On May 13, a video of an Indian-American student being bullied by a White classmate in Texas went viral and sparked anger and criticism on social media. Video captured and shared by classmates from the Coppell Independent School District (Coppell ISD) shows two students getting involved in a physical argument after a brief exchange of audio. A change.org petition is also being distributed to demand action from the school and raise awareness about bullying.
In the video, an unidentified student approaches an Indian-American student identified in a change.org petition as Shaan Pritmani, who sits in his desk when the bully appears and asks him to step out. Pritmani refuses to move, and the bully is seen trying to get him off the couch with a hand on his shoulder.
When Pritmani refuses again, the attacker tries to intimidate her by trying to strangle her. Pritmani refuses to move and grabs the bully’s hand and throws it. This infuriates the bully and he presses his elbow on Pritmani’s neck from behind and pushes him into his seat.
Following the viral clip, District 14 TX SBOE nominee Tracy Fisher shared an official statement by Coppell ISD that “bullying and acts of physical aggression, both verbal and physical, are never acceptable and incompatible with who we are.” At CISD and our core values.” In another tweet, he wrote: “What we can say is that this incident has been investigated and handled by the school and district in accordance with the CISD Code of Student Conduct. We have policies and procedures that we follow.”
However, according to a petition initiated by Pritmani’s mother, Sonika Kukreja, her son is being punished by the school for bullying. She said the school called them and reported that their son had an argument with another student. “The school stated that Pritmani was at fault and got a 3-day ISP, while the attacker only got a 1-day ISP.” petition says.
In the petition, Pritmani’s classmates reached out to school officials when they shared video of the attack with them, declaring that their son was not at fault, they “shared the evidence and asked for a reconsideration,” the petition says. In response, the school told them that although they had seen the video, “there will be no change in the course of action” in the petition. “The Coppell ISD SRO officer refused to cite because the school board requested that the article not be written, as there have been so many complaints of bullying recently,” the petition said.
In the petition, Kukreka states that her son’s attacker in the video was “on the wrestling team and can be seen applying a very dangerous carotid restriction to Shaan’s neck.” “This technique restricts blood flow to a person’s brain by compressing the sides of the neck where the carotid arteries are located,” he says, adding that his son “shortly lost consciousness at the end of the neck strangulation maneuver.”
He continues: “Due to the Coppell ISD and Coppell PD’s lack of support in properly handling this attack, we demand the immediate removal of the attacker from my son’s school.” He stresses that his son “never had to learn, interact, or walk through corridors with this aggressor again.” And he “must be able to continue his school experience, friendships, and extracurricular activities without worrying about crossing paths with this student again. She doesn’t feel safe.”