FRUITA, Colo. — While it sounds like a scene out of a bad teen movie and it was caught on camera, the three teenage girls involved in a vicious beating at a Fruita school last week weren’t acting.
And the consequences the three are now facing are very real, as well.
The beating victim suffered a concussion, the girl who came to her aid was suspended by the school and the girl who started the beating may now face criminal charges.
According to Carrie Thrall, the mother of the alleged victim, it all began when her daughter lodged an anonymous complaint with a Fruita 8-9 School principal, saying she saw a girl and a boy “snorting” some sort of substance in a school bathroom.
Thrall said the girl somehow found out about her daughter’s report and starting issue threats — threats that she says the school ignored.
School district administrators told the Grand Junction Sentinel that Thrall’s version of events leading up to the beating, which occurred on Feb. 22, was inconsistent with what was known to the school.
The video of the fight, however, appears indisputable.
Taken by a student in the cafeteria, it shows the victim attempting to protect herself and refusing to fight back as the suspected 15-year-old aggressor knocks her to the ground and repeatedly beats her.
Shortly after the victim is able to stand back up, her 14-year-old sister comes to her defense, grabbing the aggressor and knocking her to the ground. There, the sister and aggressor continue to fight.
The victim suffered a concussion, a swollen face and back injuries that sent her to the emergency room, according to Thrall.
“What does it take?” Thrall asked in an interview with the Sentinel. “My daughter to end up dead before (school administrators) do something?”
While she said District 51 officials were looking into Thrall’s claims, spokesperson Christy McGee said she doubts the school ignored any serious threats.
“I think parents sometimes have a different understanding of what’s happening with their kids, versus what’s actually being reported to us,” McGee said.
McGee also told the newspaper that the school has two staff members assigned to monitor the lunchroom on a daily basis. However, the video shows the beating lasting 35 seconds without staff interference. Furthermore, it starts after the beating begins and ends before any staff member steps in to break it up.
Given the evidence shown in the video and their own investigation, Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo said his department will pursue a juvenile petition for suspicion of third-degree assault against the 15-year-old suspected aggressor.