Fruita cops pursue charges in school beating
WARNING: This video contains real violence. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Fruita Police Department will pursue charges against a 15-year-old girl stemming from the beating of another girl Friday morning in a school lunchroom, parts of which were captured on a video circulating the Internet.
This, as Carrie Thrall of Fruita, the mother of the alleged beating victim, insists administration at the Fruita 8—9 School, 1835 J Road, failed to act upon warnings of impending violence by the suspect, against her daughter, who is also 15. The threats were reported several times to school leaders in the days leading up to Friday’s incident, Thrall said.
A District 51 spokeswoman said Thrall’s version of events was inconsistent with what was known to administration, but also declined to discuss specifics.
Thrall said her oldest daughter, Lexi, 15, suffered a concussion, swollen face and back injuries that sent her to the emergency room Friday.
“What does it take?” Thrall asked, questioning the school’s handling of the matter before it came to blows. “My daughter to end up dead before you do something?”
Police Chief Mark Angelo said they will pursue a juvenile petition for suspicion of third-degree assault against a 15-year-old girl, the suspected aggressor during the incident. Angelo didn’t identify anyone involved by name.
Officers were called on a reported assault at the school at 11:22 a.m. Investigation showed the 15-year-old female suspect had confronted the victim, “on what she heard the victim allegedly say earlier,” Angelo said. The victim sat down, refusing to fight, before being knocked to the floor where she was repeatedly beaten.
The victim’s 14-year-old sister, who was also in the lunchroom, ran to her sister’s aid and struck the suspect, knocking her to the ground where the pair continued fighting, Angelo said.
Thrall said her daughter originally was targeted by the suspect last week after allegedly catching the girl, with a boy, in a bathroom “snorting” some type of substance. When her daughter reported it, Thrall claims she became the target of repeated threats.
Those threats were reported several times to administrators last week, she said.
On Thursday, the day before the incident, Thrall said a vice principal explained they were limited in how they can respond.
“If it (fight) happens off school grounds, it’s not my problem,” Thrall wrote in an email, summarizing what she represented to be the school’s response. The vice principal added, “If it happens here at school, I have warned the girl of the consequences and she will be issued a ticket,” Thrall wrote.
Thrall said she was told by school administration her 14-year-old daughter, the one who aided her older sister during the fight, will be suspended for her involvement. While saying she was constrained from discussing known facts of the matter, District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee said, “We don’t tolerate fighting, either.”
“There is context (on how someone becomes involved in a fight) taken into account and it all depends on the situation,” McGee said of suspension decisions.
McGee was skeptical of any suggestion of repeated threats of violence going unaddressed before Friday’s incident.
“I think parents sometimes have a different understanding of what’s happening with their kids, versus what’s actually being reported to us,” she said.
According to McGee, Fruita 8–9 School has two staff members assigned on a daily basis to monitor happenings in the school lunchroom during all lunch periods, aside from kitchen staff. The fight video, which starts as the brawl is already under way, captures a full half-minute of combat between the three girls involved before filming stops.