School Fight Caught on Video Sparks Debate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Parents of a 16-year-old girl who was suspended for fighting said their daughter had no choice but to defend herself. Christie Smith reports. (Published Friday, Jul 25, 2014)

    A Santa Rosa family is working to remove a school suspension handed down on a 16-year-old girl they say was defending herself during an attack.

    The incident was captured on cell phone video and has fueled a debate on whether the incident was a fight or an attack.

    "I've reviewed the video over and over and I ask myself, 'Could she have done something different?' I keep coming back to no," mother Mia Danley said.

    Danley said two girls from another school first cyber bullied her daughter after she began dating a new guy. The girls then jumped her daughter on May 16 at Santa Rosa High School, Danley said.

    School district officials reviewed the incident and suspended Danley's daughter. Administrators said the girl is not a victim of an attack, but a participant in a fight and deserved a suspension.

    "If this were to happen anywhere else you have the civil right to defend yourself," Danley said. "Even if that means hitting your attacker back. When it happens at school you get punished."

    Danley in response has launched a Facebook page about the right to defend. The family has also taken the other parents to small claims court and seek the suspension removed.

    "It's embarrassing, she should not have a violent altercation on her record for defending herself against two attackers," said Allen Danley, the girl's stepfather.