Locker Room Fight Upsets Muskogee Parents

Thursday, May 28th 2009, 10:43 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

MUSKOGEE, OK -- A Muskogee couple says their 17-year-old son was beaten up in a Hilldale High School locker room while several students watched.

Some of them even recorded the scuffle on their cell phones.

The parents are outraged because they say the school punished the victim and another student with a three-day suspension, while letting others off scot-free.

The parents say their son laughed when a teammate was poking fun at another teammate, and that's what prompted the fight.

Even though she's seen it before, the video forces the victim's mom, Cathy Yarbrough, to look away and eventually leave the room for a moment.

"Makes me real sick," said the victim's father, Donnie Yarbrough.

The Yarbroughs say their son was attacked and pummeled while more than half a dozen of his fellow Hilldale baseball players watched.

The video shows some kids moving bags and chairs out of the way of the fight. Someone even throws a thumbs-up sign to the camera.

"What upset me even more was the fact that the school or no one never did anything to any of these kids, and they suspended my son for defending himself," Donnie Yarbrough said.

The parents say the coach sent their son home with an eye almost bruised shut, knots on his head and marks all over his body. The parents say they were never called, and neither were police.

"I had to take him to the emergency room to make sure he was OK," Cathy Yarbrough said. "We had to take him to the police department to notify law enforcement. The school never did anything."

The Yarbroughs say their son has gone to Hilldale schools since preschool but the incident forced him to transfer.

"I know I want something done," Donnie Yarbrough said.

The parents say even after the fight, the bullying continued. Even the video from two cell phones didn't prompt the school to take action.

"Those kids should have been punished regardless if they didn't throw a punch," Cathy Yarbrough said. "If you go by Hilldale's policy, they should have been punished. That was bullying. The whole baseball team should have been punished."

Even though their children no longer attend Hilldale, the Yarbroughs feel they had to come forward.

"If I let this go and not say anything, then who's next?" Donnie Yarbrough said.

"How many more kids are going to be terrorized like this and the school not do anything about it?" Cathy Yarbrough said.

Hilldale has a policy against bullying and fighting. The district's superintendent did not return phone calls or messages.