District Aware Of Incident

JPS?Investigating After Videos Of Students Surface On Social Media

The Jamestown Public Schools District said it is continuing to review videos posted to social media reportedly involving several students.

The videos, widely shared Thursday evening, show several males engaging with another male, who appears to be crying at various times in the encounter. In one of the videos, the male is told to perform push ups while another counts and uses profanity.

In another video, at least one person is shown attempting to take the shirt off the male, who says “stop” several times.

It’s not clear when the incident took place or where. The Jamestown Police Department said it was assisting the school district with its investigation.

Superintendent Bret Apthorpe released a statement Friday morning addressing the videos.

“I was made aware of videos circulating on social media regarding students allegedly enrolled in our district.

“Jamestown Public Schools has a zero tolerance policy regarding the behavior displayed in the videos, whether it happens during the school day or after school hours,” Apthorpe said. “My job as superintendent is to investigate any incidents in our district and take swift and appropriate disciplinary action. As a district, we are not legally allowed to share details about individual student disciplinary actions. However, I can assure the community that any situation that includes bullying and harassment will result in suspensions and/or restorative practices such as counseling, bullying prevention classes and community service. I want to reassure the community that Jamestown Public Schools will never tolerate actions such as those seen in these videos, or any actions that violate our District Code of Conduct. We will always take immediate and stringent action when it comes to the safety of all students.”

When asked of an update Friday afternoon, the district said the matter was still being investigated and that no further comments would be made at this time.

A MARCH INCIDENT

In March, The Post-Journal received a video depicting a separate, physical interaction between two teenage males outside a Jamestown High School parking lot on Foote Avenue. One parent who contacted the newspaper said the two individuals shown in the video were Jamestown students.

The March video was also shared on social media by the parent who said her son was the victim of assault and bullying.

The video depicts one individual striking another after approaching from behind. The male, who was walking away, appears to drop to the ground after being hit in the head. The student who initiated the physical altercation displayed on the video continued to hit the other before twice stomping on the head of the student on the ground.

When shown the video following a meeting of the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education on April 16, Apthorpe said the student lying on the ground appeared to be “a victim.” However, he was unable to comment on the specifics of the incident because it apparently involved students.

While Apthorpe was aware of the altercation, the incident took place outside and off school property. While school officials have the authority to punish students in school for actions taken outside of school, they cannot, however, police students once they leave district property, he said at the time. In March, the superintendent said he could not comment on how the incident displayed in the video was handled. He noted then that school districts have to determine how to classify each incident on whether it was an altercation or act of bullying.

ADDRESSING BULLYING

During the 2017-18 school year, the district made efforts to address concerns of bullying in the form of an anti-bullying club and an online self-reporting system on its website. The board was faced with community concerns of bullying at an October 2017 meeting.

Several people who spoke identified themselves as concerned parents or concerned graduates of Jamestown High School. Each had different perspectives and varying opinions on the topic of bullying. A few told stories of being bullied in Jamestown High School, while giving the board suggestions on how to combat the “cyber age” of bullying.

At that meeting, Apthorpe announced the online reporting system that he described as “baby steps” to solving the issue.

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