Students involved in viral Discovery bathroom fight facing charges
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—Police announced on Thursday that the student who they say hit another student and the student who recorded the viral bathroom fight at Discovery Middle School on April 8 have both been detained and are now facing what would be felony-level charges as adults.
In a press conference at the St. Joseph County Jail on Thursday, police said that both 14-year-olds are being detained at the Juvenile Justice Center.
Police said they viewed one student hit another student 11 times. That student is being charged as a juvenile with battery resulting in bodily injury.
A second student who recorded the fight, which was shared widely on social media in the days following the fight, is also being charged as a juvenile with battery resulting in a bodily injury.
According to police, the student who was hit during the fight was seriously injured, sustained a concussion and may need surgery in the future to repair damage to his sinus cavity and nose. The injured student missed school as a result of the fight.
Police hope that parents in the community will use the incident at Discovery as an opportunity to speak with their children about the importance of not encouraging others to commit crimes.
“One, you can’t do this. I think we all understand that but just as importantly, you can’t help another person or encourage another person to commit those crimes," St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said during the press conference.
Discovery Middle School Principal Sheryll Harper sent the following letter to parents on Thursday following the press conference.
Dear Discovery Families,
This is to notify you that this morning St. Joseph County Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter held a news conference announcing that the two juveniles involved in the April 8 bathroom assault on another Discovery student were detained overnight and are currently being housed at the Juvenile Justice Center.
Prosecutor Cotter stated that both juveniles involved in the assault are being charged with battery causing serious bodily injury. The juveniles charged are the alleged aggressor and the juvenile that allegedly video recorded the assault, and whom police say can be heard in the video encouraging the attack. Prosecutor Cotter explained that this would be a Level 5 Felony if the juveniles were being charged as adults. He stated that for juveniles these are called delinquency actions, actions that would otherwise be a felony or a crime if the offenders were adults.
Mr. Cotter and St. Joseph County Police investigators made the very clear point that the reason why both juveniles are being held accountable for their actions is because it is a crime to not only attack someone and severely injure them, but it is also an equal crime to participate in the act by encouraging it.
As shared in this press conference by the County Prosecutor, please have the conversation with your children the critical importance of notifying an adult immediately when they hear of something about to take place or are witness to an incident that threatens the safety of our school and other students.
Besides notifying a school administrator or staff member, P-H-M also utilizes the Safe School Helpline® as another way to report student safety concerns. It is confidential and is available 24/7 via phone, text or online:
Safe School Helpline®
Call: 1-800-418-6423, ext. 359
Text: TIPS to 66746
The reports are received right away 24/7 by school and District administrators.
We have cooperated with St. Joseph County Police and the Prosecutor’s Office in their investigation to help ensure the physical and psychological safety of our school. Our investigation into this incident continues and violations of the Penn-Harris-Madison Middle School Student Handbook will be dealt with using the full scope of disciplinary measures as outlined in the Student Handbook on page 22.
As always, I’m available to discuss cares and concerns that students and/or parents may have. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sherryll Harper, Principal
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation