KATY (FOX 26) - A Katy junior high school student has a court appearance Thursday morning charged with assaulting a teacher. His mother says her son was simply trying to get his cell phone back that he believed the teacher had wrongfully taken away.
"He grabbed the phone," Kennie Solano told FOX26, "My son approached him and said give it to me."
But when the teacher didn't return his phone the fight over the phone got physical. Solano says her son was bruised and seriously scratched by the teacher, but the teacher decided to press charges.
Solano says the teacher didn't know at the time of the struggle that there was video of a gang initiation "jump" that took place at the school earlier in the morning. A boy agreed to be beaten up by others for gang members in order to become one of them, and Solano's son had the video of it.
Solano isn't thrilled that her son recorded the incident, but she says it proved to be valuable information.
What I told them is you should say thank you to Jonathan for what you find on that cell phone," Solano said. "If it hadn't have been for the video in his cell phone you wouldn't know nothing about what's happening on your campus."
Despite the district knowing about the gang event on September 21 the day it happened, parents weren't notified of it until a week later.
FOX26 spoke to students outside McDonald Junior High.
"Should this be something parents are concerned about?"
"Yes!" said Ayanna Choice very quickly in response.
"Why do you say it so emphatically? What's the danger to you?" We asked.
"A lot!" Ayanna replied just as emphatically.
The reporter who broke the news about the gang initiation did so before the Katy ISD was willing to confirm it. Dennis Spellman, with the online newspaper CoveringKaty.com, says there's pressure at all Katy ISD schools to keep a tight lid on problems.
"The teachers are the ones that have to deal with it every day," Spellman said. "They're knocking their heads against the wall because they see what's going on but the parents doubt know about it."
Spellman says there is a gang problem at some Katy schools but the effort to maintain a squeaky clean image appears to take priority.
"They're not, apparently, willing to talk about what they're doing, which leads everybody to believe they are doing nothing."