Chesapeake

Chesapeake father says son's assault at school should be considered a hate crime

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) -- A classroom scuffle at a school escalated to what a parent is now calling a hate crime. 

The incident happened in December at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake. A father said another student used racial slurs, and tied a rope around his son's neck.

Chesapeake Police charged a student with simple assault and battery but the victim's father wants it classified as a hate crime.

The father said his son is now going to counseling.

“My son shouldn’t have to deal with this,” said Sean Watt.

Watt said the incident happened while his son was in guitar class.

"There was a student there and he was talking about he was part of the KKK,” he said.

Watt said the student was allegedly holding a rope and followed that comment with racial slurs. 

"My son approached him and was like 'you need to chill or relax.' The student hit him with the rope first and then my son grabbed him and you know, he put him down and then he left him alone. When he turned around to walk away, that's when the rope came around his neck,” Watt said.

According to a statement written by Watt's son, he yanked the rope off, walked away and asked the teacher to go to another classroom. He told another teacher and both boys were sent to the office.

"They told me they were proud of the way my son handled himself,” Watt said, referring to when he was contacted by school administrators.

Police charged the student with simple assault and battery but Watt is upset the charge isn't more serious.

“If that isn't a hate crime, what happened, then I don't know what is,” Watt said. “The only way I feel that racism can be eradicated, you have to confront it and call it what it is.”

He also said he has more questions than answers about how the situation was handled.

“He was in the classroom. I would assume something like that, if you’re a teacher, you got to see it,” Watt said. "It’s ridiculous. I don't know what happened to the other child. I don't know if he might try to come back and be upset at my son.”

A spokeswoman for the Chesapeake school district said the school has taken appropriate action but they can't comment on individual student discipline.

It's not clear if any action was taken against the first teacher in the classroom. Watt said he's following up with the Commonwealth Attorney's office to see if the charge will be changed.


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