MANATEE — School officials in Manatee have punished two students for their roles in the beating of a 13-year-old boy that was recorded and placed on YouTube.com.
A middle-school student and high school student were re-assigned from their schools to Horizons alternative school Friday, according to Mike McCann, the Manatee County School District’s head of discipline.
McCann declined to say what schools the students attended, but said expulsions will not be sought because the beating took place off school grounds, outside the Lakewood Ranch YMCA.
On Monday, the mother of the victim filed a complaint with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office after the teen reported his beating had been placed on YouTube. The attacked occurred on Sept. 25, during a YMCA 5th Quarter youth program at the agency’s Lakewood Ranch Boulevard branch.
The video shows the victim surrounded by other kids, before one child tackles him into shrubs, while a second teen rains blows down on the victim.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies viewed the video and filed requests with the Manatee State Attorney’s Office for the 13-year-old and 15-year-old who beat the victim to be charged with battery.
YMCA officials told authorities that its young members said the attackers had planned the fight in order to record it. McCann said Friday that an investigation confirmed that the students had planned the fight.
Manatee YMCA executive director Sean Allison said an investigation by his agency revealed the boys who planned the fight were part of a group of teens who created a Web site and placed videos on YouTube, ranging from bicycle-riding stunts to vandalism.
Some of the boys had previously been kicked out of a 5th Quarter event for videotaping members harassing other kids at the event. But it was the planning of the fight that has raised the most concern for school officials. Without punishment, McCann said, there was fear that other students could also fall victim to a staged beating.
“It is the pre-meditated nature that we were most concerned with,” McCann said.
The case is still under investigation as school officials are looking into who recorded the fight.