VISTA, Calif. — Parents rallied Wednesday outside of Vista High School after deputies say a boy was assaulted in a locker room.
There was massive support and outrage outside of the high school as roughly 100 people rallied for a 14-year-old victim of assault in the varsity football locker room.
Parents, students, and members of the community are demanding justice and accountability against the players suspected of being involved in an attack that was caught on video and spread on social media.
“I feel sad for him because I hope that he can get through it,” protester Caricia Sixto said.
Many students say the boy had special needs.
“I was really angry. I was disappointed. I was sad. It was something that I probably, I wish I wouldn’t have seen it. It was really heartbreaking, especially knowing that he’s an autistic child,” protester Karla Gonzalez said.
The video shows the teenager being carried and pushed to the ground by a group of boys. It also shows boys taunting one student and, at one point, you can hear an onlooker ask if the boy is being assaulted.
One of the boys appears to have a large wooden stick in his hands. The victim was not injured in the incident.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I’m so heavy-hearted and so furious,” parent Lupe Trejo said.
Deputies are looking at two separate incidents — one on Aug. 31st and another on Sept. 1.
In a statement Wednesday, Superintendent Matt Doyle said the school administration completed its investigation into the incident which confirmed players engaged in “highly inappropriate conduct,” adding “the conduct did not involve sexual assault.”
Doyle confirmed the students involved are receiving “appropriate sanctions.”
There is a Change.org petition circulating online to suspend and expel the students involved. It has more than 6,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, the sheriff‘s department is also conducting its own investigation.
The superintendent says the varsity head football coach will be placed on leave.