A Huntington Beach High School student who intervened in the campus beating of a visually impaired classmate has not been suspended as earlier was reported online, school officials said Friday.
As of 10 a.m., nearly 28,000 people had signed an online petition in support of Cody Pine, who was seen on cell phone video of the fight that has gone viral online. The petitioners were upset about reports the teen was suspended, but school officials announced he had not been disciplined.
There also were erroneous reports he was kicked off the football team, but he left the squad last spring and was not on this year's roster, according to Alyssa Griffiths, a spokeswoman for the Huntington Beach Union High School District.
It's the school district's policy not to discuss student discipline, but officials deviated from the stance in this case because they were granted permission from his parents, Griffiths said.
In the video, a student is seen beating a teen who suffers from a visual impairment, according to police. A third student, identified by supporters as 17-year-old Cody, intervenes, delivering one punch to the head of the assailant, who falls to the ground.
"You trying to jump a (expletive) blind kid, bro?" Cody says to the assailant. "What the (expletive) is your problem?"
He then warned the other student to not pick on the victim again, according to the footage.
The student who was seen attacking the visually impaired teen was arrested Thursday on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and released to his parents, according to Huntington Beach police. No action was taken against Cody in the criminal matter, police said.
According to an online petition at www.thepetitionsite.com, Cody -- a player on the school's football team -- stepped in when he saw another student being "physically bullied."
"While violence is never the best option, what Cody did to defend his friend and classmate was justified," according to the petition.
Huntington Beach Union High School District issued a statement Thursday saying they believe the fight, which happened about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, was an isolated incident.
District Supt. Greg Plutko issued a statement Friday saying the "school community is disappointed and discouraged by the recent bullying behavior captured on video at Huntington Beach High School.
"We are proud of our quality high schools, and this incident does not reflect the school climates that have been built by our students, teachers, staff, and families. Behaviors like this will never be tolerated, as safety and wellness must serve at the center of student success."
The superintendent emphasized the district "has a strong anti-bullying code of conduct and will not condone such behaviors in our schools."
Starting in their first days of elementary school, "students are taught about the hurtful behaviors of bullying," Plutko said.
"At these moments when actions don't match values, it again encourages us to redouble our teaching efforts on the lessions that make a difference in the lives of our young adults. Bullying behaviors do not have a place in our schools and communities."