Late this afternoon, the American “Family” Association’s AgapePress repeated an already disproven allegation about a playground altercation in Lexington, Mass., that is being promoted and politicized by antigay activists as a mob hate crime by liberal New England families against antigay families and their school kids:

AFA claims:

The young son of a Massachusetts pro-family activist was physically assaulted by fellow elementary school students on the two-year anniversary of same-sex “marriage” in the state.

On May 17, first-grader Jacob Parker was beaten up by a group of eight to ten kids on the playground at Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington. Just weeks before the assault, his father and mother had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school.

AFA’s repetition of David Parker’s disputed claim follows media hype generated over the weekend by TownHall conservative columnist Kevin McCullough and others who say:

“Liberals in Lexington Massachusetts have taken to beating up the seven year old children of their political opponents. This disgusting tactic should be ousted [sic] on the front pages of every newspaper across the nation, yet you’ve heard nary a word about it.”

But according to school faculty, parents and Lexington Cares, much of Parker’s story is false. Parker’s son was hit by a close friend in a brief playground altercation over cafeteria seating.

According to Lexington Cares, June 15:

Dr. Paul Ash, Lexington Superintendent of Schools, says, “The school department is conducting a thorough investigation. The safety of all children is our utmost concern.” A statement is expected after the investigation is complete.

Staff and parents at Estabrook School have related the following account of what happened on May 17.
A classmate, who is a friend of Mr. Parker’s son, was mad at him because he sat in someone else’s seat at lunch. At recess, the boy went over and started punching him. Other children stood around and watched. The playground aide noticed a cluster of children and headed over. She was met half way by a girl who ran to get help. The aide soon arrived and broke up the fight between these two 7-year-olds. Mr. Parker’s son indicated to the aide that he was not hurt and that he did not want to go to the nurse.

The classmate who started the fight was brought into the assistant principal’s office to write a “think sheet”. He had to write down what he did wrong, what he could have done differently and how he could make it up to his friend. He also missed two recesses and wrote an apology to Mr. Parker’s son. Mr. Parker’s son wrote back “that’s OK. You can still be my friend.”

That afternoon the teacher discussed the issue with the entire class using the Open Circle format. At that time both boys had their arms around each other and were friends again. The teacher called both sets of parents and everyone seemed to be satisfied with the outcome.

Mr. Parker’s son subsequently went to the other boy’s house for a play date. The Parkers never contacted anyone at the school including the principal, assistant principal, nurse or teacher to say their son had been injured or that they were dissatisfied with how things had been handled. They also never contacted the school superintendent or the police to say their son had been “assaulted”.

According to Lexington Cares, June 16:

Some of you may be aware that the press has received a news release related to a playground incident at Estabrook. The Estabrook principal has investigated the issue over the past two days, talking to the adults and children involved. The following are the facts as she understands them.

On May 17, several first graders were involved in a disagreement over who would sit where in the cafeteria. As a result, upon going outside one child took another by the hand and brought him to a third student in an area of the playground that is somewhat difficult for the adults to see. (The student who was hit said that he went willingly.) All children who saw agreed that the third student then hit the student who had been brought to him two to four times in the chest/abdomen (children’s accounts vary) and he fell to his knees. The student who was hit says he was hit when down; the other children say he wasn’t. One child reports that one student held the arm of the student who was hit; however, the child who was hit and the other children did not report this. The children involved named five children who were nearby watching but not directly involved. Several other students were close enough to see a cluster of students but not close enough to see what was happening. The student who did the hitting suggested that others also hit, but none of them did so. Based on the children’s accounts, this all may have happened in under a minute. The aide on duty saw a group of children gathering, and as she walked toward them was approached by a child that said someone was being bullied. When the aide inquired what was going on, the child who was hit identified one student who hit him, and the other children agreed. The child who was hit said he was not hurt and did not want to go to the nurse. He reported that his feelings were hurt, because the child who hit him was his friend.

The child who did the hitting was sent to the assistant principal’s office and while talking with her acknowledged his behavior. As a result, he filled out a “think sheet,” to reflect on his behavior and choices, missed recess on two days, and wrote an apology. In addition, the classroom teacher called both sets of parents and a class discussion was held about not hitting and speaking up when there is a problem on the playground. The teacher indicated that both parents took the matter seriously and seemed satisfied with the outcome. Following the incident the boys were observed arm in arm at school and subsequently the child who was hit went to the house of the child who hit him for a play date.

On May 31, the parents of the child hit casually inquired of the assistant principal as to the consequence given to the other child, and they were told that the child’s parents were informed and a consequence given. Other than this brief interaction, between the time of the phone call by the teacher to the parents on May 17 until June 14, there were no complaints of injury or dissatisfaction with the process to the teacher, nurse, or the administrators. On June 14, school administration received a call from a local paper stating that they had received a press release that a child had been assaulted at Estabrook.

In this case, we followed all of our usual procedures and worked with both sets of parents to resolve this issue. We are surprised that it has resurfaced in a press release issued by a group calling itself Mass Resistance without any prior contact with the school. The press release states that the incident was “fueled and incited by adults (and yes, school officials).” We have found nothing in our investigation that would support this allegation in any way. Nonetheless, in the interest of an open and thorough review of the incident, the matter has been referred by the superintendent to the Lexington police, District Attorney’s office, and the Department of Social Services for independent investigation.

AFA cited no information sources other than Parker and reported only Parker’s side of the dispute.

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