Thousands of people were rallying Friday behind a Huntington Beach High School student who intervened in the campus beating of a visually impaired classmate — and was suspended from school for his efforts.
As of 10 a.m., nearly 28,000 people had signed an online petition in support of Cody Pine, who seen on cell phone video of the fight that has gone viral online.
In the video, one 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.
Cody was not arrested, but supporters said he was suspended from school under a strict zero-tolerance policy against violence.
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 occurred around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, was an isolated incident.
“The school is now responding to this isolated incident by interviewing students and witnesses to determine exactly what happened,” the district said in its statement. “Additionally, the school is working with local authorities to define the appropriate actions necessary once all of the information is collected.
“Huntington Beach High School firmly believes that all students are afforded an opportunity to learn in a safe and secure environment. Because of this, safety is the highest priority,” the statement said. “Huntington Beach High School has a very strong anti-bullying code of conduct and will not condone this type of behavior from any student.”
—City News Service