Parents Want Son's Attacker Expelled

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SWINK, Colo. 11 News investigates why a student wasn't kicked out of the school after brutally beating another student.

Austin Adame showed 11 News photos of the aftermath of the attack that sent him to the emergency room. Arrest papers obtained by 11 News show Austin told police a classmate from Swink High School set him up for the beating because he was upset over a girl.

"He assaulted me at Walmart with a few of our friends. He split my eye brow open, broke my nose and fractured my ankle," said Austin.

The assault happened back in November at a Walmart in La Junta. Since then, Austin's parents have been doing their best to protect him, even taking out a restraining order. They wanted the other boy expelled from the Swink School District.

Austin's mother, Sherri Adame, said "My husband and I actually went to the school the day after and showed them the photos. At that time, they told us nothing could be done, even though we had a restraining order in place."

Sherri wasn't going to forget what the school told her next.

"They said both kids are entitled to an education and that until there was sentencing they would not be able to do anything," said Sherri.

After that, Sherri sent several letters and quoted school policies that stated otherwise.

"There are opportunities for him to be removed. For example, it does say that if they are alleged to commit a crime of violence. It doesn't say they have to be sentenced," said Sherri.

11 News looked into the Swink School District's handbook and Sherri is right. The district's handbook states an expulsion or suspension hearing can be scheduled as soon as a student is charged with a violent crime. Austin's attacker was able to finish out last school year while his crime case moved forward.

In May, the boy was sentenced. Instead of assault, he took a plea deal that admitted to a lesser charge of felony menacing. Austin's family thought once that happened, the boy would be kicked out of school. However, the school district decided the boy could stay.

"I was pretty much told, 'You need to look at forgiving this kid.' You need get over it, kind of thing," said Sherri.

Austin's family is now wondering why the boy wasn't kicked out. They say the boy is a star athlete who choiced into the school, where both of his parents work.

Sherri said, "We really feel, in a lot of ways, who this student is. Dad has been coaching at the school, mom teaches at the school. There are internal friendships with the administration and we just don't think it's being treated fairly."

11 News reporter Gina Esposito stopped by the attacker's house to get his family's side of the story, but nobody was home. She also called the superintendent, but after telling Sherri she couldn't comment, the superintendent just hung up on her. She refused to discuss the attack that left Austin bruised then, and frightened now.

On Monday, Sherri says the Swink School District did make some changes, so the two boys won't be in any classes together. They offered to let Austin take two online courses. As for the other boy, they let him stay in the classroom.