Plantation police say criminal charges are pending against at least 10 students at Plantation High School after a vicious schoolyard brawl.
Cell phone videos show a pile of flailing fists and arms as three students were attacked by apparent bullies Thursday.
“I was like dizzy,” said Tajzhana Hammond, who was attacked, along with her cousin and a friend, in a courtyard of the school about 11 a.m.
She says the attack was unprovoked and she got the worst of it.
“One of them just took me by my hair and started hitting me and another took me by my head and started hitting me. They never let me go, they kept hitting me in my head,” Hammond said.
She said the attack was unrelenting.
“They kept hitting me again and again. I even like blacked out,” Hammond said.
She said she has been verbally bullied since transferring to Plantation last spring by students she doesn’t even know, often ridiculed for her clothing and for “looking different.”
Thursday’s assault may have been prompted by words exchanged earlier between one of the attackers and a friend of Tajzhana.
“I’m so upset. I’m angry. When I got to the school they had no answers for me,” said Hammond’s mother,” Helen George.
The mother says Plantation Principal Alona DiPaolo tried to persuade her not to pursue the matter.
The mom quoted the principal as saying “‘if you go that far it’s going to make her look bad.’ If I reported it and make it a bigger issue it would make Tajzhana look bad.”
The principal did not respond to a written request for comment.
The school district issued a statement saying in part, “some of the students involved will receive the appropriate disciplinary actions…the safety of our students and staff is always our highest priority.”
Some parents watched the cell phone video of the melee and were appalled.
“I don’t like that. It’s not right. They should be punished,” said parent Yolanda Bennett waiting outside the school for her child.
“I need justice for my daughter. I need something to be done,” said Helen George.
Plantation police apparently agree.
Detective Robert Rettig said that “criminal charges are pending against multiple offenders.”
Rettig said it could take a week or more to sort everything out and determine which students will be charged and with what.
Typically, students charged with violent crime are transferred to alternative schools for offenders.
Tajzhana Hammond said she has had enough. She plans to transfer back to Miramar High where she was going before the family moved to Plantation.