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Torrington police investigate bullying case posted on social media

Posted September 13

— An apparent case of bullying in Torrington was caught on camera and it's been spreading like wildfire on social media.

Police said they are investigating after the video showed three young people "intimidating/assaulting a lone male." In one video the boy gets hit in the head and in other videos, people can be standing around.

"There were so many people recording, laughing and no one was helping. Four, five kids against this one boy and I felt really bad," Torrington resident Lexi Rayno said.

Rayno said she saw the video on Snapchat and it has been posted to Facebook.

"I felt the need to share it on Facebook because it's not right and I feel like there needs to be more attention brought to bullying itself," Rayno said.

According to police, the incident in the video started after "a hand gesture that was misinterpreted by the suspects." The victim did not report any serious injuries to police.

Police asked the public to allow "detectives to continue with their investigation before making assumptions on social media."

"Although we have different races involved in this incident, Torrington Police do not have any information or evidence to date that this is a racially motivated incident. At this time there is nothing to lend us to believe that this is a hate crime under C.G.S (53a-181l)," Torrington Police Detective Kevin L. Tieman said in a statement on Tuesday.

Police said they have identified all parties involved in the video and state officials said they have been in contact with the parents of the students involved in the incident.

No arrests have been made at this time. The incident remains under investigation by the Torrington Police Department.

Officials with the Torrington Public' Schools said they learned about the assault via social media.

" As a school district, we do not and will not tolerate this type of conduct or any other inappropriate conduct toward any of our students. We will hold accountable any students who engage in such behavior," Superintendent of Torrington Public Schools Denise L. Clemons said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Officials with the Torrington Public' Schools said they investigate "the claim immediately, properly and thoroughly so that the rights of all students involved are fully respected."

"In conducting such investigations and taking appropriate actions, we act to protect the well-being of all of our students. We educate students about appropriate and respectful behaviors and take all proper steps, including student discipline, to prevent any recurrence of inappropriate conduct," Clemons said.

Clemons said, "given the serious nature of this incident," they are working with the police investigation.

"After an investigation, when we find that any students have in fact been treated inappropriately in any way, we take appropriate action to keep students safe and to hold the responsible students accountable. Given Federal laws requiring that we maintain confidentiality of student matters, we will not and cannot comment on discipline of any individual student. However, we can provide the following information to the public concerning this matter without identifying individual students," Clemons said.

Officials with the Connecticut State Department of Education said they are also working closely with the Torrington Police Department and the Connecticut State Police to investigate the incident.

"We must do all that we can to ensure that students feel safe in their schools and be clear that bullying will not be tolerated. The administrations at Torrington High School and Wolcott Tech are both aware of the situation," Connecticut State Department of Education Chief of Staff Laura J. Stefon said in a statement on Tuesday.

Clemons said they have also conducted their own investigation.

"In closing, we wish to assure all members of the Torrington Community that the safety of children is the District's foremost concern and there are many policies and procedures in place to ensure the well­ being of all our children," Clemons said.

Rayno said she thinks more people should have stepped up during the time of the bullying.

"If you see something, say something and do something because there are so much stuff going on and it just takes one person and it can all be over," Rayno said.

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