Police are investigating a potential racially motivated assault that took place at a Springfield, Ohio playground last week after white students were allegedly assaulted and forced to declare that "Black Lives Matter" against their will.
Springfield police were called to Kenwood Elementary School on Monday morning in regard to the incident, which occurred during Friday’s recess time, according to WHIO.
The school’s principal informed police that "a group of Black students had gathered several white students on a specific spot of the playground and forced them to state ‘Black Lives Matter’ against their will."
Students that attempted to avoid the situation were reportedly "chased down and escorted, dragged, or carried to the playground," with the group of students that carried out the incident allegedly filming the students they forced to declare the statement.
The police report, obtained by WHIO, stated that one student was punched in the head by one of the suspects, and that Springfield police have questioned multiple juveniles regarding the alleged assault.
In a statement issued to WHIO, Springfield City School District said they are working closely with the police on this matter.
"The Springfield City School District is committed to providing our students with a safe learning environment, where they look forward to attending every day. The District is aware of a situation that occurred at Kenwood Elementary. We are working closely with the Springfield Police Division on this matter to ensure that we maintain that safe environment. Because this is now a police matter, no additional information is available at this time." a spokesperson said.
Ryan Springer and Ashley Henthorne told WHIO that their 12-year-old son was one of the students gathered on the playground to make the declaration against their will.
"I mean I’m angry as a parent but I understand they are children. It’s not okay to hate anybody because of their skin color, or their gender or sexual orientation, or anything like that. Nobody should be hating anybody," Springer said, adding that there are things that children shouldn’t have to worry about, "they should just be worried about being children."
Springer questioned why staff didn’t intervene, asking "Where was the school staff when all of this was taking place? And why? Why did it get so far?"
Henthorne said she was not notified on Friday of the incident, but instead on Monday. Over the weekend, she saw a change in her son, and once informed of the incident, the change she saw made sense.
"I kept asking him all weekend, are you OK? And he kept saying, 'yeah, I’m just tired.’ And then when I got the phone call Monday about it, I was like, 'that explained a lot.’" Henthrone said.
Springer said that his son does not want to return to school, adding that "he’s like he’s kind of traumatized... he’s not a very confrontational kid. He’s got one of the biggest hearts of any kid around," he said.
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