In a disturbing story this week out of Washington, D.C., a parent punched a 7-year-old student in the school hallway, and before casually walking away. A school surveillance video captured the act, which appeared to come out of nowhere. Now, the child's mother is rightfully upset, and hoping that the police will take action.
Update: In a statement to Romper, a spokesman for the KIPP DC Spring Academy wrote: "We have turned over all surveillance footage to the Metropolitan Police Department since they are handling the case. Because this is an ongoing investigation, KIPP DC cannot share any additional video or information about the situation – however, [a ...] letter (also our official statement) ... went home to parents at the school last week informing them of the incident and outlining the steps KIPP DC took to immediately address the situation.
"School officials immediately notified the police and the mother of the child involved the incident. The child was brought to the nurse and found to be OK. The parent involved in the altercation has been prohibited from entering the building pending investigation by police."
The incident occurred last week at the KIPP DC Spring Academy. The story has been gaining traction since, even as it's still unclear what will happen in terms of punishment for a man who found it acceptable behavior to punch a child. The school did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
In the surveillance video, which is available to the public (albeit disturbing to watch), a man walks down a school hallway, while a child dances across his path. The man pauses for a moment, then punches the boy in the stomach. The boy doubles over and falls to the ground in pain, while the man simply walks away. It all seems heartless, scary, and totally baffling.
The boy, 7-year-old John Mclean, spoke to CNN affiliate WJLA, saying, "It made my stomach real painful." He told his mother about the incident after it happened, and she requested the videotape from the school.
The man who punched John is allegedly a parent at the school, and John's mother, Lena Mclean, had interacted with him in positive ways in the past. But now, any sort of positivity between them is over. She told CNN,
You watched my son on that ground and you didn't do nothing ... and all you could say to me is you were playing... You don't bully a child, you don't torment a child. I wouldn't do that to you. I wouldn't do that to none of your kids. I'll feel much better when he is locked up.
It's not clear, though, whether or not he ever will be locked up, although at least the police are investigating him after a police report was filed.
In the meantime, the school sent a letter to parents, saying,
The health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff remains our number one priority and we will continue to work closely with the police to ensure that students and staff are safe at school.
Still, Mclean told CNN that "a lot more should have been handled differently."
Best wishes to 7-year-old John as he recovers from this unsettling incident, and here's hoping that the school and the police are able to take proper steps to prevent such random and disturbing violence from happening again.