RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Two New Jersey families have now filed suit against the Ridgewood School District, including students, and the social-media platform Snapchat after a teenage boy was video-taped being brutally beaten on school property.
The violent assault, which left the teen with a shattered skull, occurred on October 27 and again on October 28 on a school sports field.
"For the first week after I saw the video, I couldn’t sleep. The image is just so horrifying,” the father of the student beaten told PIX11 exclusively. He did not want himself or his son to be publicly identified and he did not want video of his son’s beating broadcast. "He’s got several titanium plates and screws to hold his skull and his face together."
He said his son’s face is still numb and swollen from the assault. He’s had reconstructive surgery and he may need a second operation if the wounds don’t heal accordingly.
"In the media I’ve heard this called a fight,” said the family’s attorney, Rosemarie Arnold. "This was not a fight, this was an ambush and a beat down.”
According to the lawsuit and the teen’s father, a bully had been spreading rumors and circulating seductive photos of a female classmate at the high school. The teen beaten allegedly approached this student inside the school library and asked him to stop. In return, the alleged bully ordered a friend on the wrestling team to pummel the teen.
“This poor child was the only one who came forward and said you really need to stop this,” said Arnold. "And because he came forward, like he was taught, he got a beat down.”
The teenage girl and the teen beaten are the two alleged victims who are suing.
PIX11 contacted the Ridgewood Schools Superintendent for comment today. He referred us to earlier public statements published on the district’s website.
One reads: “[We] will use this recent incident to address ‘witness’ behavior as a school community. It is highly unfortunate that the incident - which happened after school hours on district property - resulted in unnecessary and unacceptable violence."
New Jersey passed an anti-bullying bill of rights in 2010 in an effort to combat bullying in public schools.
“There is this whole thing now in high schools now, how they want you to try and intervene,” said Arnold. "They have interviews and they have training materials, but what they don’t do is they don’t teach you how to safely intervene,” said Arnold.
"Frankly, I’m disgusted,” said the boy’s father of the school’s response to the incident.