Seven male students attending Central Valley High School are facing charges following a string of acts of bullying and some for assault following a Jan. 9 beating up the street at Punjab Plaza on S. Central Avenue.
Ceres Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jose Berber said his department was made aware of the assault against a 15-year-old teenager the next day. The victim said four boys who attend CVHS assaulted him as he was walking through the shopping center. The boy suffered a swollen right cheek, swollen eye, and a cut to his knee requiring several staples.
Police said one of the four, a 15-year-old suspect, instigated the fight. The victim said he ran away but was chased down by the four who all then punched and kicked him.
Officer Lorenzo Beltran identified and arrested the instigator and three 14-year-old boys for assault with a deadly weapon since they used their feet during the assault.
All four have been released from custody but have not returned to school.
The victim reported that he was continued to be harassed on social media by the instigator and others. Late on the evening of Jan. 23 the victim received numerous messages on snap chat with the instigator of the incident making several threats and noting that he knew where the victim lives. He also posted a video of himself and other boys in a white car. At 3 a.m. the next morning around the victim and his family were awakened by the sound of the front glass window of their home breaking. The victim and his mother immediately drove to notify the police. They caught up to the white car and the car was occupied by the same boys in the video.
Officer Lorenzo Beltran arrested three 15-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy, charging them with conspiracy to commit a crime, vandalism and intimidating a witness.
The alleged instigator admitted sneaking out of his house, vandalizing the victim's house and gave up the identity of the others who were involved.
Social media was the preferred tool to intimidate the victim in this case.
"We highly encourage all parents to monitor their children's actions on social media," said Sgt. Berber. "Cyber bullying has been a trend that can be curbed with the help of parents."
Officials with the Ceres Unified School District are aware of the investigation and "have been extremely helpful reassuring the safety of its students," said Sgt. Berber. "There was no indication any student was in any danger while at Central Valley High School or any part of this matter took place during school hours."
The names of the involved students have not been made public due to a state law that protects the identities of minors charged in crimes.