Controversy is growing over a headlock incident caught on camera at a school in Coppell.
Attorneys for families of both middle schoolers involved in the incident are sharing their stories as the school district investigates the encounter seen in a video posted to social media.
The incident happened during lunch at Coppell Middle School North on May 11.
In the video, a student sitting at a table is seen being put in a headlock by another student.
“It was horrible. I couldn't sleep for three nights straight. It felt like I was being choked. I cried many times watching it,” said Sonika Kukreja, mom of the student put in the headlock.
The video is now part of a school investigation.
Parents Sonika Kukreja and Kamlesh Pritmani said it was their son who received harsher punishment by the school: Three days of in-school suspension compared to one day for the other student.
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“I am deeply concerned about the safety of our children and the message our school board, our police department, is sending out by not acting on this,” said Kukreja.
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More than 150,000 people have signed an online petition supporting their son.
“We need the fair treatment for every kid and we need that bullying to be stopped,” said Pritmani.
In an email to parents, Coppell ISD's Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt said in part, “Coppell ISD is aware of a video circulating on social media showing an incident at Coppell Middle School North involving a physical altercation between two students. Bullying, both verbal and physical, as well as physical acts of aggression are never acceptable and do not align with who we are at CISD and our core values.”
The email said the incident is being investigated and addressed by the school and the district according to the CISD Student Code of Conduct.
Mark Lassiter, the attorney for the family of the other student, told NBC 5 the student was responding to vulgar and violent threats against his family.
The statement read, in part, “We are confident that after all the facts are revealed, the case will be closed and no further action will be taken other than what the school has already decided was appropriate."
Marwa Elbially, the attorney for the Pritmani family, denies the accusations and said the violence should never have happened.
“The school can preach all it wants that they're antibullying and place it on their website, but they are sending a message to this kid and the rest of the student body that this behavior is acceptable,” said Elbially.