'Justice Served' in Samohi Racial Bullying Incident

Two students are enrolling in a counseling program offered by the D.A.'s office after allegations they tied up a black teammate. The victim's mother said "justice is served."

Two white wrestling students at accused of using racial epithets while  in May will enter a counseling program, avoiding arrest.

The two students will enroll in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Juvenile Offender Intervention Network, whereby in lieu of prosecution, offenders acknowledge responsibility for their acts and agree to pay restitution, maintain good school attendance and perform community service, officials announced Thursday.

If they don't complete the program or fail to adhere to the program's contract, the D.A. will consider pressing charges, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

The victim's mother, Victoria Gray, said she was happy with the punishment.

"I think justice is served," she said. "I know some of the people here in Santa Monica thought I was just going after the boys. I just wanted them to be disciplined; I didn't want them to go to jail or anything; I wanted them to have sensitivity training."

The minors' parents have also agreed to attend parenting classes and all of the families were referred to group counseling.

JOINT "is a counseling program, we don't file charges," Gibbons said. "It's not uncommon ... It's very similar to what they do with adults in what they call office hearings."

In June, the Santa Monica Police Department launched an investigation into the incident in response to a complaint filed by Gray.

According to the complaint, Gray's son, who is black, walked into the school's wrestling room May 4 and noticed a brown practice mannequin with a noose tied around its neck. While changing clothes, he was approached by two peers who used a cable to tie his pants to the locker while using racial epithets such as "slave for sale."

"The case was completed and turned over to the District Attorney," Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis said. "There are no arrests to make at this time."

Oscar de la Torre, a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's Board of Education and director of the , said the decision proves there was wrongdoing on the parts of the students.

"This is an opportunity to reflect on the condition of race relations in the community," he said.

Gray said she will turn the focus of her energy to encouraging racial awareness programs to be implemented in local schools. 

De la Torre said he agrees with Gray, and wants to "craft inclusive curriculum that addresses all 'isms,'" such as sexism and racism.

Gray added, "After [the incident] happened, I had African American alumni coming up to me saying 'I graduated in 1999 and this happened to me.'" 



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