A young man taking a stand against bullying at his school was apparently roughed up by fellow students as a local TV crew was preparing to interview him.
"The student came up to me and pushed me out of the way and said, 'What are you recording?'" Preston Deener told WHAG. "All of a sudden, the student was chasing me and I needed some help."
The incident happened as WHAG cameras and reporter Katie Kyros were preparing to interview Preston, a sophomore at Brunswick High School in Frederick, Md.
Kyros described the events:
"I had my camera fully set up. I was getting ready to interview Preston and his friend, and the boys just didn't seem to care. A group of three boys came up, and one of them just lunged toward Preston, started pushing him and hitting him in the head so quickly. I was shocked. They didn't even care that I was standing there and yelling about it. … It was all on camera. They have no shame about it."
However, Kyros later points out the camera was not recording when the alleged assault took place. But crews did capture images of the boys approaching and Preston running away after the incident.
Preston went into the school to report the bullying, as is district policy. He was recently suspended for three days after an incident last week in which, instead of telling administrators, he fought a student after being tackled at school, WHAG reports. Preston says he's been a victim of bullying for years, including cyberbullying.
That's why Kyros was on site to talk to Preston.
Cheryl Deener , Preston's mother, hopes the recent incident caught mostly on video will nudge the school district to take action against this bully, WHAG reports.
The TV station is cooperating with the school district and has turned over a copy of the video so the school can identify the young men involved.
"A full investigation is step No. 1, to find out what's going on and what happened," Michael Doerrer with Frederick County Public Schools told WHAG.
Cheryl Deener has started a Facebook page in support of her son through which she hopes parents of bullied teens can share support and ideas, ABC2 WMAR reports. Recently, she got the district to reverse a ruling that kept Preston from attending homecoming because of his suspension, ABC2 reports.
This is yet another notable case in which a parent is seeking public support for a child who has stood up against apparent bullying—only to get punished for retaliating.
Randy Duke of Victoria, Texas, pickets his son's middle school, carrying a sign that reads, "Bullying victims are punished here."
Duke's 14-year-old son, Max, was suspended for allegedly fighting with a student who had been bullying him at the school, Duke said.
In his TV interview, Preston said eloquently, "You've got to have one heart and stand up for someone who's getting bullied, and it needs to stop."