Akron parents furious how teachers handled fight in 7th grade science class

Updated: Feb. 12, 2019 at 7:14 PM EST
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AKRON, OH (WOIO) - A classmate captured video of a seventh grader being attacked in science class last Friday.

Students can be seen punching Liam Zirkle and stomping on his head, but it apears teachers didn’t immediately intervene.

The Akron Public Schools district insisted that the teachers in the room did the right thing.

“Our policy requires teachers to call the school resource officer, use verbal directions to try to stop the fight and phone parent(s) as soon as possible. Teachers are not required to step into the middle of a fight, but many of our teachers do so willingly,” a spokesperson said.

In Friday’s fight, video showed several punches thrown before a teacher tells the kids to “chill out.”

In a statement, Akron Public Schools said the classroom teacher acted properly by calling the school resource officer to intervene and by calling parents. But, there’s apparently no resource officer seen in the video.

Liam’s mom, Autumn Zirkle, said if he did eventually show up, the damage was already done.

“He said, ‘Mom, I had my face covered, All I could see was kids kicking me in the head,’” she said.

Zirkle said doctors told her Liam is still suffering the aftereffects of a concussion he got during this fight. They want him to see a neurologist.

She said the fight started when one of the boys hit her son from behind during science class. Then, it became a four against one brawl.

“He’s been scared of these boys for months, and you know that he had to feel like he was fighting for his life being stomped in the head,” she said.

Zirkle says Innes Middle School administrators told her there had been an altercation, but that her son was fine and he was headed home on the bus.

She didn’t know the extent of the fight until she saw the cell phone video from another student.

After Autumn posted this video on Facebook, she said other parents reached out to say their kids are struggling with bullies at the school too.

One of them showed up here to meet Autumn during our interview. Both are sickened by the video and lack of response from adults.

Zirkle said, “It should never be the policy to stand by. It should never be the policy to stand by.”

Cleveland 19 asked the school district if the other kids in the video are facing disciplinary action.

A spokesperson said that will be determined when the school’s investigation is complete.

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