News

Social media video shows altercation involving Pleasanton Middle School students outside city library

Police, school district confirm incident but decline specifics due to juvenile confidentiality

A video posted to social media of a girl, later identified as a Pleasanton Middle School student, punching and stomping on the head of another student was taken in front of the Pleasanton Public Library on Jan. 19, according to Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci.

Screengrab from video of altercation outside the Pleasanton Public Library on Jan. 19. (Contributed photo)

"We are currently investigating this incident and working with Pleasanton Unified School officials," Silacci said. "However, due to confidentiality laws protecting juveniles, we cannot provide further details."

PUSD director of communications Patrick Gannon said the student who was assaulted -- also a Pleasanton Middle School student -- was taken to seek medical care but he could not confirm or share the injuries sustained by the student because the incident took place off campus.

Silacci said that in cases such as fights, there could be police and school consequences depending on the student's ages but noted that people under the age of 14 are generally not arrested per California Penal Code.

"The goal of the juvenile justice system is to focus on rehabilitation," Silacci said.

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He added that Pleasanton Middle School administrators are also investigating the case as the school has jurisdiction over their students from the time they leave school until they get home. The city library is located across the street from the middle school.

"Pleasanton Middle School administration has been in contact with both families to provide support," Gannon said. "Principal (Joe) Nguyen communicated with the community following the incident in addition to sharing information with students in classrooms to address and educate our zero tolerance for physical altercations and productive ways that the school community can foster a safe and healthy learning environment for all students."

Gannon told the Weekly that while the district can't comment on individual student discipline, they do have administrative regulations on student discipline which includes discussion or conference between school staff, the student and parents; counseling support; and individual educational programs related to restorative justice.

The district can also provide anger management, social and emotional learning programs and after-school programs that address specific behavioral issues.

But Ghezal Beliakoff, who posted the video of the altercation on Nextdoor, told the Weekly that this has been an ongoing issue with a group of students at the middle school and that more needs to be done.

"My daughter is a seventh grader and she's afraid to go to the bathroom at her school because she's afraid that they're going to jump her," Beliakoff said. "She's not the only one. Kids are afraid every day at PMS for their lives. I mean, we live in Pleasanton. These kids should not be afraid (for) their lives, right?"

Beliakoff, who saw the video after her daughter showed it to her, said she pressed for charges after the instigator of the fight was identified so other students would learn that there are consequences to their actions. She said she hopes other students won't stand by and let something like this happen again.

"There's so many aspects of how disturbing this is," she said regarding the video of the altercation. "It's the kids. It's this girl attacking. It's the dozens of kids that are high-fiving, cheering her on, videotaping. It's so disturbing."

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Christian Trujano
 
Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education. Read more >>

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Social media video shows altercation involving Pleasanton Middle School students outside city library

Police, school district confirm incident but decline specifics due to juvenile confidentiality

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 24, 2023, 10:07 pm

A video posted to social media of a girl, later identified as a Pleasanton Middle School student, punching and stomping on the head of another student was taken in front of the Pleasanton Public Library on Jan. 19, according to Pleasanton police Lt. Erik Silacci.

"We are currently investigating this incident and working with Pleasanton Unified School officials," Silacci said. "However, due to confidentiality laws protecting juveniles, we cannot provide further details."

PUSD director of communications Patrick Gannon said the student who was assaulted -- also a Pleasanton Middle School student -- was taken to seek medical care but he could not confirm or share the injuries sustained by the student because the incident took place off campus.

Silacci said that in cases such as fights, there could be police and school consequences depending on the student's ages but noted that people under the age of 14 are generally not arrested per California Penal Code.

"The goal of the juvenile justice system is to focus on rehabilitation," Silacci said.

He added that Pleasanton Middle School administrators are also investigating the case as the school has jurisdiction over their students from the time they leave school until they get home. The city library is located across the street from the middle school.

"Pleasanton Middle School administration has been in contact with both families to provide support," Gannon said. "Principal (Joe) Nguyen communicated with the community following the incident in addition to sharing information with students in classrooms to address and educate our zero tolerance for physical altercations and productive ways that the school community can foster a safe and healthy learning environment for all students."

Gannon told the Weekly that while the district can't comment on individual student discipline, they do have administrative regulations on student discipline which includes discussion or conference between school staff, the student and parents; counseling support; and individual educational programs related to restorative justice.

The district can also provide anger management, social and emotional learning programs and after-school programs that address specific behavioral issues.

But Ghezal Beliakoff, who posted the video of the altercation on Nextdoor, told the Weekly that this has been an ongoing issue with a group of students at the middle school and that more needs to be done.

"My daughter is a seventh grader and she's afraid to go to the bathroom at her school because she's afraid that they're going to jump her," Beliakoff said. "She's not the only one. Kids are afraid every day at PMS for their lives. I mean, we live in Pleasanton. These kids should not be afraid (for) their lives, right?"

Beliakoff, who saw the video after her daughter showed it to her, said she pressed for charges after the instigator of the fight was identified so other students would learn that there are consequences to their actions. She said she hopes other students won't stand by and let something like this happen again.

"There's so many aspects of how disturbing this is," she said regarding the video of the altercation. "It's the kids. It's this girl attacking. It's the dozens of kids that are high-fiving, cheering her on, videotaping. It's so disturbing."

Comments

MDB
Registered user
Birdland
on Jan 25, 2023 at 2:03 pm
MDB, Birdland
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 2:03 pm

I am a 70 year old woman who no longer goes to the library in the afternoon and evening due to the unruly kids there. I taught in middle school for 30 years, so I know middle school student behavior. Some of the children consider the library as a gathering place and are loud and playful. They are not respectful of any adult asking them to stay quiet. The first wave of students are middle school from PMS. They are loud, and sometimes argumentative in the library. At times, I have been very nervous with the angry yelling over some disagreement. Eventually the middle school students leave as parents come and pick up their child.

Around 5:00, an older , high school crowd arrives to "study" in table groups. They often can be loud and their playful antics are disturbing. They quickly forget they are in a place of study and loudly engage in conversation.

The librarians ask them to be quiet, but there is no respect for the adult authority.
Not ALL students are problematic, but there are enough unruly students to make it difficult for all.

The school district either needs to send supervision there, or, law enforcement needs to be there to enforce appropriate behavior. The students are not respecting the librarians or any other adult there asking for quiet.


Sharon P
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 25, 2023 at 5:02 pm
Sharon P, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 5:02 pm

So why were there people standing around, watching and taking videos but not trying to help - Just saying!


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 25, 2023 at 6:45 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 6:45 pm

Not the school’s responsibility (re comment on library antics) library should suspend access, require a parent meeting after x days, reinstate privileges.

Parents are accountable for their child’s behavior, not the school.


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 25, 2023 at 7:25 pm
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2023 at 7:25 pm

Actually, it has been learned the school does have responsibility until the child gets home. A little-known factoid. I have to agree about suspending library privileges.


Becky
Registered user
Livermore
on Jan 26, 2023 at 8:03 am
Becky, Livermore
Registered user
on Jan 26, 2023 at 8:03 am

They can't share the name of the student who brutally attacked another student, but the name of the parent, and by association the student who reported it to police and shared a video of it. Possibly opening them up to retaliation. Kind of backwards.


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 27, 2023 at 12:14 am
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 27, 2023 at 12:14 am

The parent of the student who recorded the video contacted the newspaper and shared the video. And she shared her identity. A bold move by a parent hoping to expose potential dangers and get them out in the open so some action can be taken to stop this kind of behavior.


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 27, 2023 at 1:50 pm
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 27, 2023 at 1:50 pm

@Parent. Abhorrent is correct. It is also abhorrent for an adult to call a child a cruel animal as you have done. The child didn't get to choose her family. We are a society of laws that govern behaviors toward one another. The police and school officials are the ones civil society tasks with doing that.
I share your angst that one child did this to another child, but labeling the offender a cruel animal certainly won't help her do better. If we are to expect better behavior, we must behave better ourselves. Hurling insults mirrors abusive behavior and won't solve anything. Bear in mind these are minors. Not yet old enough to even be placed in the juvenile justice system. Even animals rescued from the streets are given a chance at rehabilitation. Your words merely serve to inflict more abuse on an already wounded human being, as you acknowledge yourself. Eye for an eye? Two wrongs do not make for a right. Such rhetoric serves only to exacerbate an already abhorrent circumstance.
Two children's lives have been irreparably altered by this incident. As a caring community, we must do what we can to lessen the impact as much as we can and work toward preventing a recurrence ever again. The damage has already been done, and it is incumbent on all of us to ensure it isn't allowed to be repeated.


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