Father of Victim in Coral Springs High Fight: "Nobody Should Have to Live This Way"
Coral Springs High
Horologium via Wikimedia
A fight at Coral Springs High School that was caught on video Thursday is causing a stir in the community.
In the video, apparently shot in the halls of the school, several boys can be seen fighting with another boy. The students filming were chanting “Worldstar” — a reference to the website WorldStarHipHop.com, which frequently shows amateur fight videos and street fights. One boy yelled “No security” — perhaps suggesting there were no security cameras nearby. Another said, “Let it happen.” (The video has since been taken down for violating YouTube's Terms of Service, but Channel 10 has part of it.)
Coral Springs Police Captain Brad McKeone confirmed that there was a fight and that one person was arrested. He said he could not yet release details because the students involved are juveniles and reports had not yet been redacted.
But the father of one girl in the video says that she too was hurt during the fight and that administrators are doing nothing to help his daughter.
Authorities say there is no evidence to back up his assertion.
Marc Sheltra says his daughter Stephanie, a freshman and ROTC candidate, called him about 3 p.m. Thursday to be picked up from school. “The tone in her voice sounded like much more than anything normal thing that would upset her,” he said.
Stephanie, 14, was in hallway during the fight — and can be seen at the beginning of the video. Sheltra said Stephanie did not want to talk to a reporter, but she explained to her father that when she jumped through the crowd to help her friend who was being beaten, she too was beaten and thrown against a wall.
Though one student has been punished for assaulting the boy, Sheltra wants the other aggressors punished also for hurting his daughter. Sheltra says that when he complained to administrators, they were skeptical that she was hurt during the fight caught on film and that she hadn't complained while still at school.
Administrators at the school declined to comment to New Times, but Assistant Principal Michael Marhefka told CoralSpringsTalk.com (which broke the story), “There were probably six different staff members that spent time with her [Stephanie] immediately after the incident, myself included, and other than her having some red eyeballs from crying, I saw nothing wrong with her.”
Sheltra says that during the fight, his daughter was concerned with helping her friend, who was convulsing. His daughter's own injuries were apparent only once they got home. A bruise under her eye got bigger and darker, he said. She complained of headaches. Her father took her to the family doctor, who suggested they go right to the emergency room. Stephanie was readmitted yesterday because of nausea and headaches, Sheltra says. “They believe there's some sort of brain trauma,” Sheltra said.
Photos show her with a black eye, cuts around her face, and bruises on her arm.
He said he has been pressing the school to take action since the incident. "The more I press, the more I seem to get less answers," he said. "They have their victim; they have the perpetrator. They have their one video. They're done."
This is not the first time that fights at Coral Springs High School have been caught on video. Several fights from the past few years can be seen on YouTube.
Capt. McKeone says his department is aware of fights being caught on video: "Everyone has a cell phone now." Still, he said that most fights are "not of the magnitude" of Thursday's.
He said police are investigating Sheltra's claims. "A dozen people have been interviewed, but none of the information indicated what [the Sheltras] alleged was true. There is no new evidence to substantiate those claims."
The Broward District Schools Police Department also said the incident was under investigation.
Sheltra said he does not want to take Stephanie out of school because it would "remove one of the few pillars of stability my daughter has" and "give that school to the bullies." Instead, he says, "I can take whatever they're going to throw at me and make a difference for the next kid.”
The incident brought back negative childhood memories for Sheltra, who was beaten up as a child. “I could never get home — no matter how fast I came home, how slow I came home — these three guys, they always found me,” he said. “I know what the fear was like after lunchtime knowing I only had two hours until I had to go home again. Nobody should have to live this way.”
He said he’s appalled none of the witnesses did anything to stop the fight. He said they wanted glamour from the video. Now, he’s going to continue pursuing action until Stephanie’s attacker is identified.
"I'll take whatever [the school has] got to dish because this could be your kid," he said. "It reopened old wounds for me too. I'm going to make a difference."
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