The charges against a 15-year-old Davenport West High School student were amended Friday by the Scott County Attorney's office.
The teenager who attacked another 15-year-old student — since identified as Charlie Macaluso — is now charged with willful injury, a Class C felony, and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of assault with a weapon.
The 15-year-old accused was released to his parents not long after the Monday, Nov. 4 attack, which was staged in the school's cafeteria and recorded by at least one student on a cellphone.
Macaluso was transported to a Davenport hospital by his mother, Theresa Wallenhorst. He was then rushed to University of Iowa Children's Hospitals in Iowa City to be treated for traumatic brain injury.
Wallenhorst told media the attack was motivated by a picture her son took of the other student while working on a school project.
Macaluso was released and back home Wednesday, Nov. 6.
VIEWPOINT: Davenport West attack videos are appalling
Without exception, parents of teenagers should be talking to their kids right now.
Even the moms and dads who are 100% certain of the reliable accuracy of their children's moral compass should speak up.
Too many words are failing.
Two cell-phone videos that were shot during Monday's student-on-student attack at West High School in Davenport are deeply disturbing. As several of us watched them in the newsroom Wednesday, we gasped.
For one thing, the blind-side beating of one teen by another is shockingly violent. It should surprise no one who sees the videos that the victim had to be transported to Iowa City and have emergency surgery for a bleed on the brain. It was that bad.
Competing for the most-awful aspect, though, is the conduct of other students.
Monday's attack occurred in the lunchroom at West High. It is obvious from the beginning of one video that the person shooting it knew the attack was coming. The student's phone was aimed at the victim, waiting for the attacker to pounce.
It's sickening to think about and worse to see. Even when the boy drops from his chair to the ground, the beating continues. So does the video.
A second clip, which appears to be shot from a different angle, shows the boy on the cafeteria floor.
It appears the attacker sees an opening, possibly because his prey has been knocked unconscious. He takes a full-on swing, striking the boy directly in the face. He then throws a chair into the boy's head and face. You could almost feel the last two blows.
Yet, none of the other teenagers appear to make any effort whatsoever to intervene. The cell-phone video just keeps on rolling.
Somebody's kids thought this was OK. Somebody's kid seriously attacked another student, and somebody's kid thought it was a good idea to record it. Somebody's kid pointed a cell phone at the floor of the cafeteria to capture a classmate lying down while another classmate pummeled him.
The so-called 'If You See Something, Say Something' campaign didn't work in this case. Some evidently understood it to be, 'If You See Something, Record It.'
A few kids were the bad guys here. It would be unfair to indict the entire cafeteria of students over the conduct of a few during an attack that lasted less than a minute. But it's a teachable moment. Every parent of every kid who was there should be making clear that those involved were wrong — dead wrong.
And it would be a mistake to turn the narrative toward the school. Many people are eager to criticize school staff for failing to call an ambulance, among other things. That's not fair.
Theresa Macaluso Wallenhorst, the boy's mother, said she was immediately notified of the attack by one of her son's friends, and she took him to the local hospital. The school nurse, or whoever was on West's medical team that day, could not have known the boy, Charlie Macaluso, had a brain bleed.
Wallenhorst said no one at the school offered to call an ambulance, but that decision became hers upon arrival at the school. Besides, she said, she has a medical background.
If the school nurse had the time and/or opportunity to see the videos, showing what appears to be nine blows to the head and possible loss of consciousness, things surely would have been handled differently.
"I'm sure she didn't see it," Wallenhorst said. "As my husband said, about two seconds after the attack, every kid in the Quad-Cities had a copy of the video. We do not think the school nurse saw it."
We simply don't know enough about the narrow window of time and the reactions that occurred inside it to start assigning blame. As appalling as it is, it's likely the only blame belongs to the young people — to the boy with the brutal rage, and the kids who thought it was a good idea to record his sickening attack.
"There's one thing I want to make clear: This is not a racial issue — not," Wallenhorst said Wednesday, referring to some accusations related to the fact her son is white and his attacker is black. "This is a social-media issue, and it has to be dealt with.
"My focus is getting Charlie home. Then I'll start dealing with the aftermath."
Every other parent has the luxury of jumping in while the frightful events are fresh. Many already have, no doubt.
Students shouldn't be hearing about what adults may or may not have done wrong. Most clear in this tale is how wrong the students were. Period.
Davenport schools superintendent: Students likely traumatized by attack at West High School
Davenport Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Kobylski said he wants to hear from parents, students and "many others" in the wake of Monday's attack at West High School.
Kobylski said he would plan a summit to get such information during a press conference Tuesday in the district offices at the corner of Main and Locust streets.
The district's top administrator faced questions about how West High School and the district handled the incident — the attacked student was sent to University of Iowa Children's Hospitals with a traumatic brain injury.
While the school district has declined to discuss specifics, a cellphone video widely shared on social media made it clear a male student attacked a seated male student in the school's cafeteria during a crowded lunch period Monday. The attacker struck the seated student a number of times — most while the attacked student was on the floor. The attacker then threw a chair on top of the student.
The Davenport Police Department said the attacker, 15, was arrested and charged with assault causing serious injury, a class D felony. He was cited and turned over to a parent.
Kobylski said the injured student was transported to a local hospital by the student's mother. The school's nurse made the determination to release him.
Kobylski said the nurse made the decision to not call an ambulance, but stressed the decision was the nurse's, not the mother's.
Kobylski declined to comment when asked if the attack was motivated by a picture of a student and staff member, saying the picture may be "uncomfortable" and the matter had been referred to the district's human resources office.
The superintendent also explained the length of time it took for the school's resource officer to intervene.
"The attack lasted 10 to 12 seconds and resource officer reacted in 29 seconds," Kobylski said. "The cafeteria had 400 students in it and there were four adults in the cafeteria to supervise —including the school resource officer," he said. "There were a lot of kids standing up to see what had happened. The adults there to supervise reacted as quickly as they could."
Kobylski acknowledged the attack most likely traumatized other students and said counselors will be available.
"We will go into classrooms and speak with students — we aren't going to wait for the summit," Kobylski said.
The summit will be aimed at expanding the conversations with students and faculty and staff to include parents and law enforcement.
"It wouldn't surprise me if we end up having more than one summit," he added.
Kobylski said he is confident the "vast majority" of the just over 14,000 students who attend Davenport schools "follow the rules."
"I would send my children to Davenport schools," he said. "I would send my grandchildren to Davenport schools."
Two students removed from school after assault at Davenport West
Two Davenport West students have been removed from school after one assaulted the other.
Davenport police are investigating the matter.
Mike Vondran, communications representative for Davenport Community Schools, confirmed Monday afternoon that one student assaulted another at lunch time.
"Both were released to their parents and removed form the school property," he said.
Two seconds-long videos, purportedly from the incident, are being shared on social media, showing two boys involved in an assault.
In one video, a student walks up to another, seated at a cafeteria table with other students, and begins to punch him.
In the second video, the first student continues to hit the other student, who is on the floor, then throws a chair at him.
Vondran had no information about the condition of either student.