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'Kick A Ginger Day' leads to student assaults

November 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Sheriff's deputies say they are investigating a second assault on a redheaded student at A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas Friday. But there are indications that as many as six students may have been punched or kicked simply because they have red hair. "I didn't really know what happened at that moment," said victim Hannah Krieger.

Hannah, a 6th-grader at Wright Middle School, was more surprised than hurt when between her classes Friday kids came up behind her and kicked her in the back of the legs.

"I've heard many people have gotten kicked many, many times and I'm just scared that it will happen to me," said the 12-year-old redhead.

Hannah said just before the incident a classmate asked her if she had been kicked yet. None of it made sense to her until later when she heard a redheaded boy had been punched and kicked as he arrived for school.

Hannah's mother is furious with the assault on her daughter and other students.

"I'm still upset because I haven't been able to really talk to anyone, but obviously as a parent you're saddened and scared and just disgusted, really," said Susan Krieger.

School authorities reported the first assault to sheriff's deputies on Friday. Then on Sunday night, they say a second victim came forward.

Sheriff's deputies say they have identified several students at Wright Middle School as suspects.

"The first incident was actually serious enough to be considered a felony-type assault," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Scott Chew. "And then the second incident we've at this time classified as a battery."

Chew said the assaults may have been motivated by a Facebook posting urging students to beat up redheads on "Kick a Ginger Day." The posting may have been inspired by an episode of the animated TV show "South Park."

Karen DeJesse, who has two sons at Wright Middle School, said parents are to blame.

"Where are the parents? If this is something on Facebook, aren't the parents watching what the kids are posting on Facebook?" questioned DeJesse. "A 'South Park' episode -- what bothers me is it's a cartoon. It's not real and these kids are acting on a cartoon. What's the next step?"

Anyone with information on the attacks is asked to call the Malibu-Lost Hills sheriff station at (818) 878-1808.

Students are not in school this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Donald Zimring, superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District, has not yet commented on the attacks.


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