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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