The Bangor Police Department said Thursday assault charges have been filed against a Bangor High School student who assaulted another student on school grounds in October and the attack is still under investigation.
A Bangor PD spokesman declined to say whether the assault was being investigated as a hate crime or bias incident.
In a separate statement, a Bangor High official declined to provide specifics about the case, but said the school follows national best practices for harm mitigation when students are in violent conflict.
The fight came to light after video was posted to social media and reported exclusively by The Maine Wire on Thursday. As of Friday, no other media outlet in Maine has reported on the incident, despite a history of reporting on violence in Maine schools.
In the video, at least three adult school employees watch as the attacker, who is black, lands 25 punches on the victim, who is white, and places him in a chokehold.
The lack of effective intervention by the adults witnessing the attack raises questions about a new law passed last year that regulates what steps school employees can take to prevent students from harming each other.
According to the new law, teachers or staff may use “physical restraint” only if one student’s actions pose an “imminent danger of serious physical injury” to another student and “less restrictive interventions would be ineffective in stopping imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person.”
In instances where physical restraint is justified, it must end “immediately upon the cessation of imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or another person.”
Lastly, but importantly, a teacher or staffer, like the men in the video above, must use “the least amount of force necessary … to protect the student or another person from imminent danger of serious physical injury.”
In other words, the teacher seen in the video putting his hand in the way of the attacker as he pummeled the other student in the back of the head might have been following Maine law.
The law requires him to use the least amount of force necessary will simultaneously making judgements as to whether the victim is sustaining “serious” harm.