Officials at a school in Bath, England, have refused to expel a group of white students who allegedly tied a black classmate to a lamppost, whipped him with sticks and called him “extreme racist names” as part of a “mock slave auction,” the Bath Chronicle reported this week.
A woman whose child attends the school told the BBC the alleged incident was filmed on Snapchat and shared among students. The woman said she did not see the footage, but said the black student was “really humiliated” and “apparently panicking.”
At least seven teenagers allegedly participated in the attack during a lunch break on Jan. 22, according to The Guardian. The head teacher of the secondary school (for students ages 11-16) initially suspended three of the alleged perpetrators, but the decision was overturned by school governors and the students are now back in class.
Police are investigating the incident, according to the BBC. Six teens have volunteered to be interviewed about the alleged attack, and another student is expected to be interviewed at a later time.
Parents were only informed of the incident on Tuesday, the Chronicle reports.
“We have today become aware of media interest in an incident which took place in January and involved a group of established friends and related to a single incident of unacceptable behavior within the school grounds,” the school said in a message to parents. “A full investigation was instigated in line with both internal school procedures and Department for Education requirements, including contact with the police.”
The parents of the alleged victim declined to speak to the Chronicle, but other parents are reportedly outraged.
“It just sends the wrong message out to the children,” the father of a student at the school told the paper. “I’ve got a mixed-race son. He’s thinking, ‘They’re going to stick up for the white kids but we get in trouble if we do something wrong.’”