PAYETTE – The Payette Police as well as McCain Middle School Administration is investigating a series of possible assaults, after six 6th graders came forward claiming 7th and 8th graders physically hurt them.
Chief of Police Mark Clark said the eight students formed a gang and have since been suspended. Four of the six victims have pressed battery charges against the older students.
“We take it pretty serious,” said Clark.
He said last Tuesday, McCain Middle school officials reported to Payette authorities that the 6th graders came forward saying they were pushed and punched at the school by a formed gang. The assaults resulted in minor injuries said Clark.
The Payette Police Department notified the public of the incident on their Facebook page, but McCain School Principal Rick Hale also sent out this statement to the media: "Student discipline matters are confidential and privileged. As such we are not able to discuss student issues. The district is following the stated discipline policy. Parents can be assured that the administration at McCain Middle School is taking all necessary steps to ensure student safety. In addition to district measures, local law enforcement is involved. Investigations are ongoing.”
However parents told KTVB Monday, that something more needs to be done.
Ernie Gentry has a 12-year-old student enrolled in 6th grade at McCain Middle School and was a victim of the gang assaults.
“Some kids got him out in the football field and stepped on his feet and one on his hand and then they started kicking him and bruised his legs up and kicked him in the head,” said Gentry.
He said his son is afraid to go to school because of what is now being threatened to the victims from the alleged assailants.
“He said, that if he found out who told that he would kill whoever told him,” said Gentry.
Kelly Jones also has two daughters that also attend McCain middle school.
“I don’t think this was a criminalist act. I just think they did it for something to do,” she said.
Jones said her daughters have not had any problems with bullies and believes the school administration is taking this issue seriously. She believes the eight students who formed the gang just made a poor choice.
“They are kids. Just because they had one weak moment doesn't mean that they need to be ousted by the whole community. I really don't think that,” Jones said.
Payette Police Chief Clark said the suspended students will face the school board to determine if their actions will result in expulsion. Clark also said battery charges are pending.