2 Ribault High students facing charges after pep rally attack

Video shows assistant principal being attacked while trying to break up fight

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two Ribault High School students are facing battery charges in the wake of an attack caught on video.

The cellphone video, which was posted to social media and has since gone viral, shows Ribault High School Assistant Principal Dwayne Thomas being attacked as he tried to break up a fight at a school pep rally Friday.

Duval County school district officials called a news conference Monday afternoon to update the public on what has happened since Thomas was attacked Friday.

The video has been a public relations nightmare for the school -- so much so that school district officials took the time to reassure the public that what is seen in that video is not what to expect every day at Ribault High. 

During Monday's news conference, Principal Christopher Jackson asked the public not to cast judgment on Ribault High School or its students based on the video. 

“This is not indicative of what happens daily within the walls at Ribault High School," Jackson said. 

According to police, two male students, ages 14 and 15, are charged with battery in the assault on the assistant principal. Police identified them from the video. 

Police said they plan to arrest a female student who was also involved in the attack on the assistant principal.  

Jackson said after the attack, a guardian of one of the students involved showed up at his office. 

“She was in tears and she came up to me and my staff, gave us a hug and said, 'I’m, sorry,'" Jackson said. "She said, 'This is not how he was raised. We’ve done everything we could at home.'”

Superintendent Dr. Patricia Willis told reporters that fights and altercations happen from time to time in every school. But she also said what’s seen in the video is totally out of the ordinary for any school.

“It is unique for students to actually physically place their hands on an employee. That is unique enough that it is not business as usual," Willis said. 

Once the students who have been arrested go through the legal process, they will likely be placed in an alternative program away from the school. 

The assistant principal who was attacked was not badly hurt and is doing fine. 

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