Questions are being raised in Cobb County after a bullied teen fights back against his attackers, and is then criminally charged. And more so, the teen's family says his legal right to defend himself was ignored by Cobb County Schools.
At their lawyer's office Thursday, Jorge Santa sat with his 15-year-old son of the same name.
"I'm very proud of him and I tell him every day," said Santa in an interview.
His son was too anxious to return to Harrison High School this week after an incident at the end of last school year.
"You've got a kid where he is supposed to be, in a class he is supposed to be in," says family attorney Mitch Skandalakis.
He says Jorge was targeted by two older teens in a classroom with his lunch taken, and then some.
"They steal his personal property, they start hitting him with racial slurs and spray him in the face, which is an assault and battery. He doesn't know what's going to happen next," says Skandalakis.
So the teen fights back.
"His immediate reaction was to spring up from his seat and strike the individual," says his father.
One of the accused bullies appears to have graduated without punishment. The other was reportedly disciplined.
But Jorge, a small and shy teen, was charged with multiple felonies for assault and battery.
The school says they were simply following policy. But Jorge's father, a police investigator familiar with state law, says the school overlooked Jorge's right to self-defense.
The family's attorney agrees.
"He reacts to defend himself because he thinks something else is coming next, and that is the definition of a reasonable man put in fear for his safety for purposes of standing your own ground," says Skandalakis.
"Georgia law allows it, the state supreme court has confirmed it," he continues.
So the family is asking for the charges be dropped, and is demanding Cobb County Schools address how they handle bullied students.
The Cobb County School District declined our requests for an interview to discuss the bullying policy in detail. They released the following statement: "Three students were involved in a verbal and physical altercation at Harrison High School on the last day of the 2017-2018 school year. This matter was thoroughly investigated by Harrison High School administration and Cobb County School District Officers. The two current Harrison students have received appropriate school discipline in accordance with Cobb County School District policy and one has received criminal charges in relation to his role in the physical altercation."Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.