By Kevin Deutsch
Five Lyons Creek Middle School students were arrested Wednesday for committing a racially-motivated attack against fellow students, authorities said.
According to records compiled by the Coconut Creek Police Department, the accused students beat up four boys, telling them “It’s opposite day,” “brown power,” and “you are white.”
The records show that the victims were punched, kicked, and struck with phone chargers.
The juvenile suspects were charged with battery and evidence of prejudice while committing a battery, a third-degree felony.
Police said the alleged attacks happened while the arrestees and their victims were hanging out at a recreation complex in the 4400 block of Sol Press Boulevard before school.
According to arrest records, three of the accused students are Black, and two are white. They range in age from 12 to 15, records show.
All of the victims are white, police said.
“We are disappointed to take law enforcement action in response to a racially-motivated crime by school-aged children within the City of Coconut Creek,” Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal said in a written statement. “This is an extremely rare occurrence in our community. But these are children, and as such, poor judgment can occur.”
“As always, we will work closely with our school officials to see that the suspects are appropriately dealt with, the victims receive appropriate services, and that the incident doesn’t manifest into further conflict,” the police chief added. “Finally, we will take appropriate action to ensure that all of our kids are safe before, during, and after school throughout Coconut Creek.”
On Friday, some parents of kids at the school took to social media to thank the police, while others called for more security.
“As a parent of a child that was affected, I ask [the] Coconut Creek Police Department, can we not station a police officer along the sidewalk that leads to the rec center each morning and afternoon when the kids are in and out of school?” parent Lindy Turner-Foster said on Facebook.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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