BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor & Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Disturbing new video obtained by BocaNewsNow.com shows more of the fight at Omni Middle School that has led to mass outrage among parents and students in the Palm Beach County School District.
The video shows the boy, a 7th grader with a 504 plan (deserving of specialized education), being thrown by the student in the red, white and blue “NASA” shirt.
The boy in the NASA shirt then walks away. The boy who was thrown was removed in a wheelchair, according to eyewitnesses.
A total of three students — including the boy who was thrown — have been suspended, according to the victim’s parents.
Those parents, Dr. David Kateb and Linda Kateb, spoke exclusively with BocaNewsNow.com and expressed outrage at the handling of the incident by new principal Nikkia Deluz. Deluz was hired as principal of Omni Middle this year after serving as as assistant principal of Palm Beach Lakes Community High School.
The apparent victim, as BocaNewsNow.com reported in an exclusive story Friday, was transferred by the Palm Beach County School District from Eagles Landing Middle School to Omni this year after he was bullied at Eagles Landing. The school district knew he was vulnerable, according to his parents, and said he would have a better experience at Omni.
The boy’s parents tell BocaNewsNow.com that school staffers should have been aware of his vulnerability. They provided photos to BocaNewsNow.com of their son’s injuries.
BocaNewsNow.com has been inundated with emails and phone calls since our initial story — many from parents and children at Omni Middle School.
“It doesn’t matter whether (the boy) was annoying or started the incident,” said one. “He deserved special attention and no one deserves to be assaulted.”
“Where were the teachers?” asked another.
“Even if the boy was irritating the other boys,” said one parent, “why is the school not providing counseling so all students know how to deal with all students? No one should be fighting, but a lot of this comes back to guidance counselors and the climate of the school.”
Added another parent calling BocaNewsNow: “This says a lot about the parents of the bigger kids. What are they teaching their kids at home? Who reacts like this?”
The boy’s father, Dr. David Kateb — an area physician — says Principal Deluz refused to take his calls in the aftermath of the incident. Once the video was made public, Deluz — according to Dr. Kateb — took a call and told him the conversation must be on speakerphone. He declined, Principal Deluz hung up.
“It is outrageous,” said Dr. Kateb in our exclusive story on Friday. “If someone makes their hand look like a gun, they get kicked out of school. But two children attack and pummel my son and that’s okay.”
The Palm Beach County School District, while limited in what it can say about a matter involving students, is only saying the situation is being handled. There has been no information regarding the status of Principal Deluz, the assistant principals, or the school police officer who were reportedly also on the scene.