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Students accused in Facebook 'ginger' attacks could get counseling, along with their parents [Updated]

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is reviewing whether to charge three Calabasas youths arrested in connection with recent attacks on redheaded students at a middle school.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators Monday morning formally presented the allegations to a juvenile prosecutor, said Shiara Davila-Morales, a district attorney spokeswoman.

The decision whether to file criminal complaints comes after detectives booked two 12-year-old boys on charges of battery on school property and a 13-year-old boy on charges of cyber-bullying -- sending a threat via an electronic communication. 

They were all taken into custody in connection with the attacks apparently spurred by a Facebook site and inspired by an episode of the animated "South Park" television show, "Ginger Kids." [Updated at 9:44 a.m.: A previous version of this post said the episode was titled "Kick-a-Ginger Day."]

Davila-Morales said no decision on whether to file criminal complaints will be made before today.

Steve Whitmore, a Sheriff's Department spokesman, said some of those accused of being involved in the assaults at A.E. Wright Middle School could be put in a diversion program rather than face a formal criminal complaint.

The students could be placed in the District Attorney's Juvenile Offender Intervention Network, which deals with nonviolent, first-time juvenile offenders in an out-of-court setting. Under the program, the juveniles and their parents agree to the terms of a contract acknowledging responsibility for their acts, and they agree to pay restitution, have good school attendance and perform community service.

Parents also agree to attend parenting classes, and all families are referred to group counseling, with the case being monitored for a year.

School officials have identified nine children believed to be responsible for the assaults. Eleven victims have come forward.

All the injuries were minor, officials said.

Samara Kleinfinger, 12, told The Times last week that she and other red-haired students were summoned to the principal's office on Nov. 20. There already had been at least one attack, and administrators, alerted by students to the possibility of more, wanted to warn Samara and others to be careful. Samara said she was punched and kicked by six students on her way to the office.

School officials have given some of the students involved five-day suspensions -- the maximum allowed under state education rules -- and they had already written letters of apology to the victims.

-- Richard Winton

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Comments () | Archives (48)

This is blatantly false reporting. There was no South Park episode called, "Kick a Ginger Day." The reporter is just making that up. There was one episode involving Ginger kids, but the episode aired four years ago and was about the stupidity of racial stereotypes and the need for tolerance. There was nothing about "Kick a Ginger Day" in the episode at all - that was entirely made up by an immature kid who fully deserves the blame. If South Park had never existed, kids like this would still be picking on people.

What's there to think about Mr. D.A.??? Those boys are guilty of bullying and causing bodily injury!!!!!!!!!!! At 13, those "children" are fully mature enough to know right from wrong. The problem is authorities and parents with money get the INCORRIGABLE BRATS off without suffering the consequences of that BRAT'S actions!!!! They never learn to accept responsibility. They and others want to blame someone or something else for the brat's behavior. I just don't understand why a kid would do such a thing, unless they are emulating what they see from their parents!!! Do what they do in Asia, whip the little brat with a cane. I was spanked at school before it was outlawed by the self-righteous and I didn't turn into a beater of others. Sometimes a good whack on the arse will do some kids good and show that the parents are in charge. Once they lose control of their kids, they have lost. Stand up and take responsibility for your BRAT'S actions Parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"district attorney's office", "Sheriff's investigators ", "diversion program", "formal criminal complaint", "Juvenile Offender Intervention Network", "terms of a contract acknowledging responsibility for their acts, and they agree to pay restitution, have good school attendance and perform community service.", "parenting classes, and all families are referred to group counseling, with the case being monitored for a year. "

I am disgusted when I read this story and reflect back on the time I was 12 or so, in junior high school, and when we misbehaved, we were sent to the principal's office for our "diversion". The diversion consisted of a wooden paddle with four holes in it that was swung by the principal (if we were lucky) or the assistant principal, Mr Procko, who had arms like a lumber jack and would bring a tear to your eyes no matter how tough you were.

And guess what? When we got home we got it again from our parents because in those days when we broke the rules, we paid the consequences. Wow. What a concept- responsibility for our actions.

More paddles, less of my opening quotes from your article and I believe one would see a rapid improvement in behavior and civility across the board, pardon the pun.

The time, money and resources spent on this rather ordinary case of bullying is ridiculous.

Pretty red thingies....fish-like...so many pretty red herrings...I think I'll nap now.

The episode was titled "Ginger Kids," not, "Kick a Ginger Day."

"Reviewing whether to charge?" What's to think about? Press charges against them, kick them out of school and make them do home study. Is this what our country has come too? Poor babies commit a hate crime and they only thinking of charging them? And they wonder why some kids suffer from depression and go balisitic from the bullying.
Parent sue now days cause their kids cheat on test and teachers fail them. Kids bully other kids and that's ok too.
A kindergartner hugs a little girl in school and is charged with molester her?
What's wrong with this country....did common sense, reasoning and decents really died?

"Reviewing whether to charge?" What's to review? The committed a hate crime. Expell them from school, and make them home study and let them do some time and commuity service. Like clean up the dog poop at the dog parks.
Amazing parents sue schools when kids cheat on tests and the teachers fail them. A kindergartner was charge with molesting another kindergartner when he hugged her and they are wonder where to charge these kids? No wonder kids now days are suffering from depression and going bolistic is school. They are getting mixed messages of what is right and what is wrong.
I would charge the parents too...any parent that is not watchful of what their kids are viewing is a neglectful of their resonsiblity and that is child abuse.
Did common sense and reasoning go? Did it really died?

I was appalled when I heard this story! I don't think just counseling is going to impress these kids and their parents enough to change their attitudes, or those leaning in this direction. There must be a misdemeanor that can be slapped on them rather than criminal. I also feel like the South Park producers need to rethink their storylines. They are giving foder to those looking for an excuse to bully others. If I had a school age child they would NEVER be allowed to watch the show. Common sense and civility are long gone from what I see on TV and in everyday life.

if i was at that school i would of kicked these crybabies too

Bad parenting. Bad school. Bad teachers. Bad school administration.

AND NOT ONE STUDENT ON THAT ENTIRE CAMPUS CAME FORWARD AND STOOD UP FOR THOSE BULLIED KIDS?!?

There is something seriously wrong at that school.

Forming lynch mobs is as american as apple pie.

So can the red-headed kids who were hit sue the parental units of the bullies for assault? It seems to me that if there's going to be change, you need to get their attention first. All of this counseling and contracts and PC pussy-footing around merely confirms to the bullies that nothing will happen to them, and ditto for their parents. If the parents were sued into bankruptcy you can be sure there'd be a trickle-down effect on their bully brat children. And it would be a longer-term punishment than a one-time paddling.

shame to the parents!
no matter what we say, it all boils down to the parents. if we train our children to be good citizens and to be respectful of others, we won't have any problem of this magnitude.
the parents should join their children in detention and a series of therapy sessions.

"The students could be placed in the District Attorney's Juvenile Offender Intervention Network, which deals with nonviolent, first-time juvenile offenders in an out-of-court setting." I'm sorry - did I miss something, was there something "nonviolent" about these incidents? Because it sounds more like assault and battery to me. Kids are getting reprimanded for the wrong things in most places, like Bonnie pointed out. How backwards to consider counseling, restitution and signing a contract a sufficient sentence for this obvious crime. So it's a first offense - getting away with it will just lead to second offenses, whether they're from Calabasas or Pacoima.

This is definitely a hate crime, even if the perps thought it was "fuuuunnnnny". They should be kicked out of school, prosecuted in juvenile court, then turned over to their parents for home schooling through June 2010. They also need to apologize publicly to the kids they attacked, in front of the student body of the school where this occurred. I think a little hard labor by these brats wouldn't be a bad idea, either. How about each kid being "sentenced" to cleaning the bedroom and backyard of one of the victims?

Enough with the Ginger stuff.

When I was growing up and kids got beat up at school they got detention or, at worst, suspended.

The media coverage on this has been ridiculous.

Forget diversion and intervention programs. Throw the book at these young punks. It was a violent attack, physically and psychologically, and they must learn that all actions have consequences, and a day in juvenile court is the appropriate venue.

Indeed, the grown-up punks behind "South Park", "Family Guy" and other adult cartoons are ultimately responsible for putting the ideas into those boys' heads, and all in the name of satire and so called "cutting-edge" entertainment. But even so, those boys made the choice to "kick a ginger" on their own, and they can't blame Facebook, "South Park's" creators or even their parents for not stopping them.

In the 80's, I was suspended back in junior high for getting into a fight with a student who teased and harrassed me. It seems nowadays that the authorities are more concerned with political correctness, felt needs and disciplinary actions under the influence of Oprah than teaching personal responsibility.

Well, here we go again- unequal justice... Had this been an incident of kids of the Jewish faith being attacked and harmed by miniority kids, the perpetrators would be charged, as by the law. But no; these kids are from a upper white class enclave, and justice is handed out differently there. Remember Hate is Hate!!!
The D.A. and the Sheriff have shown time and time again that justice is not equal and it is not blind in Los Angeles County.
What will it take for these biased people to understand 360 degree fairness. And many wonder why there is so much hostilty in our county today.

David, I like what you said and it is true, but how will the city make any money off of the incident if the children are punished by their parents and a principal?

I'm being sarcastic of course, but it is true. These days everyone has to get involved, meanwhile they attach fines and whatnot to the problem.

For what?

What do the producers, etc. of South Park have to say about THEIR role in all this? Have they expressed any remorse at all that their little comic turn resulted in assaults on kids? I think someone needs to take THEM to the woodshed!

Also, there seems to be something going on at that school. I'd be surprised if that's the only significant bullying that's ever happened there. Maybe a few administrators should lose their jobs as an example of what happens when you let the school turn into a suburban version of "Lord of the Flies." It is so easy for administrators to turn a blind eye to bullying, and the bullied kids suffer all their lives from the selfishness and laziness of cowardly adults who were supposed to be caring for them and couldn't be bothered.

And yeah, make the perpetrators pay. Make their parents pay the legal costs, and subject the little bullies to a public shaming they won't forget.

Bonnie, it's people like you that demonstrate that common sense has died in this country. It's just a little bullying, kids can deal with it. And if they can't, blame all the pampering and "second place trophies" for their inability to do so. I mean, are you serious? Hate crime? And you actually want them to get kicked out of school just because they were unlucky enough to be highlighted in the news for an otherwise normal incident of childhood?

lol

"What's wrong with this country"? I'll tell what's wrong with it. Bottom feeder attorneys for starters. They are the ones who allow you to sue and win for spilling hot coffee in your crotch and end up with millions. Sue because someone looks at you funny, and get millions. This nation has been pussyfied by these scum suckers and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Turn your kids butts red with a good old fashion ass whoopin and this crap will stop.

I just watched the episode to see what this was all about - if these kids (WHO SHOULD BE CHARGED) got only part of the message from it then their parents should be charged too. The whole message was that there is too much hate in the world and that it needs to stop. I haven't watched South Park in years as I don't feel it is appropriate for my children as they aren't old enough yet, but the show is good and silly and ADULT PROGRAMMING!

Lazy parents need to monitor what their kids do and see and stop relying on the schools and media to raise their children.

Many years ago there was a study about blue eye / brown eye kids and how easy it is to spread hate and get people to jump on the band wagon, has our society learned NOTHING from the past.

Children (and a lot of adults) will emulate what they see. If adults are allowing children to watch garbage on tv, they should be responsible - I agree with this. If parents emphasize to their children to keep their hands off others, this wouldn't happen (as much). Is there a right answer or a wrong answer in which to handle this problem? Probably not. Is the school doing everything in their power? It appears they are. Are the parents? We don't know. Maybe these kids were watching this show when they weren't supposed to be (pre-teens and teens do a lot of things when they're not supposed to). And here's a thought: there are many states that allow some sort of corporal punishment. It used to be allowed in CA when I was a girl. How do these states fare compared to here? Just something to consider. The actions of a few in no way should be trivialized, because prejudice is around us every day, and we need to be diligent in acknowledging it's presence and to not buy into it. This incident teaches us that lessons still need to be learned; however, this story needs to take a back seat to other news now.

One of the main reasons we have adult criminals is because when criminal behavior starts in their youth, everyone tiptoes around so as not to traumatize or "mentally scar" the little things for their "mistakes." These are teenage boys who made a conscious choice to hurt other human beings. That's mean-spirited, shows no respect for their fellow-being, and is a CRIME!!! STOP THEM NOW! LET THEM KNOW NOW THAT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR BRINGS PUNISHMENT! And, please, don't let them get away with 'THE T.V. MADE ME DO IT!!!

 
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