Locker room attack reflects disturbing trend

It’s a scene most parents don’t want to think about: Their child being physically assaulted at school.

Yet, that’s allegedly what happened at Negaunee High School. Reportedly one male student assaulted another in a locker room last Wednesday, with the incident put on social media.

It’s bad enough that an assault might have taken place. It’s worse that it was put online, apparently by someone who was an accomplice in the incident.

There also reportedly were onlookers who didn’t step in to help.

Monday’s meeting of the Negaunee Board of Education included comments from the victim’s parents and community members, all of whom condemned the alleged attack.

We still have to use the word “alleged” because an investigation is ongoing, with a determination on student disciplinary action to take place later this week.

School administrators and teachers can’t be everywhere. Negaunee Public Schools has been following a policy in which the alleged assaulter was removed from the building and the police notified.

We applaud this “reactive” activity, but proactive efforts on such extreme bullying incidents is necessary.

Why did this happen in the first place? Why didn’t anyone help? Were they afraid of being punished themselves? Was it accepted because it supposedly was just a “boys will be boys” occurrence?

At least the community is coming out to support the victim. We hope the boy heals as quickly as possible and puts the incident behind him as best he can, again with the support of his family, friends and the school district.

The school district can’t undo what’s been done, but it can ensure anti-bullying efforts continue.

Whatever happened in Negaunee probably can happen almost everywhere. Why it happened, though, needs to be addressed. If the incident sprung from a dispute, there needed to be a better, non-violent way to handle it. If it turns out to be someone simply picking on someone else, that also was unacceptable.

And a strong note to students and, in fact, everybody: If you see somebody being bullied, step in. It could be you the next time.

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