Johnson HS student was allowed back on campus after a violent attack. Then he struck again.

NEISD officials say they are bound by legal guidelines allowing students to get a public education

SAN ANTONIO – A Johnson High School freshman allowed to return to campus months after he violently assaulted a classmate now faces a felony assault charge after records show he attacked the school’s assistant principal, hospitalizing him.

The arrested teen, who KSAT is not naming because he is a minor, is free on bond awaiting trial in both assault cases. The alleged assaults occurred within six months of each other, raising concerns from one of the victim’s parents about the district’s ability to provide a safe environment for her child.

Attack caught on camera

The first incident occurred in a campus courtyard in late October.

Surveillance video obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders shows the teen angrily react after a classmate pulled down his shorts. He then repeatedly struck another classmate in the face, eventually stomping on the boy’s skull after he falls to the ground. The attacker kicked the teen multiple times before walking away.

The footage confirms the teen who was beaten was not the one who had pulled down the attacker’s shorts.

“When I went to the E.R. to see my son he looked really bad,” said Lisa Piatt, who added that her child was much smaller in stature than his attacker.

Lisa Piatt's son was brutally attacked on campus by a classmate in late October. (KSAT)

Her son’s injuries included a concussion, a broken nose, a black eye and bruising and swelling of his eyeball, according to medical records reviewed by the Defenders.

Piatt said the school’s staff informed her shortly after her son was beaten up that his attacker had been in two previous fights during the first nine weeks of the fall semester.

Snapchat images obtained by the Defenders show that just days after being arrested, the teen made posts on the social media site mocking Piatt’s son.

“(Expletive) was vomiting blood LMFAO,” stated one message posted below a screenshot of a chat of classmates discussing the severity of Piatt’s son’s injuries.

Another Snapchat image from the teen’s account included a caption that he did not regret what happened.

Piatt said she was stunned when she then learned that the teen who attacked her son would be returning to campus in January, despite facing a misdemeanor assault charge, after he served out his discipline at an alternative campus.

“My child is entitled to an education too, that’s safe and free of intimidation and bullying,” said Piatt.

WARNING: Graphic video below

NEISD officials have defended the move to return the teen to Johnson after the first assault, stating that the district is legally required to provide a public education to every child.

Assistant principal hospitalized after attack

On April 14, the teen charged with assaulting Piatt’s son was arrested again after he repeatedly punched an assistant principal inside an on-campus office, causing him to bleed from his head and face, according to an NEISD police incident report. The administrator was hospitalized following the attack.

NEISD PD’s investigation of the incident included a picture of the administrator’s facial injuries. District officials, however, have refused to release a copy of the image, stating the victim did not want the photograph released publicly.

The teen, who was charged with felony assault on a public servant, was taken to the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center, records show.

NEISD Executive Director of Communications Aubrey Chancellor said she was prohibited from discussing specific details about either assault, but said students who assault a classmate are generally required to attend an alternative campus for 45 school days before returning to their home campus.

Chancellor said students who assault a staff member are generally required to attend an alternative campus for 75 school days before returning to their home campus.

“As a public school district, we most certainly have an obligation to educate every single child. We certainly understand that there’s concern, that there’s fear for those families, maybe some staff members, but we must follow the law at the end of the day,” said Chancellor.

NEISD Executive Director of Communications Aubrey Chancellor. (KSAT)

While some discipline incidents at public schools in Texas can lead to expulsion, Chancellor pointed out that most of those separations are temporary and that permanent expulsion of a student can only take place in “very, very limited” situations, such as if the student is a known sex offender.

A child’s right to an education is also guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

Chancellor confirmed the arrested teen is no longer attending Johnson, but conceded that he could return to the school a third time after serving out his discipline at an alternative campus.

“It is tough. The video is tough to watch. As a parent I completely feel for that family,” Chancellor said. “But, again, we must follow the law. We can do as much as we can do and go as far as we can go, and once that sentence is served out, that student has a right to come back and receive a public education. And I know that’s difficult to hear.”

Piatt said her child has suffered lingering effects from the attack, including a slightly disfigured nose, anxiety and depression.

“The process is broken, where these repeat offenders are allowed to just be returned to the environment,” Piatt said.

Arrested teen free on bond but not attending class

During a virtual court appearance before Judge William “Cruz” Shaw last week, it was revealed that the arrested teen is required to virtually attend four hours of school per day but has not been doing so.

“Too early for me,” the teen stated when asked why he was not attending class online.

Judge Shaw pointed out that the teen is required to attend class as part of his conditions for pretrial release and failing to do so would be considered a violation.

The teen is next scheduled to appear in court in late May.

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About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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