A 14-year-old Sikh boy was punched and knocked down by his classmate in the Washington State with his father claiming that his son was targeted because he is of Indian descent, media reports have said. The boy wearing a traditional Sikh turban was beaten less than a block outside of the city’s Kentridge High School. The assault happened last week and has since drawn outrage from the boy’s family, The New Tribune reported. The boy was attacked by the classmate as someone recorded it and posted it on Snapchat. In the clip, the classmate follows behind the victim and suddenly punches him, knocking him to the ground. The victim is punched several more times as he tries to protect his head and crawl away, the report said. However, the school district says it was not rooted in hate, but spawned hate speech online. The victim’s father, who declined to be identified, told KIRO-TV he fears his son was targeted because he is of Indian descent and is a Sikh. “I am feeling so, so bad because this happened with my son,” he said. “He never interacted with this guy. He never know his name, I don’t want to see this happen again with my son or anyone else. I don’t want to see this,” he said.
School officials said the attack was not religiously or racially motivated, but was instead a continuation of an earlier classroom dispute. The student who attacked the boy and the student who filmed the encounter will be appropriately punished, said Chris Loftis, communications director for the Kent School District. Kent School District claims to be one of the most diverse in the country, with more than 27,000 students who speak 150 languages.
The case is the latest in a series of troubling incidents of apparent hate crimes, where members of the Indian community have been targeted. It comes six months after a Sikh man in Kent was shot by someone yelling “Go back to your own country!” at him. Kent is home to many practicing Sikhs. The 39-year-old victim recovered from a gunshot wound to the arm and told police he did not know the shooter.