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Three Calabasas middle school students arrested in 'ginger attacks'

November 30, 2009 |  9:34 am

Three boys have been arrested in connection with the so-called "ginger attacks," instigated by a Facebook message, in which at least seven red-haired children were beaten up at a Calabasas middle school, a sheriff's spokesman said this morning.

Two 12-year-old students at A.E. Wright Middle School were arrested on suspicion of battery on school property, and a 13-year-old boy was accused of threatening to inflict injury "by means of electronic communication."

"The charge against the 13-year-old male is commonly referred to as cyber-bullying, something that is occurring way too much," said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

The children were booked Wednesday before being released to the custody of their parents. No court date has been set for their initial appearance at Sylmar Juvenile Hall.

Sheriff’s detectives are continuing to investigate the assaults and have identified eight boys at the school as subjects of the investigation. Authorities believe the attacks were spurred by a Facebook message about “Kick a Ginger Day," inspired by the television show "South Park."

Officials at the school are expected to announce the findings of their own inquiry later today.

Students returning to campus from Thanksgiving break will be attending a “special assembly” this morning on “decision making, the power of words, the importance of kindness, and social responsibility,” the school’s principal wrote Sunday in a message to parents posted on the school's website.

The most serious assault left a 12-year-old boy with cuts and bruises. Other children were pushed, shoved and intimidated, authorities said. Many of the victims came forward after the bizarre attacks received media coverage.

In a satirical 2005 episode of “South Park,” one of the characters claimed that people with red hair, light skin and freckles have no souls and suffer from a disease called "Gingervitis."

-- Victoria Kim, Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton 

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