A video circulating on social media of teens brawling at a Duncan high school has sparked accusations online that racism may have led to the fight.
The fight involved several students and took place Monday afternoon at the James Street campus of Cowichan Secondary School, according to a joint statement from Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour and Cowichan Valley School District Supt. Rod Allen.
A clip of the fight posted to Facebook Monday had already been viewed more than 26,000 times by early Tuesday afternoon.
Most of the fighting in the video takes place between two boys, one who is First Nations, who exchange a number of punches as others egg them. At one point, the First Nations teen is tackled to the ground.
He is then seen being punched and kicked several times by at least four other teens who jump in while he's lying on the ground covering his head.
Mounties attended the high school on Tuesday to follow up with staff and students. The school said it's also reviewing video of the fight and other evidence to determine what led up to the incident.
"Together, we want to reinforce that we do not condone any kind of fighting, bullying, or harassment of others – this applies on and off school property," the joint statement says. "Cowichan Tribes and the school district are working together to understand the facts of what took place, and to support the students, staff, and families that were affected by this incident."
There are accusations online that racism led to the lunch-time brawls but officials are not confirming that.
"There are a lot of rumours online and in the community about the nature of these incidents, and we encourage our communities to stay focused on facts," the statement said. "It is important to keep in mind that rumours on social media both during and after events of this nature do little to assist anyone in their efforts to determine what took place. They can simply hinder any investigation and escalate the anxiety of those involved.”
Multiple fights took place but only one was filmed and posted online, according to Cowichan Tribes and school officials.
Cowichan Tribes Chiefs and Council and the school district will meet to "find ways to further prevent this from happening again."