD 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 an 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 says the incident is being investigated and being handled by the school and district in accordance with CISD’s student code of conduct.
Mark Lassiter, the other student’s family attorney, told NBC 5 the student was responding to vulgar and violent threats against his family.
The statement reads, in part, “We are confident that once all of the facts come to light, the matter will be closed and no further action will be taken other than what the school has already decided was appropriate.”
Marwa Elbially, the lawyer for the Pritmani family, denies the charges and says the violence should never have happened.
“The school can preach anything they want to be anti-bullying and put it on their website, but they send a message to that child and the rest of the student body that this behavior is okay,” said Elbially.