Updated at 10:15 p.m. to include Board of Education candidate statement.
The video is 27 seconds long. In a quick shot at the beginning, a young man wearing khakis and a collared shirt punches another man in the face and knocks him to the ground.
Students scramble and scream as the man, wearing a ski mask, falls and lies motionless. The description of the video, posted on worldstarhiphop.com, is: “Girl send’s [sic] father to fight a boy for throwing a French fry… But gets knocked out by a 17-year-old!”
The video was filmed at Long Reach High School, according to school officials.
The video was posted on March 21 and has been viewed over 512,000 times as of noon on Thursday. “Long Reach” was trending on Twitter in the Baltimore region last night.
Patti Caplan, a spokesperson for Howard County Schools, said an adult, a non-student, came on campus at about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday wearing a ski mask. She said the man confronted one of the Long Reach students, threw a punch at him and missed. The student, a junior who is on the football team, then swung back and landed a knockout blow.
“The individual that was hit was unconscious,” said Caplan, “[He] did gain consciousness but refused help and walked off campus.”
Caplan said the man wasn’t arrested and the student wasn’t disciplined because it was determined he acted in self-defense. She said the incident is under investigation by the school resource officer and officials haven’t determined if the man was, in fact, a student’s father.
Howard County Police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn said two people are being investigated in relation to the incident.
"At this point, the school resource officer has charged the female juvenile involved with the assault." said Llewellyn, "She's 15 and from Columbia. We anticipate charges from the male adult who was involved. He will likely be charged with assault as well as disorderly conduct."
Llewellyn did not elaborate on how the female was involved with the assault. She said the man was from Baltimore, but did not release his name or relation to the female. Police placed additional officers on duty for dismissal time at the school and at the village center on Thursday afternoon, according to Llewellyn.
Principal David P. Burton sent out an email notifying parents and the community about the incident on Thursday afternoon.
“We are aware that the incident was taped and that the video has gone viral on the Internet," he wrote. "As always, precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of all students and staff.”
Stefani Rodriguez, a parent of a Long Reach student, said fights and bullying are common at Long Reach.
“My daughter said this kind of thing happens all the time at the school,” said Rodriguez. “It’s unfortunate that it has escalated to this. Someone is going to get hurt at this school.”
Rodriguez said her daughter has been bullied frequently by students at Long Reach and that the school has pushed problems like fights and bullying “under the rug.”
“It’s just relentless,” said Rodriguez. “When I have a child that begs me not to go to school because it’s upsetting her and she doesn’t feel safe then there’s a real problem.”
Caplan said that bullying and fights are problems at all Howard County schools, but that there are programs and policies in place to address them.
“I have no evidence that [fights and bullying] are any more prevalent at Long Reach High,” said Caplan.
Board of Education candidate Corey Andrews, who is also a senior at Howard High School, addressed the incident in a press release on Thursday evening.
"We are concerned with the way it was handled and the events following the incident," wrote Andrews." This incident has caused other complaints of violence, bullying, harassment and disrespect at Long Reach High School to arise. We propose that the Board of Education take action to immediately commission a task force to investigate this incident and other negative behavior at Long Reach High School."
Caplan said there was an incident involving French fries being thrown in the cafeteria either earlier that day or earlier in the week that may have been related to the fight. She said there was some antagonism between a football player and a girl before the incident occurred.