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Scott G Winterton, KSL

Skyridge football players charged in assault posted on social media

By Amy Donaldson and James Edward, KSL | Updated - Nov. 14, 2020 at 5:34 p.m. | Posted - Nov. 14, 2020 at 3:44 p.m.

LEHI — At least two Skyridge High School football players face juvenile court charges in connection with an assault of a student that was recorded and then posted to social media sites.

In the video, a member of the Skyridge football team approaches a boy who is on a skateboard and is not a member of the football team. They are talking when the boy steps off the skateboard and puts candy in his mouth. Another player comes into the frame and punches the student in the side of the head, breaking his glasses as he stumbles backward and puts both hands on the sides of his head.

The first player on camera, a senior on the team, then appears to punch him in the face, and the student can be heard say, "I'm sorry, dude. I'm sorry, bro." The player swings at him, as the student leans against a brick wall apologizing.

And then the player says, "Don't do that (expletive) again."

The student apologizes again.

The video was posted to social media accounts belonging to Skyridge players, which is how school officials became aware of the incident, which took place on Oct. 23. The Skyridge head football coach referred questions to Alpine School District officials, who said the boys accused of hitting the student were punished, but they would not elaborate about the punishment.

"We were made aware of the incident that took place at Skyridge High School in early October," said Alpine District spokeswoman Kimberly Bird. "The video (posted to social media) was difficult and troubling to watch. The school confirmed they took immediate action and launched an investigation, identifying individuals in the video and the student taking the video. The school followed district policy for bullying and discipline-related issues."

She continued, "Following the investigation process, discipline and consequences were determined. Consequences for both school and team were given in this situation, and each student was dealt with individually. The video was also shared with law enforcement who oversees legal efforts in cases like this. We cannot speak for the legal ramifications but can confirm from the school side that students were disciplined according to the investigation."

The following email was sent to the parents, faculty, and students of Skyridge High School:

Posted by Skyridge High School on Saturday, November 14, 2020

Bird told KSL that exactly how the student athletes are disciplined is up to the coach and school administrators. There could be both team consequences and school-related punishments, but those would be private.

"It is a school decision," she said. "I do know (criminal) charges were filed."

On Saturday, Lehi police issued a short statement, but it does not say what specific charges the students face in juvenile court.

"On Oct. 23, 2020, the school resource officer at Skyridge High School was made aware of an incident that took place after school," the statement said. "He was able to interview all parties involved and charges were promptly filed in juvenile court, following a thorough investigation. The video of this incident has since been circulated on social media forums. This matter is now in the hands of the juvenile court process."

Juvenile court charges are not automatically public. KSL has requested information from the court.

The father of the victim declined to comment about the incident.

Bird said the district did receive a request to replace the student's broken glasses, but she didn't know whether the student needed medical treatment for any injuries he sustained.

The video was posted with captions that mocked the student who was assaulted. There were several versions of why the boys allegedly confronted the student, but Bird said nothing the student said justified the physical violence as a response.

"It was horrifying to watch," she said. "That's just an assault, no matter what."

KSL confirmed that one of the players involved missed one game after the assault. That player then played in Skyridge's final two playoff games of the season. Skyridge was eliminated from the playoffs in a 28-24 loss to Lone Peak on Friday.

On Saturday, Skyridge Principal Joel Perkins posted a letter to the school's Facebook page that condemned what happened in the video and said he is unable to share most details with the school community for legal reasons.

"Most importantly, I want you to know that the victim is doing well and receiving the help and support needed," he wrote, and also corrected some rumors about the students involved.

He explained how situations like this are handled in general.

"There is an investigation of the incident," he said in the letter that was addressed to students and parents. "This includes talking with the students involved as well as others who may have witnessed what took place. Parents are contacted and are involved in the process as soon as possible. ... If any of the students are involved in extracurricular activities, the advisor/coach is contacted and informed of the issue."

As to any punishment, he addressed that as well.

"Depending on the outcome of the investigation, consequences could include suspension from school and extracurricular activities, as well as legal charges being filed," he wrote. "In this situation, there were serious consequences enacted in all three areas. Certainly a one day suspension, which is what is being shared on social media, would not be appropriate in a case such as this. Again, I cannot share the specifics of the consequences but I assure you that it was not a one day suspension."

Amy Donaldson
    James Edward


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