PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - Amid allegations of rampant fistfights, a 13-year-old Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School student is talking out about being attacked by a fellow student last week.
"I am scared someone else is going to see me as a doormat and do it again and I don't want that," said Emily Cannon.
According to a police report, the honor student was walking to class the morning of February 21 and attacked without warning. School surveillance video also captured the attack on tape. ABC Action News requested the video, but we're told it could not be released because it is part of an open investigation.
"I was just trying to get her off me," Emily explained.
Emily's mother took her to a hospital where she was treated for head injuries. ABC Action News was provided with her medical release papers.
"They said, 'we will have our video cameras out. It should be in 3D and your blood should be in HD,'" recalled Emily of what was said before the attack.
Over the past six months, Pinellas Park police records show there have been 18 reported battery cases at the school and dozens of fights. ( http://bit.ly/XW0Z2u )
Video posted to Youtube shows two middle school students fistfighting. According to students, the fight did not occur at the middle school but across the street at the high school which is still district property. The students said the fight took place right as school let out.
A teacher, who asked us not to reveal their identity, said fistfights break out between seven and eight times a day at the school.
School leaders declined to speak on camera about the issue but did provide a written statement. Tuesday afternoon an automated called went out to all parents regarding the allegations.
"You may have seen a news story regarding fights at Morgan Fitzgerald," said Principal Theresa Anderson. "Any instances of any inappropriate behavior at school is addressed immediately."
Anderson also assured parents she strives to make the school safe.
Emily's mother, Kim Browning, called the automated message 'a lie.'
"It is a joke," said Browning. "She still haven't gotten back to me about Emily's assault."
Other Morgan Fitzgerald parents took to the ABC Action News Facebook page to sound off about the message and safety in the school.
"I just got a recorded message from the Principal, Ms. Anderson, assuring me this sort of thing doesn't happen at school," wrote Jen Savage, a mother who claims her daughter was beat up at school by a classmate. "Is she [expletive] as well as a liar? Perhaps she never leaves her office."
ABC Action News requested to speak on camera Tuesday with the principal. Our calls were not immediately returned.
The police report in Emily's case confirms her alleged attacker was suspended from school for three days. That student, according to Emily, is now back in school and is in two of her classes.
Emily said she was also suspended. Her suspension was revoked, according to her mom, after police watched the surveillance video and determined Emily did not provoke the fight or participate.
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