Four high school students have admitted to the harassment and assault of a 16-year-old disabled boy outside a school in Saint-Maximin, France.
Distressing footage of the attack, believed to have taken place on Monday, Oct. 3, was posted to social media and has been viewed over 1 million times, prompting several politicians to intervene and call for action.
The victim, Rudy, is a student at the Lycée Professionnel Donation Robert et Nelly de Rothschild in neighboring Creil, and the attackers are his fellow students, according to the local public prosector.
The footage shows four young males punching and kicking Rudy as he is pinned to a metal fence, while the attack is filmed by a fifth individual.
Following the opening of an investigation by the Chantilly brigade of gendarmes, the local public prosecutor, Loïc Abrial, confirmed in a press release that “the minor, accompanied by his mother, told investigators that he had suffered violence from several other young people, twice, on October 3, 2022, near the school.”
Five suspects were arrested on Thursday . One suspect was later released, while four admitted to their involvement in the attack, claiming they were responding to provocation after allegedly being racially insulted by the victim.
The suggestion of racist provocation was roundly rejected by the victim’s mother who said on Friday: “It’s amazing when you know the environment in which Rudy lives, it absolutely does not hold up,” she said, as reported by Oise Weekly. The teenager’s sisters are mixed-race, she went on to explain.
“For us, what is very concrete are the repeated blows he receives because he refuses to give cigarettes, or because he makes a word or a look in the wrong direction,” she told the publication.
Damien Rieu of Ériz Zemmour’s Reconquest party, shared the footage on his social media, claiming Rudy was beaten up “because he is disabled.” He slammed the school for not intervening after the victim’s mother alerted staff of previous incidents between her son and his fellow students.
The footage was also commented on by Marion Maréchal, the niece of nationalist firebrand Marine Le Pen, who called the footage “unbearable.”
“Rudy, a student at a high school in Creil (Oise), has been harassed and beaten up for days because he is disabled,” she wrote, adding a message for French Education Minister Pap Ndiaye: “Here is the priority for our schools; it’s time to put it back in order. Take action!”
Ndiaye responded in kind to the news, tweeting on Thursday that he was “deeply shocked by the attacks on young Rudy.
“This violence must be strongly condemned. An investigation has been opened by the prosecution, and the necessary disciplinary procedures will be initiated without delay,” he added.