Hardin Valley parents express concern after student beating video surfaces

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Several parents are taking to social media to express concern and outrage after a video surfaced late Wednesday of a Hardin Valley Academy student repeatedly punching another student.

An investigation is underway into the incident by school officials and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Hardin Valley parents also spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side’s Elizabeth Kuebel Thursday to further express concerns and reacting to what is being done by the school and district officials.

One parent shared that she has two high school students who attend HVA, and after hearing about what happened, and seeing photos taken from the video, she said she’s both mad and sad.

“I can’t believe that something like that is happening at the school my kids go to,” said Ashley Dann. “You hear about stuff all over other places, but this close to home – it’s really surprising and I just cant believe that is happening. I don’t understand why any kid would want to do that.”

She also said her kids are angry, too.

Moving forward, Dann says she’s hoping everything gets taken care of and resolved.

The video or series of videos, posted on social media late Wednesday night, show one male student repeatedly punching another male student in what appears to be a bathroom. A group of male students witnessed the beating, several with their phones out.

Parents with students that attend both Hardin Valley Academy and the neighboring Hardin Valley Middle School have expressed shock and sadness at the video in parent and crime groups on social media.

Some within Hardin Valley schools parent groups on social media have said the issue is “heartbreaking and scary” and that it’s “not right and makes me sad and scary for my kids.”

How parents can talk to their children

Many may be wondering, how do I have a conversation about this with my children? We turned to a local psychologist for answers.

“With older kids, I would tend to draw them out and ask them what they think of it. And avoid judgment and sounding judgmental and too adult. What do you think? How would you feel? What would you do? Can I tell you what I might think or what I would do?” said Dr. Joshua Williams.

Suppose your child is younger – Dr. Williams says there’s no need to bring it up to them. If they saw the video on social media, they’ll likely bring it up to you.

But say your child hasn’t mentioned anything – is there any way you can tell if the situation is getting to them?

“Any radical change in a child’s behavior is noteworthy. I would ask the little boy or girl – you seem kind of sad today, is there anything going on? Are you ok? What have you been thinking about?” he said.

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