While Halloween is a time for spooky fun for many, to one Black teen it became a night of lasting trauma.

In an account related at a Nov. 10 press conference by attorney Matthew Manning, who has been retained by the victim’s family, a Black teen was allegedly menaced and assaulted with a stun gun by three kids dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, who may have been part of a large group of as many as 10 people according to Manning. After the assault, an investigation was opened. The names of all involved parties have been withheld, as they are minors under Texas law.

“I just want to be clear,” said Jeremy Coleman, president of the NAACP H. Boyd Hall Branch. “We are calling this a hate crime until we get further notification of something different.”

The Woodsboro police department has enlisted the aid of the Texas Rangers.

“Where the NAACP stands on this is if it progresses where there is a continued reporting from the citizens and its members,” continued Coleman, “the next step in conjunction with Mr. Manning and his team will be to present a resolution to our executive committee and then after presenting that resolution to that executive committee we will in turn have a meeting with our state office ...”

Coleman indicated that the NAACP has been notified of the situation on a local and statewide level of the situation.

“As the events unfold ... We will come back and give the community that information,” said Coleman.

Along with the teen who was allegedly assaulted, Manning has said there are potentially six victims ranging from very young to high school age. Manning made clear that his client is the only one who appears to have been assaulted, however, the other five victims allegedly may have been chased and terrorized by the group.

Manning has been informed that there may be a video of the alleged incident and urges anyone who has it to present it to the police and Manning to preserve the evidence.

The unnamed suspects, who Manning confirmed are not Black, are believed to be students at Woodsboro ISD, according to Manning.

Woodsboro ISD issued a statement on the matter.

“Woodsboro ISD is aware of an event that occurred on Halloween night involving Woodsboro High School students allegedly dressing in garb associated with a widely known racial hate group and antagonizing a classmate,” the release stated. “This event did not occur at school or at any school-sponsored or school-related activity.

“While we are deeply disappointed that any of our students might find this type of behavior acceptable,” the release continued, “the District cannot discipline students for this type of conduct when it occurs off-campus.”

“Now,” Manning said in response to the school’s statement, “I’m never going to accuse someone of being dishonest, but perhaps they forgot their own words in the Woodsboro ISD student code of conduct.”

According to the student code of conduct, students can be placed in DEAP if they engage in conduct that is a felony listed under Title V, in this case aggravated assault, regardless of where it took place. The superintendent must also have a reasonable belief that the student engaged in this conduct.

“We know this was provided to administrators by at least a member of my client’s family ... I’m not quite sure that is not something that can happen as a disciplinary measure in this case.”

Aggravated assault is also grounds for expulsion, according to the code of conduct.

“I’m sure there are fine people over there who know the law,” Manning continued, “but their student code of conduct prescribes something completely different than what is in the press release and for that we are demanding answers.”

Manning confirmed that his client is in good physical health as of the press conference.

Manning asks that anyone who has any information should contact the police, the Texas Rangers, the Refugio County district attorney and Manning himself. Manning can be reached at matt@wcctxlaw.com and at 361-877-1031.

•mtamez@mysoutex.com•

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