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Claremont teen suffers concussion, injuries after attack in Village

A 14-year-old girl suffered mulitple injuries following a brutal assault at the Village West parking structure, and her mother feels the school district isn’t doing enough to punish her attackers.

The assault occurred on Friday, January 27 around 1:30 p.m., according to Lt. Mike Ciszek of the Claremont Police Department. According to police, two 12-year-old girls repeatedly punched the victim on the head and chest, even after she fell to the ground. The victim was transported to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where she was treated for a concussion.

The attackers, who are inter-district transfer students (IDTs) from Pomona, attend El Roble Intermediate School. The victim attends Claremont High School. Both El Roble and Claremont High School let out around 12:30 p.m. on Friday due to finals.

The mother of the victim, who will remain anonymous because the victim is a juvenile, said her daughter was trying to protect her younger cousin, who was the initial target of the assailants. The spat reportedly started when the cousin called one of the girls’ boyfriends ugly.

“They came from behind and pulled her hair, turned her around and attacked her,” she said. “Both of these girls were continuously attacking her.”

It wasn’t until a homeless woman stepped in and got on top of her daughter to block the punches that the beating stopped, the mother said. In addition to the concussion, the girl’s mother said she was fitted with a neck brace and had a swollen left eye.

The mother said she found out about the assault from her daughter’s friend. “Nobody called me,” she asserted. “No school, no police departments or anything.”

Both suspects were arrested Tuesday—one at El Roble around 8 a.m. and the other after arriving at the police station around noon, Lt. Ciszek said.

Both have been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and they were released to their parents with a notice to appear in court.

But the nightmare did not stop there. Video of the assault, reportedly taken by one of the attackers’ friends, was recorded and posted to Snapchat. The mother said they didn’t know about the video until one of her daughter’s friends showed it to her the following day.

Lt. Ciszek confirmed police had seen the video.

The girl was also threatened on social media the day after the attack, the mother said.

“If they see [the victim] again, they were going to ‘f**k her up,’” the mother claimed the messages said. She said other posts are stating the victim actually started the attack, and that a mother of one of the suspects allegedly praised the attack on social media.

The victim’s mother is accusing the school district and El Roble of not doing enough in the wake of the attack.

“The principal at El Roble did not help me,” she said. “He said they could do nothing about it because it wasn’t on school grounds.”

El Roble Principal Scott Martinez did not respond to requests for comment, but CUSD Assistant Superintendent Mike Bateman said the district reached out to the mother several times.

“The district takes it very seriously,” he said, noting they were partnering with the CPD in the criminal investigation. “We’re working with the high school and her mother to make her feel safe.”

Mr. Bateman maintained, however, that the incident is a criminal matter that happened outside of the district’s jurisdiction.

“We’re unable to punish for things that happen well after school’s out at a city facility,” he said.

It’s an explanation that doesn’t sit well with the victim’s mother. “It was still during school hours because they were let go early,” she said.

The mother said the experience has left her daughter afraid to go back to school, and said there needs to be a larger police presence in the Village to curb unruly behavior from kids.

“She’s scared. She doesn’t want to go to school, especially after these threats to her,” the mother said. “She’s devastated.”

In the last five years, the presence of teens in the Village has spiked dramatically, with dozens or more hanging out around town, mostly on Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

—Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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