A Huntington Beach teen is gaining national attention for his swift actions after a video shows him knocking out a bully who was attacking a visually impaired student.
Cody Pines, a 17-year-old Huntington Beach High school junior, said Thursday that he stepped in and knocked the suspect to the ground to protect the visually impaired boy whom he has known since the sixth grade. The suspect was arrested.
“I felt like he was getting really hurt and I felt like it was my obligation to go up there and help him,” Cody told Times Community News. "That was my only reaction, to be honest. I didn’t mean to hurt the [suspect] intentionally, but I just wanted to make sure my friend was OK.”
Earlier reports by Cody’s supporters indicated that he was removed from the high school’s football team.
But the Huntington Beach Union High School District says the Cody was never removed from the team because he hasn’t played since last spring.
Cody will not be suspended for stepping in to help the student, the district said.
Russell Shelton, one of more than 27,000 people who have backed an online petition supporting Cody, defended his actions.
“This kid is a hero to the one being bullied, and an inspiration to all those who chose to stand up to bullying. Since when do we punish heroes in this country?” he wrote.
“People like this who are willing to stand up and lead is more of what we need in America,” supporter Joshua Todd wrote. “A continued passive attitude or an attitude that discourages doing what is morally right, such as the attitude of Huntington Beach High, creates the situation our country is in.”
Even after the fight, Cody described having remorse for the bully, saying he shouldn’t have been arrested.
“I don’t think he really deserves that,” he said. “I think he made one big mistake and I think everybody’s already punished him by telling him [he was wrong]. I really don’t want this kid’s life to be ruined.”
A video of the incident that has been widely circulated on the Internet was removed from YouTube on Thursday afternoon. In the video, a boy wearing a beanie punched another boy who police said “has a degree of visual impairment.” Seconds later, a third boy knocked the boy wearing the beanie to the ground.
According to police, the two boys involved in the initial altercation have a “history of not getting along.” They had an argument before the punch was thrown, Huntington Beach police said.
The boy was arrested on suspicion of battery and released to his parents, police said.
The student’s disability does not appear to have been a factor in the incident, police said.
Police said they do not expect to arrest Cody.
Supt. Greg Plutko said the district has a strong anti-bullying code of conduct.
“The Huntington Beach school community is disappointed and discouraged by the recent bullying behavior captured on video at Huntington Beach High School,” he said in a statement. “We are proud of our quality high schools, and this incident does not reflect the school climates that have been built by our students, teachers, staff and families.”
Carpio writes for Times Community News.
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