Five students are facing hate crime charges after what parents said was a racially motivated attack on their children in Coconut Creek.
Police said the incident happened Wednesday morning at the Coconut Creek Recreation Center, located a short walk from Lyons Creek Middle School.
A student said he was attacked after being dropped off at the center before school. He told NBC 6 that a group of guys from his school ran to “jump” him and another group of students.
The assailants punched and kicked him and shouted things that made him believe he was being targeted because he is white, the student said.
“I put my hands up so they wouldn’t hit my face,” he said. “After they jumped on me, they said, it’s like revenge for what they did in the 1700s for slavery.”
Five children have been charged with assault and battery, but the arrest report says “with prejudice”, which elevates the charge to a felony.
No serious injuries were reported.
Broward County Public Schools said in a statement the incident was an off-campus incident to which police and firefighters responded. The school principal issued a robocall to notify parents of the incident, saying they were always working to provide a safe and secure learning environment and would ensure that any off-campus incidents did not affect not college students.
“They can’t do anything to the other kids because it didn’t happen on school grounds,” said Frank Foster, who said his child was attacked. “He wants to go back to school there because all his friends are there, but he doesn’t feel safe. There is an opportunity to move, but it feels like a punishment.”