3 arrested in attacks against redheads

CALABASAS, Calif. Two 12-year-old boys were arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor battery, and a 13-year-old boy was booked for misdemeanor cyberbullying, according to L.A. County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

The boys were among nine who were identified as possible suspects in the beating and kicking of redheads at Arthur E. Wright Middle School. The boys have been released to their parents.

"Some kids tend to bully and fight for whatever reasons, so it's just sad that it happened to be on a particular demographic," said parent Jennifer Leggett.

Students were back in class for the first time since the attacks on Monday and attended two school-wide assemblies, where officials discussed social responsibility and bullying.

Authorities said nine to 12 students were targeted on "Kick a Ginger Day." The inspiration for the attacks is apparently a 2005 episode of the South Park cartoon series that satirized racial tolerance.

However, it was on the social networking site Facebook that "Kick a Ginger Day" gained some traction. A group of students encouraged others to beat up redheads on Nov. 20.

Sixth grader Hannah Krieger said she was kicked in the legs by kids at A.E. Wright.

"I think it's disgusting. It's racism, it's flat out racism whether it be red hair, dark skin, whatever and it's totally disgusting," said parent Katy Klein.

L.A. County Sheriff's investigators interviewed two dozen students.

Officials say they are being proactive in handling the situation at the school. They say all those involved in the attacks have been disciplined.

"Middle school kids do, there's no other way but to say it, dumb things. It's part of the growth process, it's part of the age process," said Donald Zimring, superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District . "And what you had here was a very small number of middle school kids, nine kids out of 926, chose to do something they thought would be funny. At no time did they think it was hateful."

Students at New Community Jewish High School were inspired to start a competing Web campaign called "hug a ginger day," set for Dec. 8.

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